After a serious motor vehicle collision, individuals must discuss the situation with not only the police but also insurance carriers. While insurance companies are legally obligated to uphold their end of the policy, they will often explore opportunities to delay, deny or devalue an injury claim.
Even though every injury situation is different, there are common mistakes that individuals must avoid when dealing with insurance carriers, including:
- Don’t apologize or admit fault: For many individuals, it is human nature to overstate their own fault or even apologize when they’ve done nothing wrong. Even a simple apologetic statement can be misconstrued during the legal process of monetary compensation. It is best to stick to the facts and answer questions directly without assuming any fault for the collision.
- Don’t make assumptions: When discussing the collision with the insurance carrier, they will likely ask questions for which you have no answer. This is okay. You can answer that you do not know or that you do not recall. Failing that, you could even tell them you don’t recall at this moment and will call back if you remember. The worst thing you can do in this situation is guess or make assumptions. If you don’t know, you don’t know.
- Don’t make a recorded statement: Especially in the immediate aftermath of a vehicle collision, it is not uncommon for individuals to feel confused and unsure of their responses. Having a recorded statement on file might ultimately work against the injured party. For example, they might say they feel fine before seeing a medical professional for a thorough examination. If the carrier is forcing this scenario, then you should speak with an attorney.
- Don’t settle too quickly: Often, people worry that they should accept the first settlement offer that comes along. It is wise to hold off, however, to ensure all financial matters were considered. The long-term injury prognosis, for example, or how an injury could impact an individual’s ability to maintain gainful employment are all factors that should go into the determination of a settlement amount.
After a vehicle collision, individuals are often left shaken and overwhelmed. While every scenario is unique, it is wise to understand your rights and avoid certain pitfalls that could ultimately damage your case and future financial security.