The way victims deal with insurance claims and the companies handling them after a wreck may be crucial. It could affect the amount of compensation they can receive for damages, injuries and other harm suffered in the wreck, and it could even lead to them footing a portion – or all – of the bill.
Victims should remember that insurance companies and their agents have just one goal in mind: to keep costs down. They want to close a claim as quickly as possible and with the least amount of dollars spent. Remembering these tips and consulting a Morrisville, PA auto accident lawyer before making any big moves may help through the claims process.
The following are 10 tips for dealing with insurance claims:
- Don’t give a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters almost always request recorded statements from accident victims. Unfortunately, if victims provide these without first speaking to an attorney, they may say things that could implicate themselves in the wreck or be used out of context. Victims are under no obligation to provide a recorded statement just because it’s requested. If they choose to do so, it’s best to first consult a lawyer.
- Don’t apologize. Saying “I’m sorry,” I shouldn’t have,” or “I didn’t mean to,” are all indirect ways of admitting some sort of guilt or fault in the wreck. Victims should avoid using this verbiage when speaking to insurance companies and adjusters.
- Stick to the facts, and avoid “I think.” Victims should always steer clear of speculating when discussing an accident. Unless they know at exactly what speed they were traveling, what temperature it was outside or any other detail asked of them, when dealing with insurance claims individuals should simply say “I don’t know.” Providing inaccurate information could make a victim look dishonest and may adversely affect the compensation they can seek.
- Don’t exaggerate. Adjusters regularly ask victims the same questions multiple times. Unfortunately, when victims exaggerate details of the wreck the first time a question is asked, it can make it more difficult to provide consistent, credible answers the subsequent times. This may make them appear dishonest, unreliable and, worse, guilty.
- Don’t admit fault. It should go without saying, but victims who don’t want to foot part of the accident bill should never say, “It was my fault,” or “I did it,” when dealing with insurance companies. Even if they were partially to blame, they should allow the insurance companies work out blame on their own.
- Get a Morrisville, PA auto accidents lawyer. A lawyer can be a great ally to have when dealing with insurance claims. He or she can help handle communication with both insurance companies, and can help advise victims on their recorded statements.
- Don’t agree to a settlement – or sign anything. Insurance companies want to save money; for that reason, victims can nearly always expect to be offered less than they deserve. Claimants should consult an attorney before agreeing to a settlement.
- Never say you’re not hurt or you’re okay. Even if immediate symptoms aren’t present after a wreck, it doesn’t mean the victim is scot-free. There’s still the chance that medical problems and conditions may crop up days, weeks or months later. Because of this, it’s important victims avoid telling adjusters they’re okay or not hurt.
- Don’t point the finger. The insurance companies, along with the help of the victim’s lawyer, will reach a settlement using the police report, recorded statements, witness testimony and more. There’s no reason victims should need to point the finger or attempt to pin the blame on the other driver.
- Avoid giving unnecessary personal information. Victims should steer clear of sharing details of their personal life, medical condition and more when speaking to insurance adjusters. Additionally, they should avoid sharing names of doctors, friends, family and other loved ones. The more information a victim provides, the more potential evidence there is against them.
Morrisville, PA auto accident lawyers can review the claims process and assist accident victims who are pursuing and dealing with insurance adjusters.