You are driving down the road minding your own business and out of nowhere a car hits you. You have a surge of emotions because you are hurt and emotionally upset. What do you do next? Usually, the first thing people want to know is should I talk to the insurance company after a wreck. Well, that depends.
What’s the First Thing I Should Do After a Wreck?
Answer: Seek medical attention right away! There will always be time to deal with the insurance company. But first things first, make sure you’re ok. For more information about what to do immediately following a wreck, click this link.
Should I Call My Insurance Company After a Wreck?
Answer: Yes, You should contact your insurance company as soon as you can, regardless of who was at fault for the wreck. You may have collision coverage, personal injury protection, uninsured motorists, or just liability. Whatever coverage you have, your insurance needs to know that your car, motorcycle, or truck was involved in an incident. If you need help sorting through the coverage issues, we can help.
If the other driver did not have insurance (aka uninsured), was underinsured, or the wreck was a hit and run, then your insurance company may have to pay the tab for your injuries, property damage, rental, etc. Getting your insurance involved early on is always key, and your policy may stipulate the period of time within which you must contact them.
What Do I Say When I Call My Insurance Company?
Answer: When you call your insurance company, you should already know the other driver’s insurance information. Having this information will allow your insurer to contact the insurance company for the other driver so they can get the ball rolling on the claim. You should provide your insurance company with the details of the wreck, including the vehicle and parties involved and where the wreck happened.
Should I Contact The Insurance Company For the Other Driver?
Answer: Yes. The other person’s insurance company will be liable for:
- getting you a rental car,
- fixing your car, and
- paying your medical bills, etc.
Do not be alarmed, as the other insurance company is going to want a statement from you when you call. They will likely ask to record this statement.
Do I Have to Give the Other Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?
Answer: No, Legally you do not have to give a statement to this insurance company.
At Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC, we strongly advise against giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster or agent for the other party. You could have painkillers in your system from the hospital, be in shock, or be out of sorts due to the wreck. And unfortunately, sometimes insurance agents and adjusters like to ask confusing questions to give rise to answers that will later give them a basis to deny your claim. Bottom line, while you have to notify the at-fault party’s insurance carrier, you don’t have to give a statement.
Do I Have to Give a Recorded Statement to My Insurance Company After a Wreck?
Answer: That depends. If you’re filing a claim for underinsured or uninsured motorist protection, your insurance company may require that you give a statement.
But you don’t have to give the statement immediately after the wreck.
What Should I Say When I Give a Recorded Statement?
Answer: When it comes time to make a statement, it may be difficult to recall certain details. Some find it hard to relive the nightmare again. It is best to write everything down and make sure you can discuss all the important details. When an adjuster starts asking all sorts of questions, you may forget to talk about some of the most significant things.
The details are so important that we suggest you get a lawyer to help out with this part of the claim. Most personal injury attorneys help people out on a contingency fee so you won’t have to pay a thing upfront. Both the insurance company and the lawyer need every last fact about the wreck to insure they handle the case to the best of their abilities. So, be thorough.
Is it Better to Say Nothing in the Recorded Statement or Guess?
Answer: It is better to say nothing than to make a false statement. If you are not 100 percent sure about something, do not go on record saying it. It’s fine to say, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.” These are natural answers.
The defendant’s lawyers will use any false or misleading statements against you. Even a simple answer of “fine” to the question of “how are you doing” can be twisted and used against you. Be careful and wise when making any sort of report to anyone. Your words can come back to haunt you.
Should I Admit Fault if I Was Partially at Fault for the Wreck?
Answer: In some states, like Texas, if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault in the accident, you are not entitled to any monetary damages. However, if you had the fault of about 20 percent, then you would get 80 percent of the awarded damages. It is called proportionate responsibility and it can really hurt your case.
The defendant’s team will try to prove that you are totally or at least proportionately responsible to get out of paying or simply pay less. Because of laws like this and other loopholes, it is vital to have a trained legal team working for you.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
Answer: That depends. You should know that the insurance company has a team of lawyers working night and day to ensure they get the upper hand, so it’s not very wise to enter a courtroom or even begin negotiations with an insurance company without representation?
What if the Insurance Company Makes a Settlement Offer?
Answer: Be Careful. In most cases, a person is unable to work, at least for a short period of time, due to injuries. Or, they are so emotionally shaken from the accident they develop post-traumatic stress symptoms. All of these issues factor into a solid foundation for a good case. If you can’t even go to work due to injuries, then how can you represent yourself?
The insurance company may call you for a settlement. Do not take any money from them without talking to an attorney first. Once you sign a settlement agreement, the case can no longer be taken to court. Insurance companies often low ball settlements when a victim is unrepresented by a lawyer.
Having an attorney by your side can mean the difference in winning or losing. We know how emotionally and financially draining an accident can be. We are relentless in pursuit of compensation for our clients. We evaluate each case before we sign you on as a client. Keep in mind, not every automobile accident is grounds for a legal suit.
We must be able to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your harm. The insurance company often offers settlement packages based on the severity of the accident and injuries. If you can settle without going to court or hiring an attorney, you should. However, you should know that if you need to fight a legal battle, then you need a team of lawyers to help you win. At Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC we love to take cases to trial.
Won’t I Save Money if I Don’t Hire a Lawyer?
Answer: Maybe. But know this, we won’t take your case if it doesn’t make financial sense for the lawyer and the client. Many people feel that they can handle their accident case themselves and thus will save money by not having to pay for attorney fees. Perhaps so. But, personal injury firms do not charge their clients unless they win. And, on almost every occasion hiring a car wreck lawyer is going to more than double the value of your case.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, call a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer at Hutchison & Stoy, PLLC today for a free case evaluation at (817) 820-0100 or fill out a free case evaluation online.