After an accident, give your insurance company the basic facts about your accident, but don’t offer an elaborate explanation. Never say the accident was your fault. Don’t say you weren’t injured, and never give a recorded statement (written or verbal) without talking to a lawyer first.
What should I avoid saying when I report the accident?
You have a responsibility to cooperate with your insurance company, but that doesn’t mean you should spill out everything that’s on your mind. And this is even more true if you are talking to an adjuster for another driver’s insurance company.
Insurance companies don’t like to pay out claims, and the other driver’s insurance company in particular will pounce on anything you might say that may give them a reason to deny your claim or minimize your injuries. Therefore:
- Stick to the basic facts, such as when and where the accident happened.
- Do not offer your theories about who is at fault or how the accident happened. Let the insurance companies draw their own conclusions about who is at fault.
- Do not say the accident was your fault. Don’t even apologize.
- Never say that you were not injured. Some car accident injuries don’t show up until days or weeks after the accident, and you don’t want to hurt your chances of recovering money if injuries do appear. Just say you aren’t sure.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know. You can get yourself into far more trouble by guessing.
- Don’t tell the insurance company you don’t have a lawyer. Saying that you don’t have a lawyer sends a signal that the insurance company might be able to take advantage of you.
What if the insurance company asks for a recorded statement?
The adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company may ask you to give a recorded statement. The recorded statement is designed to help the insurance company, not you. The insurance company has invested a lot of time in developing questions that are meant to trip you up or get you to say things that will make it harder for you to get money in a claim. Once you have committed to something on a recording, it is very hard to undo those statements.
Georgia law does not require you to give a recorded statement, so if the insurance company asks, you should politely but firmly say “no.” You can give the insurance company all the information it needs later, in writing, when you are in control and cannot be tricked into saying things that hurt your case. A lawyer can advise you on giving statements and information to the insurance company.
What should I say if the insurance company offers me money?
Tell them you will think about it, and then talk it over with a car accident law firm in Atlanta Georgia. Never accept money on the spot. There are two reasons for this. First, the insurance company’s main goal is to get rid of your claim as quickly and cheaply as it can. That means that the money it offers you at first is probably much less than your claim is really worth. If you don’t accept the money right away, you give yourself or your lawyer a chance to negotiate for more.
Second, if you take the insurance company offer, you will have to sign away your right to recover more money in the future. Many times, car accident injuries are more complicated than they seem at first, and the healing process can take longer than expected. If you take money right away and it is not enough to cover your costs, you will be out of luck.
A lawyer can help you get the money you need and deserve. A lawyer can get you a full medical evaluation and bring in investigators and experts who can show who is at fault and what your treatment will cost. A lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies. Often, just having a lawyer on your team leads to a much better offer.
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