What Should I Not Tell My Insurance Company After an Accident?

April 2, 2024 |
What Should I Not Tell My Insurance Company After an Accident?

There are several things you should not tell your insurance company after an accident. For one, you shouldn’t tell any insurance company that you contributed to the accident in any way. You should also not tell any insurance company that you accept a settlement offer until an insurance claim lawyer reviews it.

If you have any doubt about whether to say something to an insurance company, it is usually smart not to say it. Your words can work against you during the claims process, and saying the wrong phrase or sentence can be a financially catastrophic error.

Words That Insurance Companies May Use Against You

Auto insurance companies may use any available excuse to avoid paying you a full settlement. You may give an insurer such an excuse by:

Apologizing for the Accident

Some accident victims feel the need to apologize after a collision, even if they did nothing to cause the accident. This can be a natural instinct, but you must avoid it. Apologizing for any reason may:

  • Suggest that you did something to cause the car accident
  • Be fodder for the insurance company to accuse you of wrongdoing
  • Make it more difficult to secure the settlement you are entitled to

You should also not apologize to anyone involved in the accident. An insurance company can catch wind of such an apology and use it against you.

Saying You Were Impaired in Any Way

A female driver leans out of her car window, clutching the keys in one hand while reaching for a bottle of alcohol with the other, seemingly cognizant of the danger her drinking poses to fellow motorists.

It is common knowledge that impaired drivers are dangerous drivers. While we often focus on the effects of alcohol and drugs on motorists, you should not indicate to an insurer that you were anything but alert, attentive, and substance-free during the accident.

Avoid saying or implying that you:

  • Were tired
  • Had consumed alcohol before driving
  • Took any prescription or over-the-counter drugs before driving
  • Took any illicit drugs before driving
  • Were emotionally unsteady in any way

Making such statements can not only undermine your claim; they can also expose you to criminal liability for an accident.

Saying You Engaged in Any Dangerous Driving Act

Motorists who engage in risky driving place others in a position of danger. When accidents inevitably happen, the risky driver is often liable for the accident. Therefore, you want to avoid suggesting that you:

  • Were speeding
  • Changed lanes dangerously
  • Were tailgating 
  • Pulled into oncoming traffic
  • Crossed a road or intersection when it was unsafe to do so
  • Did anything else that contributed to the accident

If you state that you engaged in any kind of dangerous driving, an insurance company may blame you for the accident, reduce its settlement offer, or take other harmful actions.

Saying Your Vehicle Was in Poor Condition Before the Accident

You may be held responsible for the condition of your vehicle. If you indicate that your vehicle was in unsafe condition before the accident, the insurer may claim that a vehicle-related defect contributed to the collision.

Never Accept an Insurance Company’s Settlement Before Hiring an Accident Lawyer

You should also never tell an insurance company you accept their offer without being certain it is fair. One reliable way to know if an offer is fair is to have an accident attorney review the offer.

Your attorney will:

  • Determine the financial value of all your accident-related damages
  • Review insurance policies to determine which of your damages the insurers are responsible for
  • Review all insurance settlement offers in comparison to your damages
  • Explain to you whether an offer is a lowball offer, a nearly fair offer, or a fair offer

Your attorney will be your partner. They will provide transparent, reliable advice about how to respond to any settlement offers. However, you will have the final say over whether to accept an insurance company’s settlement offer or continue fighting for a larger recovery.

Let an Injury Attorney Deal with Insurance Companies for You

In his office, a suited young man presents an insurance policy, using a pen to indicate where the policyholder should sign.

When you speak directly with insurance representatives, you are always at risk of harming your case. The slightest error can have significant ramifications for your claim. A lawyer will benefit you immensely during the claims process, including by:

Managing Communications with Insurers

The most immediate means of protecting you is for your attorney to deal with insurance companies. Your attorney will:

  • Handle all phone calls with insurance representatives
  • Arrange any meetings with insurance representatives
  • Provide all necessary evidence and documentation to insurers
  • Handle every other interaction with insurance companies

Interacting with insurance companies is inevitable after an auto collision. However, you don’t have to personally deal with them. Allow a lawyer to deal with insurers and protect you in the process.

Helping You Make Any Necessary Statements

Those involved in accidents must typically make a statement to one or more insurers. Your attorney can:

  • Try to arrange for you to make a written statement, which may present less risk of you making an error
  • Craft the written statement to ensure it is detailed and accurate
  • Ensure that insurance companies receive your statements in a timely fashion, as this will help prevent claim delays

Any statements an accident lawyer helps you craft will also benefit (rather than harm) your claim.

Helping You Evaluate the Fairness of Settlement Offers

Accident attorneys understand what a fair settlement is—it’s why so many civil cases result in a settlement. Your lawyer will discuss each settlement offer with you and advise on how to best proceed.

How Can I Find an Auto Accident Lawyer Fit to Lead My Case?

An attorney can be your lifeline after an accident, but you must hire the right one. You can look for prospective attorneys:

  • Through recommendations from friends and family
  • Online (using resources like Google and lawyer-specific forums)
  • Through local listings
  • By calling numbers on local billboards and advertisements

Once you know the law firms serving your area, you can begin evaluating prospective firms based on the following:

  • Their case results: Many law firms provide a snapshot of case results online. You may seek a law firm with a long history of obtaining large settlements and verdicts for accident victims. Seeing that a firm has trial results is important, as this may indicate the firm will take your case to court if necessary.
  • Their client feedback: Former clients may have plenty to say about a law firm. Pay attention; these client reviews can help determine whether a law firm will treat you right and prioritize your case. 
  • Their accolades: Some law firms have many awards and honors. While a law firm does not necessarily need such accolades to be effective, such distinctions do not hurt.
  • Their branding: Law firms prioritize different things, and their branding may tell you what they value most. If a law firm’s messaging resonates with you, it is something to consider during the search process.
  • Their performance during a free consultation: You can speak with law firms for free. Ask questions of the law firm and probe whether a lawyer will invest the necessary time and effort in your case. How a law firm treats you during a consultation may reflect how it will treat you going forward.

You may come across other information that you find relevant when choosing a law firm. Make a list of what you seek in a law firm and use that list when evaluating the attorneys serving your area.

The Many Ways a Lawyer Can Assist You

Lawyer service depicted with toy car models representing a civil court trial for an accident case study involving insurance claims.

Your attorney will ensure you can focus on your recovery without worrying about the claim or lawsuit. They will provide start-to-finish service that includes:

Building an Evidence-Based Case

Your lawyer will obtain any evidence that helps prove the cause of your accident, which may include:

  • Video footage of the accident
  • Eyewitness accounts of the collision
  • Expert testimony regarding fault for the accident
  • The police report for the accident
  • An expert’s digital reconstruction of the accident

Your lawyer will organize this evidence most logically, as they will work to prove to insurers who is responsible for your accident.

Proving Your Damages

Your legal team will secure proof of each of your accident-related damages, which may include:

  • All medical bills and records, which will show the nature of your injuries, severity of symptoms, and cost of care
  • Expert testimony about damages (which may include testimony from doctors, therapists, and economists)
  • Income statements detailing how much compensation you have lost since the accident

Your attorney will keep close tabs on your recovery process and professional status. They will secure proof of all of your damages as soon as possible.

Calculating a Settlement Value

Your attorney will calculate a settlement value that includes:

  • Economic damages (like medical bills and lost income)
  • Non-economic damages (like pain, lost quality of life, and post-traumatic stress disorder)

You may still be suffering damages that will continue to affect you in the future. Your lawyer will ensure that their settlement demands reflect these future damages.

Completing Insurance Settlement Negotiations

Your legal team will complete settlement negotiations on your behalf. They may convince liable insurance companies to pay you fairly by:

  • Presenting all documentation of your damages
  • Showing evidence that liable parties caused the accident
  • Explaining the math and reasoning behind their settlement calculations
  • Tying together every component of your case while demanding the compensation you deserve

Insurance companies often fight hard against claims. Your attorney will enter negotiations with a relentless winning mentality, and they won’t advise you to settle until you receive a fair offer.

Drafting a Lawsuit and Going to Court (if Necessary)

If settlement negotiations do not lead to an acceptable settlement, your attorney may advise you to initiate a lawsuit. They will:

  • Explain the benefits of filing a lawsuit
  • Explain the process ahead
  • Draft and file the lawsuit
  • Complete the next steps in the legal process

Your attorney can continue negotiating a settlement after filing a lawsuit. If those who owe you compensation still won’t offer a fair settlement, your attorney may take your case to the courtroom.

Recoverable Damages in Your Auto Accident Case

Insurance agents evaluate car damage from road collisions, aiding compensation claims for accidents. Illustrates insurance concept & agent expertise.

Auto accidents can take a multi-pronged toll on victims. You may suffer financial, psychological, emotional, and physical harm that includes:

Pain and Suffering

Many accident victims suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other types of pain and suffering that entitle accident victims to compensation are:

  • Acute physical pain
  • Chronic physical pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lost quality of life

You might undergo a personalized evaluation with a mental health professional, and your lawyer can arrange it. Such an evaluation will uncover all pain and suffering resulting from the collision.

Professional Harm

You may experience several professional damages because of your accident, including:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Lost chances for bonuses, promotions, and other performance-based professional benefits

If you are disabled, you may permanently lose the benefits you previously received from doing your job. Your attorney will evaluate your professional damages and seek compensation from liable parties.

Property Damage

You deserve fair compensation for:

  • Repairing your vehicle
  • Replacing a totaled vehicle
  • Securing temporary transportation
  • Replacing any other property damaged during the auto accident

Vehicles are often worth several thousand dollars. Your attorney will consult automotive repair professionals and seek fair compensation for all property costs.

Medical Costs

Your legal team will account for every medical expense resulting from your auto accident. The more severe your injuries are, the more expensive your medical care may be.

Mental Health Treatment Costs

If you seek therapy, medications, or any other types of treatment after your accident, your attorney will keep track of mental health treatment costs.

Auto accident lawyers also represent those who lose loved ones because of accident-related injuries. Whatever harm you have suffered because of someone’s negligence, an attorney will fight for the entire settlement or verdict you deserve.

Timing is Key When Hiring an Accident Lawyer

Andrew L. Hope, Personal Injury Lawyer
Andrew L. Hope, Insurance Claim Lawyer

Your personal injury lawyer must secure evidence from your accident as soon as possible. Your legal team will also face a deadline for filing any lawsuit you pursue. Position your lawyer for success by hiring them as soon as possible.

Consultations are free and you have no obligation to hire a firm after your meeting. Schedule a no-cost case evaluation with an injury law firm near you today.