Who Should You Talk to After a Car Accident?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Richard Richardson with Siegal & Richardson.
After a car accident, it’s important to exercise caution about who you talk to and what you say. Unfortunately, things said in the heat of the moment can cause problems for you later both with insurance providers and if you choose to file a civil personal injury claim. This is why the list of people you should talk to without counsel after a car accident is relatively short. After calling the police to ensure that emergency help is on the way, the only other people you should speak to on your own are a loved one and a car accident attorney.
The first thing you should do after a car accident: call a loved one.
Assuming someone called the police and they are already on the way, it’s important to call a loved one and let them know what happened. This person can help you record what happened at the scene of the accident and even take pictures of the damaged vehicles and contributing factors. All of this can be extremely helpful regardless of the severity of the injuries; however, if a car accident victim is severely injured, involving a loved one to collect evidence on your behalf is even more imperative. A loved one may also be able to assist in your medical care as well as informing other people of the accident, including co-workers and other friends and family. If a loved one cannot be reached, a car accident attorney can take the same steps at no cost to you.
Avoid talking about the accident to anyone you don’t have to.
While you may need to talk to the police at the scene of the accident, it’s important to refrain from giving any official statements or admitting fault. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for one driver to think they are at fault only to find that the other driver was texting in their vehicle at the time of the accident.
However, whatever you say can be used against you in court to reduce or deny your claim. This same policy applies to insurance providers and even to posting about the incident on social media. The best way to protect your claim after an accident is to say as little as possible, even if you are certain you were not at fault.
Talking to insurance adjusters can be a danger zone.
Talking to your own or another insurance provider sounds like a safe thing to do, but unfortunately this is where a lot of people run into trouble. It’s not uncommon for insurance adjusters to attempt to reduce or deny an otherwise valid claim by intentionally misinterpreting something you said or engaging in other insurance bad faith strategies. Due to the complicated nature of policy language, it can be extremely difficult for the average person to know what not to say to avoid hurting their claim. This is why car accident attorneys typically advise you to simply take down the adjuster’s name and contact information and let them know your attorney will be in touch.
Accident attorneys know exactly what to expect from insurance providers, and they can handle the claims process on your behalf to ensure you receive the full compensation you are eligible for. Even if you have not yet hired an attorney, you are free to inform a provider that your attorney will be in touch. This is the best way to protect yourself against unscrupulous insurance providers as well as to protect your case should you choose to file an accident claim in the future. If hiring an attorney seems out of the question, it may help to note that most car accident attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if and when they win your case.
To learn more about who you should talk to after a car accident, or for help filing a claim, reach out to a car accident attorney in your area.