If you've been hurt in a car accident, you will probably receive a phone call from the at-fault driver's insurer. This call might come very soon after the wreck and there's a reason why it's so prompt. To find out how to handle that call and why it's so vital to be careful, read below and protect your compensation chances.
Why Are You Being Contacted About the Accident?
If you think the other driver was at fault for the wreck, chances are their insurance company is aware of it too. The insurer knows they will need to pay for your medical expenses, vehicle repairs or replacement, and many other forms of damage. They also know that you might, as yet, be unaware of how much compensation you can be paid as a result of the accident. If they can catch you before you have a chance to speak to a personal injury lawyer, they may be able to reduce the amount of money their company will pay. That happens for two reasons: Many accident victims accidentally say the wrong thing during the phone call and some accident victims don't understand how much money they are owed.
Accident Victims Can Say the Wrong Thing
First, you should know that you are not required to speak to the other driver's insurer at all. Even if you never speak to them your compensation will be unaffected. With that in mind, why take the chance? Accident adjusters will call and request that you speak with them about the accident during a recorded call. Anything you say could be used to reduce your compensation and it's amazingly easy to misspeak. Even your summary of how the accident happened could be slightly different than the one you gave the responding officer — and that can make it appear you are confused or trying to deceive. You might also express doubts that the other driver was 100% at fault and that can seriously jeopardize your compensation. Some people have a tendency to ramble, speculate, or think out loud, and that can create doubt about your version of events.
Accident Victims May Not Understand How Much Compensation They Are Owed
Part of the "hook" that gets victims to speak to the adjuster is the promise of a check. This check is all you will get as a result of the accident if you agree to accept it. What might sound like a fair and enormous amount of money could actually be woefully inadequate. Not all victims realize that they can be paid, for example, for pain and suffering and that form of damage is not likely to be part of the offer. Pain and suffering alone could be hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what they offer you. Once you sign the release, your opportunity to be paid more is over. If you later find out that you will need additional medical care in the future, you won't be able to get it.
To ensure that you don't mistakenly leave thousands of dollars on the table, speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after the accident and avoid the accident adjuster at all costs.
For more information about handling your auto accident claim, reach out to a lawyer today.