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Should I Speak with Insurance Companies?

NO. You are not required to talk with the other party's insurance company when you've been involved in an accident.

You should never give a recorded statement to the other side without consulting with an attorney first. If you are contacted, be polite, but decline to speak to the insurance representative. Insurance adjusters use many strategies to lessen the value of injury claims, such as delay tactics, requesting pointless information, disputing medical treatment, paying only portions of medical bills, and even acting like a friend to gain a recorded statement that could reduce your injury claim.

What is a recorded statement?

Insurance adjusters are trained to contact the potentially injured victims of accidents involving their insured. The purpose of that communication is to garner a recorded statement of your account of the incident and your injuries. Oftentimes, claimants believe they must give this statement to the adjuster in order to be compensated for their injuries. Unfortunately, victims oftentimes unwittingly make comments that later hurt their case.

Insurance companies' claims adjusters are professional negotiators, with extensive experience in using techniques to persuade you to disclose information that may compromise your claim, including discouraging you from retaining legal counsel. Claims adjusters are hired because they sound persuasive over the phone, but rarely are victims compensated fairly without legal representation. If contacted by an insurance company other than your own, simply respond by saying something polite like, "Thank you for calling but I am not prepared to discuss this matter with you at this time."

In the event that you choose to speak with an adjuster, make sure to note their name, company, address, and phone number. It is safe to provide your name, address, and phone number when requested, but do not make friendly conversation with them. You should also take notes during each conversation, as the adjuster will be. Ask the insurance adjuster whether there were witnesses and describe your injuries only in a general sense, without providing specifics. Do not provide information about your family, names of your doctors, sign medical releases, or give a recorded statement.

You should also contact your own insurance company to notify them of your involvement in an accident. You may have benefits under your auto policy, including medical payments coverage and uninsured motorist coverage, which are applicable to your claim. It is important to notify your insurance company of the potential claim because nearly every policy contains a "notice requirement" in which your claim may be denied if the insurer is not notified promptly of the claim.

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