Dealing with the insurance company a car accident can be time-consuming, frustrating, and stressful, to say the least. Even if you don’t sustain any injuries as a result of the crash, it can still be a major headache to collect all the damages you are owed.
You’ll want to be very mindful of everything you say to the insurance company. Remember, insurance representatives are trained professionals and at times, can be master manipulators.
Read on to learn five tips for dealing with the insurance company following a car accident.
5 Things to Know
#1 - Don’t provide a statement to the insurance company without consulting an attorney first.
You’ll want to be sure that you speak with an experienced car accident attorney before providing your statement to the insurance company.
It is common for insurance agents to use your recorded statement as an opportunity to gather information from you that they are not legally entitled to. They may use this information to take advantage of you, knowing that you are not familiar with the claims process, which automatically puts you at a disadvantage. The insurance adjuster you speak with may seem friendly and helpful, but keep in mind that they do not have your best interests at heart.
It’s a good idea to have a skilled car accident lawyer by your side when you provide your statement to the insurance company. They may ask leading questions to get you to spill information that can harm your claim. This scheme is common in the insurance industry so that they can coax information out of you that is to their benefit.
Having an attorney with you will not only put your mind at ease, but your lawyer will also assist you throughout the process and describe the best way to provide your statement so that you don’t make expensive errors with your claim.
Don’t forget: it’s always wise to have your attorney with you when providing your accident statement.
#2 - You have 3 options for providing your statement.
Many people believe that you are required to provide your accident statement to the insurance company over the phone. While this is one option, it’s not your only choice.
If you don’t feel comfortable providing your accident statement over the phone, you have the following two options:
- Provide your statement in writing.
- Have your attorney provide your statement for you.
It may be easier and more convenient for you to provide your statement in writing if you are uncomfortable doing it over the phone.
If you are not comfortable providing a statement at all, having your attorney do it for you may be a wise choice.
#3 - You don’t have to take the insurance company’s first offer.
In fact, it’s often unwise to take the insurance company’s first settlement offer. The reason for this is because the insurance industry standard is to provide a low-ball initial offer to see if it’ll make you go away.
If the insurance company’s first offer is inadequate, you don’t have to accept it by any means. Let them know that you will not accept an offer that is any less than what you sincerely deserve.
#4 - You don’t have to use the insurance company’s recommended body shop.
The body shop that the insurance company recommends may very well be effective and efficient, but it may not be the best shop for you to use. If you are comfortable with another body shop that you’ve used in the past, you have the right to use that shop if you please.
It’s common for insurance companies to receive discounts from the body shops they recommend to claimants, so if you use their suggested shop, it’ll likely benefit the insurance company more than it’ll benefit you. Keep in mind that any savings the insurance company receives when you use their body shop will not be passed on to you.
Whatever shop you decide to use, be absolutely sure they DO NOT use aftermarket parts on your vehicle. These parts are not typically made with the same level of quality as stock parts and have a greater chance of causing issues for your vehicle in the future.
#5 - Be mindful of the documents you sign.
DO NOT sign anything from another person’s insurance company without speaking with your attorney about it first. The insurance company may ask you to sign documents that you’re not legally required to sign.
This is done so that insurance companies can gain access to your personal information, even though they’re not legally entitled to it. It is standard in the insurance industry to request information like your social security number. They may also ask you to sign releases so that they can obtain your medical or employment records.
You DO NOT have to provide your social security number or sign any documents to have your claim processed. The truth is, providing your signature on these documents may actually harm your claim in major ways.
Insurance companies want to gain access to your personal information so that they can use who you are as a person to value your claim. They won’t hesitate to use whatever information they can get from you, so be mindful of the information you disclose.
Your own insurance company may also ask you to sign documents so that they can process your benefits. You’ll need to follow the instructions from your own insurance company so that you can access your coverages. A skilled lawyer will be able to help you decide which documents you should sign and which ones you should not.
Even if you believe that you are clear about what the documents are asking of you, you may not completely understand the claims process and all of the entanglements that signing the documents can have on your claim.
Remember, you can help protect yourself and your claim by having as little contact with the insurance company as possible.
We’re Here for You
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may be owed compensation for your damages. Here at MW Law Firm PLLC - Mama Justice, our team is highly skilled in the area of car accident injury law. We have helped many other people in situations just like yours, and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office right away with any questions you may have.
Call us today at (662) 262-6264 to discuss the details of your case!