Protecting Your Rights to Full Benefits after an Accident
When you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, one of the first steps to take is to contact your insurance provider. Don’t be surprised if you get a prompt response and an adjustor even calls to immediately come out and get a statement from you. They frequently will want to record your statement. However, it’s often not in your best interests to meet with your insurer until you retain legal counsel.
Here are some things to know before you agree to give a recorded statement to an insurance company: The insurer has a vested interest in minimizing how much you receive — The insurer maximizes its profit by minimizing the amount it pays out on claims. They are less interested in making certain you get full and fair compensation than they are in delaying, diminishing, or denying your claim. The recorded statement can be used against you at a later date — It’s fairly customary, in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident, for there to be some confusion about exactly what happened. You can expect the recorded interview to focus on facts that will help the insurance company minimize its payout. Unfortunately, you may say something in your statement that is contrary to evidence discovered or given by other parties at a later date. Furthermore, if you try to correct prior misstatement or misunderstandings at a later date, you can easily be portrayed as lacking credibility. Your statement may be incomplete or inaccurate — There are many factors—adrenalin, pain, and even shock—that can lead to abnormal brain function in the wake of a car accident. False recollections are a fairly common occurrence in the first few days after a traumatic accident. Those inaccuracies or omissions may be used later by your insurer to challenge your claim. Insurance adjustors are experienced interviewers — The adjustor may not be an attorney, but they may be skilled at asking you “leading” questions. It’s typically part of their training, and serves their purposes, to find ways to minimize or deny your claim. They also may seem to be your friend or to care about your losses, hoping you’ll say something to negatively impact your claim.