What you say and who you say it to after a crash are important, as your words may have an impact on the outcome of your claim. The insurance company will look for any way to discredit you to avoid paying for your damages.
It would be in your best interest to speak to one of our auto accident lawyers in Sacramento before talking to the insurance company. Not only can an experienced attorney explain how to watch what you say about the crash, but he or she can also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf to protect your claim.
Below, we discuss some of the things you should not say during an accident case.
You can and should talk to the other driver, or drivers, involved in the crash, if you are physically able to do so. This could help you get a better understanding of the state of mind of the person. For example, you may be able to find out if he or she is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You can inform the police if you think the other driver was impaired.
Once you have engaged in conversation with the person, the first thing you should ask for is his or her information, including insurance and contact details. You should also make the person aware that you will be calling the police to report the crash.
When talking to the other driver involved in the crash, it is important that you do not say anything that sounds like you are admitting fault or partial fault. Even something as simple as an apology to the other driver could be viewed as a confession of fault.
Car accident scenes can be high stress environments for many people, so it is important to try and remain calm when talking to the driver. If the other party fails to stay calm, you should go back to your vehicle and call the police. Your safety is the top priority.
When speaking to the police about the crash, it is important that you stick to the facts. Do not embellish your story with speculations about the other driver.
However, if you suspect the crash occurred because the other person was on the phone, distracted or under the influence or alcohol or drugs you need to tell the police. Just be sure not to exaggerate. Simply tell the officer what you think and then tell him or her what exactly happened before, during and after the crash.
The police officer is likely going to ask you questions about your own actions. Simply state the facts and if you are unsure about something, you can decline to answer. If you think you may be at fault, you do not need to admit that. You could be wrong. If you admit fault to the police, it may be much harder to dispute.
Another question you are likely going to be asked is whether you need medical attention. It is in your best interest to say that you do. Even if you do not feel injured, you should get evaluated at the scene just in case.
The insurance company is likely going to ask you to provide a recorded statement about the accident. It would be in your best interest to not provide one until you have spoken to an attorney.
If you do provide a statement, the insurance company may try to use your own words against you to diminish the value of your claim. They can use a variety of statements against you, even statements as simple as “I’m okay.” Just saying you are alright after the crash can be twisted by the insurance company to make it sound like you are not injured and they should not have to pay for your medical bills.
When talking to the insurance company, if there is anything you are unsure about, just tell them they should refer the question to your attorney.
Crash victims are often unprepared for questions from the insurance company. For example, they are unprepared for the way insurance adjusters may ask the same question in different ways because they are fishing for information. They are trying to get victims to make contradictory statements, admit fault or downplay the severity of their injuries.
That is why it is so important to allow your attorney to talk to the insurance company on your behalf. Insurance companies are going to try to keep you on the phone and talking just waiting for you to say something that hurts your case.
After an accident, one of the first people you should talk to is an attorney who may be able to help you pursue the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Our knowledgeable attorneys may be able to provide legal advice on how to talk to the insurance company when filing your claim to help retain its value.
We offer a free consultation and charge you nothing while we work on your case.
Call 916-777-7777 today to get started.