A car accident can be a frightening and stressful situation, and it is not uncommon for affected drivers to feel confused about what to do immediately after an accident. Keeping a few tips in mind can help you make better choices following any car accident. Your choice of words when speaking with the police and insurance companies can have a dramatic impact on your final recovery after a car accident.
Tips for Speaking With the Police
The police respond to most traffic accidents, and virtually every state requires drivers to call the police to report any accident that resulted in an injury, death, or significant property damage. If you experience a car accident, your priority should be your personal safety and that of your passengers. Once your vehicle comes to a stop, check yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers if you feel well enough to move around. Be careful, as the adrenaline in your system may make it hard to feel pain from internal injuries, or you may aggravate an injury sustained in the crash.
Report the accident to the police if no other driver has done so and take the time waiting for them to arrive to take photos of the accident scene. These photos can help with a future insurance claim or lawsuit. When the police arrive, answer their questions honestly and concisely. Do not admit fault for anything even if you know you are at least partially liable for the accident. Even seemingly innocent phrases like “I’m sorry” taken out of context may implicate you as liable for the accident.
The police will ask where you were going and your version of events, and then interview the other drivers and witnesses at the scene. The police will file a report containing all these statements including yours.
Handling Insurance Carriers
Almost every car accident will inevitably lead to insurance claims. When a policyholder files a claim for coverage, having an attorney assist with the drafting of the demand letter can significantly reduce the chances of the insurance carrier pushing back on the claim. Speaking with insurance claims adjusters is like speaking with the police; be very careful of your word choice and refrain from admitting any sort of fault.
Some insurance claims adjusters will ask open-ended questions and then wait for a long time before responding to the claimant. This is a negotiation tactic used to create an uncomfortable silence, and the claimant may feel pressured to keep talking. Answer questions honestly and concisely and pay no attention to awkward silences; this could be an attempt to get you to say something that would limit your coverage or qualify for denial of your claim.
Be Honest and Clear With Your Claim
Many people dread having to talk with insurance claims adjusters, another reason why hiring an attorney to assist with your claim is a wise choice. Your attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance carrier on your behalf and prepare you for meetings with adjusters and investigators if necessary. You may also need to submit to an independent medical examination or other review process to secure a recovery, and your attorney can ensure the validity and propriety of these requests.
Do not try to downplay your injuries, and be careful of seemingly innocuous responses to questions like “How are you?” Responding with “I’m fine,” could lead to the adjuster interpreting this as you are uninjured, or you have recovered from your claimed injuries. Keep conversation as minimal as possible with insurance agents and claims adjusters and answer their questions honestly and concisely. An Denver car accident attorney can guide you through the insurance claim process and help minimize the chances of a claims adjuster pushing back against your claim.