Your discussion or the lack of a discussion, with the other driver’s insurance company, is really dependent on your particular claim and circumstances.
In general, most legal minds would suggest you avoid speaking with the other driver’s insurance company, but there are some situations when this can actually help you.
If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident and have been contacted by the other party’s insurance company, this article is for you. Let’s take a more in-depth look into how you should handle this situation and why it’s essential that you understand both sides of this equation. Also, we will offer tips on how to have conversations with either your, or the other driver’s, insurance company regarding your accident.
Are You Required to Speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
First and foremost the answer to that is, no. Legally, there is no requirement for you to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. You do likely have to talk to your own insurance company as they will need your account of what happened.
There is, however, times when speaking to the other driver’s insurance company will benefit you and will depend heavily on the specifics of your case. For example, if the other driver is lying and the company needs you to confirm the lie or the driver refuses to speak to their own insurance company. This should really only happen when the other driver is “clearly” at fault for the accident. If the other driver refuses to communicate with their own company, it may prolong your case as the insurer likely has no idea on the extent of the damages you endured. This is especially true if your accident was minor in scope. It may serve in your best interests to have a simple, minimal conversation with the driver’s company.
If there is a question as to who is at fault, then you should refrain from having that conversation and retain a lawyer to handle that communication on your behalf.
What You Should Know When Speaking to The Other Insurance Company
The primary goal of almost any car insurer is to pay out a little money possible for claims. This is a business after all, and while you may be required to hold insurance to help protect you, those interests can sometimes fall short. Here are six points to consider in determining your interaction with the other company.
- Not Serving You – It is safe to suggest that the only person who has your best interests in mind is you, and your car accident attorney. The other company is continually seeking ways to disprove your claim and dismiss your case. They will attempt to collect information about you to prove you were either negligent yourself, or not as injured as you claim to be. No matter how you feel or how insignificant the damage to your car might be, you should never tell the other driver’s insurance company that you are fine and that your car isn’t that bad off.
- What You Say is Everything – You know when law enforcement reads someone their Miranda Rights and they say, “What you say can be used against you in a court of law?” Well, the same is true in your car accident case. If you misspeak, even by accident, you can be denied compensation and give the insurance company everything they need to deny your claim.
- Don’t Elaborate – If you do choose to speak to the other driver’s insurance representatives, keep it simple and only answer what is asked. Avoid elaborating or getting into any stories about yourself. In fact, if you can respond with a simple yes or no answer, that is even better.
- No Recording Please – If the insurance representative asks to record the conversation, we highly suggest you refrain from allowing this. This statement can be used against you later and can sabotage your case if you recall things differently later or misspeak.
- You Know or You Don’t Know – Refrain from speculating about anything regarding your case. If you know something, speak that truth. If you don’t know something, just say you don’t know.
- Request Representation – If the other insurance company wants to discuss more than the who, what, where, when aspects of your case, ask that your insurance company be on the call with you. If you’re requested to offer information about your vehicle, ask the insurance adjuster to do the call. If you’re asked to provide details you’re unsure about, seek a lawyer to help you with this part of your case.
When You Should Never Speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
In most cases, you should avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. As we’ve stated, this is mostly because they are looking for a chance to pin part (if not all) of the accident on you. This is also likely because the details of the crash are either unclear to the driver’s insurance company or they know how problematic this case looks for them. To avoid a legal battle they may want to speak with you to settle your case for less money, or they are aware that your injuries are significant and want to try to sabotage your claim.
How to Speak to the Insurance Company About Your Accident
There are times you’ll need to speak with the insurance company, your or the other party’s coverage, and we thought it would be helpful to know how to do this effectively. Here are our suggestions to ensure no mistakes are made and that you are protected.
- Stay Calm, Cool and Collected – Chances are if you’ve been injured or your car totaled, you’re not happy about it. This isn’t the time you air your displeasure with the insurance company representative. You do not want to risk offending the adjuster or give a reason for them to draw out your claim. The best course of action is to stay calm throughout the conversation, be polite and speak as clearly and concisely as possible.
- Take Names – Everything is evidence in your car accident claim as is everyone you speak with about it. Make sure you get the name, address and phone number of the person who is taking your information. Confirm the business they are with as well.
- Keep it Simple – This is no time to elaborate or offer your passionate opinions about what happened in your accident. Stick to the facts and only provide the information requested. If the adjuster attempts to discover information about your work or salary or wants to know where you work, avoid answering these questions by just saying that you cannot confirm that at that time.
- No Crash Talk – An adjuster may try to get you to discuss the car accident so you offer details about what happened. Only discuss the fundamental facts such as where the accident occurred, what day and what time. You can mention what vehicles were involved or confirm if there were witnesses as well. If they push you to answer questions, you can simply say that you can make that information available at a later time.
- Injuries Are Off Subject – While injuries are at the “heart” of a car accident claim, this is not the time to have that discussion. If the adjuster wants to talk about the injuries you’ve endured they can make a formal written request to you or your attorney. There is a legal process they have to go through to get access to your medical records. If the insurance company implies they know you were injured, they do not know the details and you do not have to give those to them.
- Grab a Pen and Paper – You are just as much an investigator in your claim as the insurance companies, and it’s okay to be a bit skeptical of what they ask you. Write down the questions or interesting aspects of the conversation in case this needs to be recalled at a later date. Don’t forget to write down any requests they had or any details they provided you.
- Fast Settlements Are a Red Flag – This is especially true if an adjuster attempts to make a settlement within the first few times of speaking with you. When a company does this, they likely know that you have a strong case and are doing all they can to avoid a legal battle. Don’t fall for it. Tell them you’ll get back with them and call your car accident attorney.
- Set Expectations – You can be polite and agreeable and still stand up for yourself. Make sure you alert the adjuster that you will not be discussing the accident or a settlement today and that you’re happy to talk about other aspects of your claim. Your “authority” in setting expectations for the conversation will help them realize that you aren’t likely to be a pushover.
We hope this has given you a good idea about when to, or when not to, speak with the insurance company after a car accident. There is always a lot to think about in these kinds of cases, and if that becomes overwhelming, we suggest you reach out to a car accident lawyer to help you navigate this part of your car accident claim.