OTHER PARTIES INSURANCE CALLED YOU? YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
In the days following a car accident, most people are unaware of what is actually required of them in order to ensure that their car and their health are properly taken care of. Unfortunately, the financial implications of a car accident can be heavy and burdensome. For that reason, we find that many of our clients think that the most important thing to do is to give statements to whoever asks for them.
It is one thing to give statements to law enforcement tasked with investigating the accident. That, of course, is understandable. However, we ALWAYS advise that you and your loved ones refrain from giving statements to any other party, prior to consulting with a lawyer.
Now, we would never suggest that you neglect your obligation to report the incident to the Department of Motor Vehicle or YOUR insurance company. In actuality, we recommend that you report the accident to your insurance and the DMV immediately. However, there is a big difference between reporting the accident and giving a full-blown statement. This is especially true when those statements are being recorded.
REPORTING TO YOUR INSURANCE
As noted above, we recommend that any time you are involved in a car accident, you report the accident to your insurance company. Typically speaking, you can simply call your insurance provider, let them know you were in a car accident and provide them with dates, times, locations, etc. In fact, most insurance agreements stipulate that you MUST report the accident to your insurance company, or you run the risk of being unable to make a claim for bodily injury and/or property damage. Therefore, PLEASE REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. However, that is all we recommend you give. While they may ask for a recorded statement, we recommend that you consult with a reputable and competent attorney prior to giving that recorded statement.
SPEAKING WITH THE OTHER PARTIES’ INSURANCE COMPANY
You are under NO obligation to speak with the insurance company representing the other party. This is important to understand and put into your memory bank because the other parties’ insurance company may call you and ask for a statement in the hours, days or weeks following a car accident. Again, we do not recommend you speak with the other parties’ insurance company (AT ALL), until you have discussed the accident with an attorney and gotten proper legal advice and counsel.
The most important thing to remember is that if you have legal representatives, they should be tasked with speaking with the other insurance company. This is their job and their area of expertise. They should know the ins and outs of this system and they are obligated to work in your best interests. These ideas are especially true when any of the parties are making a claim for physical injuries and/or property damage.
Although the case may seem straightforward, the facts and issues at hand are often complicated and unknown until further down the line. It doesn’t matter that the other insurance company has accepted liability. That is not enough! Insurance companies and their agents are running a business and the most important part of running their business is protecting their bottom line by mitigating damages. We have seen it over and over again (Yes, even with accepted claims). Insurance companies and their representatives want to dilute your claim, they want to poke holes in your story, they want to point the finger at everyone and everything other than themselves and their clients, they want to downplay your injuries and call into question the harm done to you and your car. Do not give them the upper hand by giving them an opportunity to question you without an attorney.
If you have been involved in a car accident and need assistance, please call us any time for a free consultation. We are here to help!