When car accidents happen, the chaos of injuries, property damage, and assigning and deflecting blame can be overwhelming. It can be comforting for a car accident victim to know that there is someone on their side, helping to meet their needs and support their side of things. Many people in this situation turn to their auto insurance provider, assuming their interests will protected by their own representative against the intentions of the insurance agent representing the other driver.
Unfortunately, the reality is that insurance companies are not always purely on the side of their own clients. Although it may be of interest to them to assign the blame for the accident on the other party, it is not always because they are looking out for their customer.
Auto insurance companies, like all insurance companies, are in a for-profit business. Their incentives have to do with saving their company money. Although it may be true that they also must provide a sense of security and promote a feeling of shared concern to gain and retain customers, the truth is they are just as beholden to a business model that seeks to limit costly payouts on insurance claims.
This conflict can leave a vulnerable accident victim feeling like they can trust no one and that they are left to fend for themselves.
Thankfully, that is not the case. An injured and unsettled accident victim can talk to a car accident lawyer who not only is knowledgeable about their rights, but also is bound by a professional code that says they must act in the best interest of their client.
Still, given that there are reasons to suspect the motives of an insurance representative, there are a number of things any car accident lawyer would advise their clients to refrain from doing. First and foremost on that list is avoiding giving any damaging information to the insurance companies.
For the very reasons stated above, accident lawyers know that insurance reps want to obtain all the information they can about the accident, with the intent to discover something that might discredit the claim and save their company a big payout.
What Accident Victims Should Not Discuss with an Insurance Agent
First, it may be a policy requirement for an accident victim to report the accident in a timely fashion to receive any benefits on a claim. For that reason, notifying the insurance company about the accident may be unavoidable. However, there are a few ways to do this without saying too much.
One possibility is for the accident victim to have a lawyer do the talking for them. Contacting a lawyer right away can be a good way to avoid having to make the decision about what is safe to say and what may become problematic.
Another option is to stick to the basic details and leave all the rest until later. It may be useful to suggest that any further questions be directed at the lawyer, but saying more details will be forthcoming is another way to do it.
The details that must be shared immediately have to do with the date, time, and location of the accident, and who was involved. The driver may be asked about the vehicles, but avoid getting into specifics about bodily injuries, as these should be assessed by a medical professional before they are documented in the official insurance record.
There are three main points to avoid in discussions with insurance representatives. These are as follows:
Do not admit fault. Drivers should never express concerns that they think they might be responsible in some way for the accident. Even suggesting that they may be at fault can be used against them in a claim for benefits, even if it is determined later that the other driver was to blame.
Do not volunteer too much information. When a nervous or confused driver opines about what they think caused the accident or what they seem to recall about the collision, this simply provides too much information that can be used to insinuate that there is a contradiction in the official statements provided, which can hurt the chances that a claim will be covered. Sticking to a prepared written statement is better to sum up the entire story without adding unnecessary or excessive details.
Do not dismiss the seriousness of injuries sustained. It can be easy for accident victims to minimize the severity of the injuries with an off-handed statement that they are fine. However, minimizing the effects of the accident may undermine their ability to seek coverage when the true nature of an injury comes to light. Some injuries take time to develop. Leave it to the doctors to make the assessment that the victim is OK.
Speaking only about the basic details and leaving the rest to lawyer is the best way for an accident victim to ensure that their words are not twisted and used against them. There are many other advantages to having a lawyer involved. For example:
- Lawyers have experience with what makes for an appropriate settlement and will help clients avoid accepting an offer that will not cover their needs.
- Lawyers have methods to uncover evidence to prove the claim.
- Lawyers can help clients understand their rights and navigate the legal process.
- Lawyers can take on the chore of dealing with legal issues while clients focus on healing from the accident.
- Lawyers are true advocates with no ulterior motives to work against their client.
Middletown Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Injured Clients Navigate Insurance Claim Pitfalls
If you were in a car accident that left you injured, you should be able to recover a monetary claim disbursement to address the expenses you incurred in the accident. Your insurance may provide coverage up to your policy limit, but that may not fully address substantial medical costs and other damages. In some cases, your insurance provider may deny your claim altogether. The Middletown car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can uncover evidence to support your claim and prove that you are eligible for fair coverage. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.