While you may be required to report a car accident to your insurance company, you should be careful about what you say to them. Saying the wrong thing to your insurance company can lead to complications with your case. You should also avoid talking to the other driver’s car insurance company, until you have reported the accident and talked with a car accident lawyer.
When Should I Report the Accident to my Insurance Company?
You should report your car accident to the insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance companies have specified timelines for how long you have to notify them of an accident. It can be helpful to know what this time limit is for your provider. It is also a good idea to report the accident, immediately after notifying the local police department.
It is also important to know that you have the legal right to decline to talk with an insurance representative, or adjustor, with further details, until you have had a chance to discuss the case with a Florida car accident lawyer. Not only can the insurance company use recorded statements against you, but in the often stressful time following an accident, it is possible that you are not yet thinking clearly. The insurance representative may request that you sign a liability waiver or a medical release, both of which could hurt your case.
Give yourself time to get over the initial panic of the car accident and consider your options. It may be that you do not need a car accident lawyer, but it is better to consider your options before you make a statement that hurts your chances of collecting compensation later on.
What Information Can I Tell My Insurance Provider?
While it is likely that your insurance provider will ask a lot of questions, it is best to avoid giving too many details until you discuss your case with a lawyer. Making certain statements can make them question your liability in the accident or minimize your damages, leading to a reduced claim amount.
It is important to remember that car insurance companies operate as a business, and their goal is to provide as little compensation as possible. You should tell them:
- That you were in an accident
- The details of what led to the accident
- The date and time of the accident
- The location of the accident
- If you or anyone else suffered any injuries
- If your vehicle or anyone else’s was damaged
Your policy may require that you cooperate in filing certain claims. However, if you are unsure if you are required to do something, discuss it with your car accident lawyer.
What Should I Not Tell My Insurance Company?
While you never want to purposely withhold information from the insurance company, it is important to be careful about how you say certain things. You also want to be careful not to agree to any settlement terms that you do not understand.
Avoid the following when communicating with your insurance company:
- Avoid lying: It is never advisable to lie to your insurance provider.
- Never admit fault: Avoid admitting blame until you have all the details.
- Avoid saying you are okay: Some injuries do not show up until later, so it is best to avoid discussing the severity of your injuries until you know more.
- Never minimize the extent of the accident: It is not always clear how severe an accident is until you have received medical care and talked with others involved in the accident.
- Avoid signing a release until you have talked with a lawyer: Signing a release with the insurance company should be one of the last things you do, after you have discussed your case with a lawyer.
- Avoid verbal agreements: Any agreement, even a verbal one, can be held against you, leading to questions regarding the severity of your injuries or who is at fault.
Whatever information you agree to give or withhold, never lie. Lying can harm your case and damage your reputation. It can also be harmful to agree to a settlement amount, even verbally, before you know the true extent of your damages.
When Should I Talk With the Other Insurance Company?
The state of Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that regardless of who is at fault, it is your own insurance company’s responsibility to cover your damages. That is, unless your damages exceed the maximum amount allowed within your policy. Typically in a no-fault state, if your damages exceed this number, then you will seek additional compensation through a third-party personal injury lawsuit.
It might be that the responsible driver is not communicating with their insurance provider, so they are turning to you for more information. But keep in mind, any information that you provide to them can be used either against the other driver or you.
It is also still possible that the other driver’s insurance company may want to ask you questions about the accident. Without understanding their motive, it is difficult to know what information you should give them. In most cases, because you do not have to legally speak with them, it is better to just put them in contact with your lawyer.
Why Should I Work With a Car Accident Lawyer?
There are many reasons to consider working with a car accident lawyer, following a car accident. In addition to assisting you with communicating with insurance companies, your lawyer can also help you demonstrate the full extent of your injuries, ensuring you receive compensation that provides you with the medical care you need to recover.
Your insurance company may also try to decline certain types of treatments or fail to pay you in a timely manner. A car accident lawyer can help you speed up the process and ensure that you receive an amount that appropriately covers your damages. You should not have to fight with the insurance company to receive the benefits you pay for. Let us fight for your rights.