What (And What Not To Say) To an Insurance Company Following an Accident

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

After a car accident, you may have to talk to both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. It’s very common for the other driver’s insurance company to contact you, and many people tend to notify their insurance company right away. There are a number of traps you can fall into when you talk to insurance companies.

So, here are the things you should say and, more importantly, the things you should not say. You also should not talk to either insurance company until you have talked to an experienced personal injury lawyer. 

Things to Say to An Insurance Company

Here are the things you should say:

  1. A very basic description of the accident that does not assign blame, guess, or speculate.
  2. Direct answers to the questions asked, as long as they don’t go beyond the basic details.

Right after the accident, all an insurance company needs to know is that it happened and when. Later on will be the time to file a claim, talk about money, etc.

Things Not to Say to An Insurance Company

So, what about things you should absolutely not say. The list here is quite a bit longer.

  1. It was my fault. Never admit fault. Not to an insurance company, not to the other driver, not to the police. The only person you can safely admit your concerns of fault to is your lawyer. Let them work out who was at fault.
  2. I’m not injured. Never say you were not injured. Get checked out. Sometimes, you may think you aren’t injured at the time of the crash, and then symptoms may manifest days later. Don’t sign medical release forms.
  3. Yes, you can record me. Don’t give a recorded statement. They will use this to lock you into a version of events that may not be accurate.  Politely state that you do not consent to being recorded.
  4. I accept. Never accept a settlement without talking to a lawyer. Never accept the first settlement offered. Sometimes accepting a settlement is a good idea, sometimes it isn’t. You need to try to make sure your injuries have healed or are at a plateau before considering the settlement value of your claim.
  5. I think. Stick to the facts. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know. Don’t estimate your speed, don’t estimate your distance to the other vehicle, etc.
  6. I am making an official statement. You don’t make a statement until you have talked to an attorney.

Ideally you should have your lawyer’s advice on whether to give a statement and your lawyer on the call. Don’t discuss the names of the other people involved, even if you know them. And ideally, don’t say anything until you have talked to your lawyer. If you were in a car accident and need a lawyer, contact Peterson, Berk & Cross today. We have the experience to help you deal with insurance companies and get the best result.