What Should I Not Tell My Insurance Company After an Accident?

What Should I Not Tell My Insurance Company After an Accident?
Car accident on wet road during rain, head on collision side view.

A car accident happens in a split second, but the consequences can linger and affect your life in many ways for months or even years. Among your post-collision challenges, you’ll likely experience financial struggles due to your injuries, property damage, and lost earnings from time off from work.

Fortunately, you may have a path toward compensation if someone else was responsible for causing your accident and injuries. You must take proactive steps to seek this compensation, as no parties will voluntarily provide you with legal relief or reimbursement for your losses.

In many cases, filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company is the first step to seeking your much-needed financial recovery. However, insurers often pose obstacles throughout the claim process. They do not make it easy to obtain the compensation you deserve.

For this reason, consider how you communicate with the insurance company and what you should and should not tell them following an auto accident.

Better yet, hire a car accident lawyer to handle the insurance company for you.

Reporting Your Accident to Your Insurance Company

After a car accident, report your collision to the police and seek medical care. Additionally, you must notify your insurance company of your crash.

Car insurance companies require their drivers to report car accidents. Depending on how your insurer operates and the terms of your policy, you may have a certain number of days following your collision to report it. Alternatively, your insurance company may expect notification within a reasonable time.

Failing to report your accident to your insurance company on time can have consequences. It can affect the value of your claim, or your insurer may deny your claim outright.

Many accident victims fail to notify their insurer, believing that the insurance company doesn’t need to know if they’re not at fault for the collision. Regardless of the fault or the circumstances, contact your insurance company immediately to file a claim and avoid potential issues.

Fault v. No-Fault: Understanding Car Accident Claims

One of the most critical parts of a car accident insurance claim is understanding how your state handles fault. It determines what type of insurance claim you can file.

If your accident occurred in a fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurance would cover your damages. You can pursue compensation by filing a third-party insurance claim.

When your collision occurs in a no-fault state, you wouldn’t need to determine fault immediately to recover monetarily. Drivers in no-fault states must obtain personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. After an accident, you can file a first-party claim. These states also allow drivers to sue the at-fault driver should they need additional compensation, for example, for pain and suffering, should they meet certain requirements.

Your state’s laws determine how to proceed with a car accident claim. You may need to deal with one or both insurance companies, depending on the circumstances.

Why Communications With Insurance Companies Matter

How you communicate with your insurance company and what you say can significantly affect your claim.

Insurance companies are in business to make (and keep) money. This is why you pay your monthly policy premiums, which are often steep. They want to lose as little money as possible when an accident occurs. Therefore, they’ll try to pay as little as possible for a collision claim. It is true whether you’re dealing with your insurance company or the other party’s.

This means that you can almost always expect the insurance company to do anything to limit their liability or deny your claim. If the insurance company can sabotage your claim or shift the blame to you, they’ll do it. You must watch what you say and how you say it to avoid giving the insurance company any ammo against you.

What to Avoid Discussing With the Insurance Company

Following your collision, you want to limit your communications with the insurance company. When you speak with any insurance representative, steer clear of specific details or topics to avoid any potential obstacles with your claim.

Fault for the Collision

First and foremost, you should not discuss fault for your accident, especially if you’re talking about yourself.

Sometimes, you may accidentally tell the insurance company something that leads them to believe you’re admitting fault. In some cases, claimants tell insurance companies that they caused the crash. Whether or not you played any part in your collision, do not mention fault to the insurance company.

It’s in the insurer’s best interest for you to discuss fault. When speaking on the topic, they hope you’ll say something they can use to their advantage. Having talks concerning fault can seriously damage your case. The insurance company can pay you much less than your case is worth, or they may deny your claim altogether.

The Severity of Your Injuries

Professional male lawyer financial advisor consulting happy family couple clients in modern office.

Never discuss your physical state with the insurance company. It’s too common for accident victims to tell the company their injuries aren’t “that bad,” which is music to their ears.

You might say you’re okay or you’re “only” a little sore or bruised up. While it may not seem like a big deal, this gives the insurance company the green light to downplay your injuries later and claim you didn’t suffer any substantial physical harm in your collision.

Regardless of how you feel, don't say anything to the insurance company. You may not know your injuries’ seriousness without a proper medical examination. Once you tell the insurance company you’re fine or not that injured, there’s no taking it back, even if, later on, you discover your injuries are more severe than you believed.

You need a complete understanding of your injuries before sharing any information.

At the appropriate time, your car accident attorney can share only the most pertinent medical information with the insurer to prove the severity of your injuries. Discussing your injuries too early can put your claim at risk.

Opinions on the Matter

It’s normal to want to give your opinion when talking to the insurance company. You may want to provide them with your side of the story and opinions on how you believe the collision occurred and who caused it.

No matter your intentions or how well-founded your opinions are, they are still subjective. Any opinion you give can harm your case.

Names of Involved Parties or Witnesses

You shouldn’t give the insurance company names or information of involved parties or witnesses to the accident. With due diligence, the insurer can find this information.

Your Medical History

Your injuries play a significant role in your compensation claim. The insurance company wants any information they can use to contradict the severity of your injuries. Therefore, never give them access to your medical history.

If the insurer knows about your medical history, they may try to claim your injuries were brought on or made worse by pre-existing conditions. It harms the value of your claim, which can mean less financial recovery.

Unnecessary Details

Simply put, don’t tell the insurance company anything you don’t have to. When asked questions, offer brief responses. The insurance company wants you to babble on about your collision, waiting for you to say something they can utilize.

The insurance company does not need to know every detail regarding your accident. Only provide the crucial information, such as the time and location, and nothing else.

Also, don’t anticipatorily answer questions that they don’t ask. For instance, if the insurance representative asks you what direction you were traveling at the time of the collision, don’t also tell them what speed you were driving. As a rule, if they don’t ask, don’t tell.

If you don’t have legal representation at the time of your communication with the insurance company, don’t volunteer that information. It is better for the insurer if you are self-represented. Therefore, if the insurer knows you don’t have a lawyer, they’ll target you, and you may fall into their many traps.

Other Common Mistakes to Avoid Following an Auto Collision

Aside from communication with the insurance company, accident victims often make other mistakes that damage their claims and ability to recover just compensation.

Neglecting Your Physical Health

Physical health and well-being should always come first, especially after an accident. For this reason, you should never shy away from getting medical attention as soon as possible following your collision.

When you don’t get proper medical care or follow through on your treatment, the insurance company can use this to devalue your claim, stating you didn’t suffer any significant harm.

Medical records provide essential evidence for your case, so you want to ensure they accurately reflect your injuries and your commitment to recovery.

Agreeing to Provide a Recorded Statement

After your accident, the insurance company may contact you requesting a recorded statement. While this may seem innocent, and you may want to provide your side, recorded statements are just one more tool insurers use to their advantage.

During recorded statements, accident victims are likely to talk too much and give something away that the insurance company can use to their advantage. Politely decline and never agree to give any sort of formal statement. Instead, direct the insurance company to speak with your attorney.

Posting About Your Accident on Social Media

Nowadays, sharing everything online is commonplace, so you may want to share details about your accident on social media. However, during their investigations, insurance companies usually look into claimants’ social media pages for any photos, videos, or information they can use.

After your accident and during the claims process, lay low on social media.

Accepting the First Settlement Offer

Insurance companies often make quick initial settlement offers. While this may seem appealing, never accept the first offer unless your lawyer says you should.

It takes time to understand the extent of your injuries and damages. When the insurance company tries to settle too quickly, you’re more likely to settle for much less than your case is worth.

Understanding that it’s over once you settle your claim is crucial. You cannot revisit your claim and pursue additional compensation. Therefore, thoroughly consider the offer with your lawyer before making any decisions. Settlement negotiations can aid in acquiring a more beneficial outcome.

Managing Your Insurance Claim on Your Own

Lawyer is signing a contract,

After your car accident, you have a choice concerning whether or not to hire a legal representative. Still, it is truly in your best interest to get help from a car accident attorney. Handling your insurance claim on your own can lead to negative results.

A car accident lawyer has the experience, knowledge, and resources to handle your collision claim efficiently. They can handle all case-related tasks, including determining fault and calculating damages.

Additionally, an accident attorney can communicate with the insurance company and represent your best interests throughout the claim process.

A Car Accident Attorney Can Guide You and Protect Your Rights 

Handling an insurance claim can be particularly challenging, especially when communicating with the insurance company. When you have a seasoned car accident lawyer on your side, you can feel confident knowing you have guidance and support from the best possible ally.

If you suffered an injury in an auto collision, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance immediately. A personal injury attorney can take on your case and provide much-needed care and direction during a stressful time.

William B. Kilduff


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