While many people understand that it can be dangerous to talk to police officers after you have been placed under arrest, many others do not realize that it can be equally dangerous to talk to an insurance company after an accident. While you are probably not risking jail time, as you might be when waiving your right to remain silent, you can be facing a substantial financial loss by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Unfortunately, insurance companies realize this and will often go to great lengths to force victims into unfair settlements of their claims.
The best strategy is usually to speak to your attorney before you talk to an insurance company representative. By law, when you inform an insurance company of your legal representation, they must contact your attorney from that point forward to discuss your case. Unlike criminal matters, however, the court is not required to appoint an attorney to represent you, so it is important that you know what to do after an accident and how to find the right attorney to safeguard your interests.
Five Reasons Never To Speak To Insurance Companies
There are some very good reasons never to speak to an insurance company representative about your claim, including:
- You may inadvertently say too much. Most people are honest and open, and will gladly answer questions put to them. Insurance investigators often use this tendency against the victim, giving him or her leading questions designed to solicit the desired response. You might actually say something that damages your case without even realizing you have done so.
- The insurance company may use your statements to deny your claim. In some cases, insurance companies have used the victim’s own statement to deny his or her claim. This usually happens when the victim assures people at the scene that he or she is “just fine.” Even such an innocuous statement could lead the insurance company to suggest that you were not hurt by the accident and instead acquired your injuries later.
- The insurance company may say that you were not injured as badly as you claim. Another favorite tactic of insurance companies is to claim that, while you were indeed injured, your injuries are not as bad as you claim. This is often due to your initial refusal of medical treatment at the scene or your failure to follow up with all aspects of your care suggested by your doctor. While this may seem unimportant to you, an insurance company may try to use it against you.
- You may be denied needed treatment in the future. Sometimes insurance companies will get in touch with victims to “check up” on them, only to use the information they acquire to deny future medical care. It is very important never to discuss your ongoing medical needs with anyone other than your doctor and your attorney.
- You may agree to too low a sum for your claim. Probably the most common issue with insurance companies denying victims their rights are when they try to fast-track a low settlement offer. Insurers know that if they push a seemingly good settlement on a victim quickly, he or she may be tempted to take the money. This sum often represents a fraction of the actual value of the claim, although the victim may not realize this.
At Barber & Associates, we have been representing victims of personal injury accidents for many years and we protect our clients’ rights. We ensure that our clients are not taken advantage of by insurance companies and are given the full value of their claims. If you have been in an accident, do not speak to the insurance company without calling Barber & Associates first.