Should I talk to my insurance company?
Yes. If it is your insurance company calling, then you are required to give a statement. However, you don’t have to provide the statement right away. You will want to get some background information before you give the statement.
You have to report the accident to your own insurance company, so gather your thoughts before you make the call. They will be recording the call. You will later get a call from the pip or medical adjuster. Giving a statement to your own auto insurance company is a requirement you agreed to in the policy agreement with your insurance company. If you refuse to provide a statement for your personal auto insurance company, they can deny your benefits. Your insurance policy provides benefits to you even when it’s the other driver’s fault. Your insurance company is called the no-fault or the PIP carrier for the accident. Your insurance company may also provide you collision or property damage coverage. You will want to give your statement correctly because the other insurance company will get a copy should you have to file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that the insurance company is looking for ways to deny your claim. The entire purpose of the interview is to screen your claim to determine if a payment should be made. Be ready for the interview. The insurance company is going to want to know:
- if you are the owner of the car,
- if you had other insurance,
- if you were hurt,
- where you were hurt,
- the facts of the collision,
- how fast everyone was traveling,
- were the vehicles damaged, if so in what way,
- if there were photos,
- did the police get called,
- were there witnesses,
- did you get medical treatment, why or why not.
You have no obligation to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. On the other hand, the other insurance company is not going to pay the claim without finding out your position.
Before you talk or sign anything, download our free book on auto accident claims which will give you the background you need to give a good statement. Here are a few practical tips on how to give an effective statement that won’t put your case in jeopardy now or later on in your case.
Rule #1 schedule a convenient time later to give the statement.
You don’t have to give the statement when the adjuster calls. Ask the adjuster to tell you what he will be asking so you can get the information together that he or she needs. Set up a time when you can focus on the interview. This delay will give you time to gather your thoughts. As you prepare for your interview, make a list which will include:
- all the witnesses to the accident,
- all the reasons the other driver is at fault,
- and a list of all your injuries, and
- all your medical providers.
You may not at this time even know the extent of the injuries but at least make a complete list of every place it hurts right now. Does your back hurt? How severe is it hurting, and for how long? What does this stop you from doing? What do you do when it hurts? Have you had prior treatment for your back? Tell the insurance company because they will find out later. Think about how this pain is different from previous pain if it is. You can recover for aggravations of pre-existing conditions, so don’t be afraid, to tell the truth.
Rule #2 for a Recorded Statement: Be Honest
The most important rule of giving a recorded statement is this: tell the truth. Nothing can destroy an otherwise good case like a false statement to any party. So tell the truth. As part of this, you will need to make sure you fully understand the question before you answer the question. If the adjuster calling you uses words you don’t understand this is not the time to be bashful, ask him or her to explain.
Rule #3: Be Complete
When talking to the insurance company, you do not want to inadvertently leave out important details regarding the facts of the accident or your injury. For example, if your knee is sore, but you think it is probably not that big of a deal. Don’t leave out the fact that your knee is sore. Early in an injury, you might not know how severe some initial soreness might become. Be complete. Many times an insurance agent will call the day of the accident. Schedule the statement for a few days down the road. Often someone hurt in an accident will not feel the pain until the next day or so. You might even want to schedule the interview after you have seen a primary care doctor so you will know the nature and extent of the doctor’s diagnosis. Even if you don’t wait until you see your doctor at least make a list of your pains, so you don’t accidentally forget to mention an injury area. The reason you want to be complete is that the liability insurance company will accuse you of lying if you later claim an injury to part of your body that is not mentioned in the first statement.
Rule #4: Don’t Exaggerate
While its important to be complete, you don’t want to exaggerate any details about your case either. Some people think this might help your case; however, let me assure you it does not. We, as your attorneys, will rely on physicians to prove any injury and as much objective information as possible. There is simply no need to exaggerate how you feel or the details of how the accident happened.
Rule #5: Don’t Sign Anything Until You Know What You Are Signing.
You can expect your own insurance company to ask you to sign certain forms including:
- a personal injury protection form to start your medical benefits,
- medical authorizations so they can get your records, and
- CMS Medicare forms so they can comply with the federal law requiring the insurance company to tell the government about insurance claims.
Sometimes an adjuster will try to get you to sign a release or offer you some money right away. Don’t sign a release until you know the full nature and extent of your injury and then only if it is adequate to cover your medical, pain and suffering, future medical, wage or income loss, and any disability past and future.
Giving a recorded statement can be intimidating. That’s why, in the right case, it is essential to have an attorney in your corner from the very beginning. If you are interested in our free case evaluation, be sure to click here to start the free process.