You’ve just gotten into a major car accident. You and the driver of the other vehicle both have injuries, and you know you’re at fault for texting and driving behind the wheel. Your car has significant damages and you totaled the other vehicle. Suddenly an insurance adjuster calls you to discuss the accident. Learn what to say – and what not to say – to an insurance agent after a crash to protect your rights.
“It Was My Fault”
Never admit fault immediately after an accident to anyone at the scene of the crash or to your insurance agent. You may know for sure you were at least partially responsible for the accident, but you may not know the full picture. While you were texting and driving, the other driver may have been checking his or her emails. Perhaps the other driver blew through a stop sign and crashed into you. Wet roads may have prevented the other driver from stopping in time.
Florida follows pure comparative fault rules in a car accident case. This means both parties may be eligible to receive partial compensation for an accident if they were both responsible. The courts will reduce your recovery by your percentage of responsibility. There are a number of factors that might contribute to a car accident. No matter who you believe was at fault, don’t say anything until you’ve talked to an attorney.
“Here’s What Happened…”
Depending on how long you’ve had to recover and mull the accident over, you may not be mentally prepared to discuss the details of a crash with an insurance adjuster. The accident may have shaken you up and confused your account of what happened. Until you have someone who can protect your legal interests, be strategic about what you say. The details you reveal about your accident and injuries could hurt your chances of obtaining compensation, even if the other driver was partially at fault. You may want to refrain from speaking to an insurance agent entirely and give this responsibility over to a Miami personal injury attorney.
“I Didn’t Get Hurt in the Accident”
Many car accidents result in injuries a victim doesn’t feel until later. Back, neck, and head injuries can all show symptoms days or even weeks after a crash. You may not realize you sustained a concussion in a fender-bender until a week after the accident when you start to notice cognitive difficulties and headaches. Refrain from saying you didn’t suffer an injury in the accident until you’ve visited a doctor and know for sure.
“Sure, You Can Record My Statement”
Many insurance adjusters push people into agreeing to give a recorded statement over the phone. They may also casually ask if it’s okay to record your phone conversation. Politely refuse these requests. You are under no obligation to agree to recording, and the adjuster cannot record your conversation without permission. Giving a recorded statement could trap you into something you say, even if it’s inaccurate. Wait to give a written statement at a later date, when you’ve had time to be precise and thorough.
“I Accept Your Settlement Offer”
It’s unwise to accept a hasty settlement an insurance agent offers you after a crash. The settlement is generally less than you could receive with a personal injury lawsuit. Speak to an attorney before agreeing to settle with an agent.
An insurance adjuster has entirely different goals than you do after a crash. It’s the adjuster’s job to get an accident victim to agree to as small a settlement amount as soon possible and avoid a lawsuit. Remember, the agent works for the insurance company – not for you.