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.