What you do after a car crash can be vital to how things will go in the following days when the insurance adjuster calls you for details on the accident.
Although you must be honest with your insurer, there are things that you should definitely keep to yourself.
Generally, if you were involved in a car accident that you thankfully survived, some will prompt you to call your insurance as soon as possible, if not right on the scene.
However, car accidents can make you anxious, shocked, and confused regardless if you suffered from injuries or not. This state of mind is not ideal for making objective or correct statements.
Moreover, your insurance company is not a friend nor a foe. It’s simply a business that will do anything to succeed by paying less and paying quickly. You may also consider reading more about this subject especially with self-driving cars, like our article on Tesla insurance or even reading about Lemon Law which is more common than you think and affects many car drivers.
With this in mind, let’s check the 9 things you should never tell your insurance adjuster.
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1- Admitting Guilt:
It’s my fault, I’m partially at-fault, I’m sorry, I apologize etc.
First and foremost, you don’t want to sabotage your whole claim with a headlong apology. Apologies entail admission of liability, at least this is how the adjuster will see it. Even if you are only being polite to the other driver or their insurer, you must bear in mind that it will not help but will surely harm you.
More importantly, don’t utter the words “it’s my fault” under any circumstances. More often than not, investigations will reveal more details on the incident than you initially had. Therefore, the other involved driver might be found partially or fully responsible for the accident. You don’t want to wrongfully blame yourself and end up recovering a very low amount of money for your damages.
2- Downplaying Your Injuries:
I’m uninjured, I’m okay, I’m fine etc.
While you might actually feel okay after the accident, you shouldn’t declare that right away to your insurer because some injuries will manifest after a period of time.
Give yourself some time to visit a doctor and prepare a thorough medical report before letting the insurance adjuster in on any details concerning your health after the accident.
When you rush an answer concerning your damages to your insurer, they will also rush a settlement that will be much, much less than what you actually deserve and need.
3- Speculating about What Happened:
I guess, I think, I’m not sure but… etc.
Precise and concise is your golden rule when it comes to dealing with your insurer’s investigator. That is to say, you should really say nothing more than what you are asked about.
The adjustor is paid to look so closely at everything you say, and speculations are their favorite loopholes to get the information they want. Therefore, when the adjustor poses a question that you don’t have a factual answer to, don’t answer it.
If you do, anything speculative you say will be used, certainly against you, in determining the settlement you get.
4- Giving Names and Contacts:
I called my parents, I spoke to my doctor, I told my partner… etc.
More people mean more opinions, and therefore, more discrepancies. This can never be good in your case.
When you give the investigator names of people whom you contacted after the accident and might have told some details, he will try to contact them to gather what they know.
However, one can never control what others will remember and in what order they will remember it. This means that the investigator is now presented with different versions. Eventually, this leaves more room for speculations and more room for the adjuster to downplay your damages.
You should know that you don’t have to share any information with the adjustor more than the accident’s facts. So be careful of giving the adjustor names or contact information of anyone who’s aware of the accident.
5- Giving Official Statements:
This is my official statement, you can record this
This one is easy: don’t give your or the other driver’s insurer a recorded or official statement under any circumstances. The only time you can do that is when your attorney advises you to do so. The attorney will tell you what to say and how to say it.
This is because recorded statements are always favorable to the insurer. They can be manipulated, misconstrued, and taken out of context to fit the insurer’s story, and you won’t be able to do anything about it since it’s your official statement.
There’s no law that obliges you to give a recorded or an official statement unless your insurance contract requires it.
So when it comes to official statements, you should either let your attorney handle it or never give one.
6- Letting the Insurer Know That You Don’t Have an Attorney:
I don’t have an attorney, I don’t work with attorneys
If you don’t currently have an injury attorney, don’t let the insurer know that. Instead, try to get yourself one as soon as possible.
An attorney will solidify your claim and force the insurer to take your claim more seriously.
7- Requesting a Quick Settlement:
Let’s get this done with, I want to settle this quickly, I don’t have time… etc.
Insurance adjusters usually have many cases to settle, probably hundreds, a month. They will always offer a quick, low-price, settlement and see if you are willing to take it.
If you show despair, they will offer you a rock-bottom offer that might not cover your damages at all.
No matter how exhausting the process is, don’t offer a quick settlement or accept one. Instead, you can negotiate with the adjuster or hire an injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
8- Setting a Number to Your Damages:
I just need this amount, I think this amount will do/ it’s fair.
Calculating an accident’s damages is subjective. Most people will not know how to do it and will downplay them to the costs of maintenance.
However, your damages include medical bills, lost income or ability to make income, your pain and suffering, and maintenance costs. To determine the value of these damages, it is generally accepted to calculate the total tangible costs, hospital bills, lost income, and maintenance and multiply it by a figure from 1.5 to 6 depending on the severity of your case.
There’s always the better option of counseling an attorney who will be able to determine your claim’s value more accurately.
But a rule of thumb is to never take the adjuster’s first number. It is always lower than what you deserve.
9- Giving Unnecessary Information:
I was talking to my son when, my car was already customized, I wasn’t driving fast
Details such as your speed or your car’s status before the accident are not ones you would like to share with the insurance company. Mostly because they are unnecessary and because the adjuster will use them to argue that you are guilty and at fault.
Other unnecessary information such as describing what you were doing when the accident happened can severely harm your cause.
Just as mentioned in number 4, you don’t have to give any excess information. The law only requires you to inform the insurance company when the accident happens and to provide the necessary information only.
Your insurance company is not your friend, and you can’t get so comfortable when dealing with it after a car accident. This is because you have different interests and goals.
While you are trying to get the best offer to cover your expenses, your insurer is trying to pay the least amount possible.
This is why you must make sure your claim is strong and invulnerable. One way of doing so is to refrain from saying these things after an accident:
- It’s my fault/I’m partially at-fault/ I’m sorry/ I apologize etc.
- I’m uninjured,/ I’m okay/ I’m fine etc.
- I guess/ I think/ I’m not sure but… etc.
- I called my parents/ I spoke to my doctor/ I told my partner… etc.
- This is my official statement/ You can record
- I don’t have an attorney/ I don’t work with attorneys
- Let’s get this done with/ I want to settle this quickly/ I don’t have time… etc.
- I just need this amount/ I think the said amount will do/ it’s fair.
- I was talking to my son when/ My car was already customized/ I wasn’t driving fast
Bear in mind that even if you decide to initiate a car insurance arbitration to get a better settlement offer, these things weaken your case too.
The best way of not falling into these traps is by counseling an attorney. If you have other questions on settling car accidents in private, you may find this article interesting by Forbes Advisor.