Many people ask the question: “How do I deal with the other guy’s insurance company – without hurting my claim?”
As a car accident victim, you need to recognize at the outset that you are now in a battle with the other guy’s insurance company. No matter how pleasant the insurance representative may be– they are not your friend, but a foe. They are being paid well to find a way to deny, or reduce the value of your claim. Worse yet, they may delay doing anything at all until you are so frustrated, and broke, you will take whatever low ball offer they make – so watch out!
You should also recognize that the insurance representative has the upper hand to begin with. They have been trained in these matters, have experience, and vast resources that you don’t. Like legal advisors to turn to for help. And they are under no obligation to help you, or inform you of your legal rights.
So, if you’ve been seriously hurt, you may not want to talk with the insurance carrier at all, or sign any forms, until you have consulted with a knowledgeable attorney.
If you choose to communicate with the agent – be careful!
The first thing they’ll probably want is a recorded telephone interview about the accident, and your medical care. If you agree to this, carefully prepare with notes, and a time line beginning several hours before the accident. If you answer a question with “I don’t know”, and later remember the answer, you could be accused of “changing your story”. It is better to qualify answers to questions you know, but can’t remember at the time, with an answer like, “I can’t recall that at this time”.
Given some preparation and help, you can tell the complete truth, and avoid hurting your claim. Steffens Law Office has a series of pointers we give clients, and we like to be part of the interview, and record it ourselves.
If you’re asked to sign any papers, you should strongly consider getting legal advice first.
In summary, the other driver wrecked your car, don’t let the other driver’s insurance company wreck your claim too.