When dealing with your insurance company after a car accident, you need to be very careful about what you say. Everything you say will be recorded; and, if you say something that your insurance company can use to deny your claim or limit how much it has to pay, it will certainly do so.
The experienced Kingston car accident attorneys have extensive experience dealing with insurance adjusters on behalf of our clients. If you’ve been hurt in a wreck, O’Connor & Partners, PLLC can explain your rights, explain your legal options, and help you pursue the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled under the law.
5 Things Not to Tell Your Insurance Adjuster
So, what should you not tell your insurance adjuster after a car accident? As a general rule, the following are all things that you should not say when filing an auto insurance claim:
1. You Feel Fine
Injuries from car accidents can take hours, days, or even weeks to manifest symptoms. Even if you feel fine right now, this does not necessarily mean that you won’t need medical treatment at some point in the future. While insurance adjusters know this, if you say that you feel fine, your adjuster will take this as a statement that you did not suffer any injuries in your collision.
2. You Made a Mistake
You should not tell your insurance adjuster that you made a mistake that led to your car accident. Even if you think you may be at fault (or partially at fault) for your accident, (i) this is not something that you have to share, and (ii) the fact that you might have done wrong does not necessarily mean that you are to blame for the crash. For example, let’s say that you were driving slightly above the speed limit. Even if this is the case, it is still entirely possible that going slower would not have prevented the collision.
3. What You Were Doing
Beyond being sure not to admit fault, you should also avoid discussing what you were doing at the time of the crash. For example, if you say something like, “I wasn’t doing anything wrong—I was just talking to my kid in the backseat when I got hit out of nowhere,” your adjuster might try to use this to claim that you were distracted behind the wheel. In order to avoid any unnecessary issues, it is simply best to avoid discussing what you were doing altogether.
4. The Damage Isn’t That Bad
Just as you should not say that you feel fine, you should also not say that the damage to your car isn’t that bad. While it might not look bad from the outside, there could potentially be internal damage that requires thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.
5. You’re Sorry
Finally, you should not say you’re sorry. Again, at this point you don’t know whether anything you did caused the collision, and you are not “taking up” the adjuster’s time. It is the adjuster’s job to manage your claim, and you are well within your rights to do what is necessary in order to secure the coverage to which you are legally entitled.
By limiting what information you share with your insurance adjuster, are you doing something wrong? Absolutely not. In fact, the unfortunate reality is that insurance companies often try to take advantage of their policyholders by asking questions that lead them into saying the wrong things. Additionally, until you hire an attorney to conduct an investigation and conduct a legal analysis, the simple truth is that you don’t know what caused the accident or who is responsible. Yet, your insurance company will ask you who was at fault; and, if your answer is, “Me,” your insurance company will use this against you.
How Can You Protect Yourself When You Have an Auto Insurance Claim?
With all of this in mind, how can you protect yourself when dealing with your insurance company? When you file your insurance claim, stick to the basics—where the accident happened, when it happened, and who was involved. That is all you should need to provide in order to start the claims process.
From there, your attorney can deal with your insurance company for you. Your attorney can use his or her experience to decide how best to approach your claim, and your attorney can work to obtain a favorable settlement on your behalf. If your insurance company needs additional information, your attorney can provide it (if appropriate), and you won’t have to worry about accidentally saying something that could jeopardize your financial recovery.
Speak with a Kingston Car Accident Attorney for Free
If you have questions about what to do (or what not to do) after a car accident in New York, we encourage you to contact us promptly. For a free consultation with an experienced Kingston auto accident attorney at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, call 845-303-8777 or tell us about your accident online now.