The process for dealing with a traffic accident can be confusing, especially if you’ve never been in the situation before. For most people, navigating the insurance process is the most confusing and difficult part. Here are three common mistakes that you should avoid if you are going through the process:
While many know that they should not apologize to others involved directly after an accident in order to avoid admitting guilt, they may not have the same thought when it comes to talking with the insurance company afterwards. It may be very natural for you—when talking to an insurance adjustor over the phone—to causally apologize for the incident. You may not even really be expressing remorse, but even a social nicety made in passing can be taken as an admission of guilt by the insurance company. Any admission of guilt can be then used by the company to try and reduce the legitimacy of your claim.
2. Talking to the other driver’s insurance company
While you are obligated to inform your insurance company of your accident, you are not obligated to talk to the other driver’s insurance company. In general, speaking directly to the other party’s insurance company is not ideal. You can have your insurance representative or attorney speak with the insurance companies on your behalf.
However, if you do speak with another insurance company, keep in mind that the primary goal for their adjustor is to reduce the quality of your claim and shift blame from their client to you. Thus, you should:
- Decline to have your conversation recorded
- Avoid admitting any blame
- Avoid minimizing your injuries
- Decline to volunteer additional information
- Avoid making statements that are not objective facts
3. Settling too quickly
Always remember that insurance companies, even your own, are businesses that are looking to maximize their profits. Because of this, it is in the companies’ interest to settle claims as quickly and as cheaply as possible. If an insurance company can get away with saving a few thousand dollars on your claim, they will take advantage.
Even if you avoid all the common pitfalls associated with dealing with insurance companies, the first settlement they present to you will usually not be the best deal that you could get.
How an attorney can help
Although your insurance company may have an agent represents you, they may not have your best interests at heart when dealing with your case. If you’ve suffered from an automobile accident, you should have a professional representing your best interests. An attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf and get you the compensation that adequately addresses any suffering you’ve endured.