When you are involved in an accident, the insurance companies involved will dispatch their adjustors to investigate the accident further, determine fault, and award damages. As one of the parties involved in the accident, you will likely have to speak with an adjustor from both companies, which includes giving a statement on your first contact with them. This first contact is one of the most crucial steps to your case, so it’s important that you are prepared in order to avoid possibly compromising the outcome you deserve. Here are five tips for this first contact.
Remain Calm & Be Polite
Insurance adjustors are used to dealing with angry claimants, but taking out your frustrations or getting angry with them really won’t help you. Remember, the adjustor didn’t get in the accident, the other party did, so it helps to be polite. Furthermore, those who are polite frequently report a much better experience in dealing with their claim. It’s okay to want to protect your interests, but don’t lash out at anyone who may only be trying to help you resolve the problem.
Give Limited Personal Information
When speaking with the other person’s adjustor, they may ask that you give information about yourself to help with the claim. Some of this is necessary, but you should know when to draw the line, as too much information could hurt you. It’s okay to give them your full name, your address, and your telephone number. Do not give them any information regarding your work, your schedule, or your income, as this could potentially be used against you to lower the amount the amount they have to pay.
Note that this only applies to the other party’s insurance company. Your own insurance may ask you similar questions, and may have rules that require you to divulge this information when making a claim.
Do Not Give Witness Details
If an adjustor asks whether or not you know of any witnesses, and you know of some, you may respond “there may be witnesses” and that you will let them know about these witnesses “at the appropriate time.” You also may ask the adjustor if they know of any witnesses and can provide you with their information. It is strongly advised that you inform your attorney of any witnesses in your case.
Do Not Give Accident Details
This may seem kind of odd since the insurance company will be asking you for a statement, but you should refrain from telling them anything beyond just simple, basic details of the accident. Limit what you tell them to where and when and what type of accident occurred. Beyond that, refrain from giving any further details. If they ask for more details, inform them that you will discuss the facts further at the appropriate time. The reason for this is that you and your attorney will be submitting a written demand for compensation that will list specific facts about your injury in great detail.
Read Everything You Are Asked to Sign
This goes without saying, but the importance of thoroughly reading everything you are being asked to sign cannot be understated in an injury claim. Make sure that any recorded details match the facts of the accident and do not in any way imply an increase in your liability or a decrease in the other party’s. Make sure that you are not signing away any crucial rights or waiving any legal obligations the other person’s insurance may otherwise have. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try to hide small admissions which could harm your case in a document which otherwise would help your case advance. If you’re ever not sure, request time to fully read the document before signing it.
If you need assistance with your injuries after an accident, call Bryan D. Caulfield as soon as possible. As a Board Certified Clearwater personal injury attorney, Mr. Caulfield has obtained recognition for his continued and unwavering dedication to client service, ethical practices, and elite legal ability both in and out of the courtroom. He has obtained numerous other industry accolades as a testament to his excellence, including a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo and selection to Super Lawyers®.If you have been injured in an accident, call Bryan D. Caulfield today by dialing 727.308.6060 .