You were involved in a car accident. Maybe it was yesterday or perhaps it was last week. No matter when it occurred, you are stuck dealing with the aftermath. The accident went something like this:
You were obeying all traffic laws. Out of nowhere, a car came speeding up and crashed into your car. After checking to make sure everyone involved was okay, you called the police. You gave your side of the story and the other driver gave a completely opposite account. Unfortunately, it was early in the morning and because everyone was trying to get to work, no witnesses stuck around. Your accounts of the accident don’t match up, so what happens next?
Realistically, you can expect a call from the other party’s insurance adjuster. Why? Because they will be conducting their own investigation. Here’s what you need to know.
Believe it or not, insurance companies don’t stay in business by paying out every claim that comes their way. You may have a perfect driving record, but that doesn’t mean an insurance company will have your best interests in mind when they begin to deal with you. That’s especially true when the other party is at fault and their insurance company gets involved.
In the days following an accident, both insurance companies will need to be notified. They will ask for basic information and maybe even a copy of the police report if they don’t already have one. Both insurance companies will be making an attempt to find out what really happened, because neither one wants to have to foot the bill.
In most cases, you won’t hear from the other party’s insurance company if you both gave the same, or close to the same, account of the accident to police. It’s when the stories conflict that the investigation begins. When the insurance adjuster from the other company calls, do you have to talk? The simple answer is, “No.”
If you look at the wording of your own insurance policy, you may find out that your cooperation after an accident is required. In other words, should you choose not to answer questions or cooperate with your adjuster, they may deny your claim. It’s not to say that you couldn’t then take them to court, but in many cases, providing at least the basic information is a good idea.
On the other hand, there is nothing that says you have to speak with the other party’s insurance adjuster or agent. In almost every case, it’s in your best interest to not talk to them. The other company is looking for any statement or utterance which could shed light on you as being at fault and not their client. They will use any trick up their sleeve to get you to say something that could mean their client was the innocent party.
The best advice is to politely decline to speak with the adjuster. Tell them that you do not feel comfortable answering their questions. That should be the end of the conversation as these people know that you are under to obligation to speak with them. If they push, you can always tell them that you will be hiring an attorney and they can speak to them. That is, if you do plan on hiring an attorney.
It’s true that not every victim of a car accident needs legal representation. That said, most attorneys will offer an initial consultation at no cost, so it doesn’t hurt to at least speak with one to determine if you have the potential for a personal injury lawsuit. You also don’t need to file a lawsuit to seek the advice or assistance of an attorney.
An attorney can deal with the insurance companies for you, yours and the other party’s if necessary. An attorney experienced in car accident litigation can also review any settlement offers you are given and advise you whether or not it is in your best interest to accept them. Keep in mind that once you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, you have given up the right to file a lawsuit in the future. if you have any questions after a car accident, don’t hesitate to at least reach out to an attorney for information and advice.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, call our office today. We are happy to offer you a free consultation at which time we will review the facts of your case and help you make appropriate decisions. You may be entitled to a settlement larger than what you are being offered, and you may have the necessary grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Reach out to our team today to schedule your case evaluation.