If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you are likely to get a call from the other driver’s insurance company.
Many people are surprised to find out that the insurance adjuster is very friendly, and just wants to hear your side of the story.
However, it’s (probably) a very bad idea to talk to them, even if just for a few minutes.
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?
Hey everyone. It’s Drew from Champlain Valley Law.
In today’s video, we’re going to talk about why you probably shouldn’t give a statement to the insurance adjuster after you’ve been in a car accident.
If you’ve been in a car crash in Burlington, Middlebury, or anywhere else in Vermont, it’s likely that the insurance company for the other driver will probably want to take a statement from you.
What will the insurance adjuster ask you about?
What will probably happen is once the claim is reported, you’ll get a phone call from an insurance adjuster asking to hear what happened and wanting to know your side of the events that took place.
The adjuster will want to get you on the phone, or sometimes even in person and record your answers to their questions.
And with very limited exceptions, this is going to be a bad idea for you.
Also, what you say to an adjuster in an interview about how you got hurt can also be used against you.
This is particularly true if you got out of the car under your own power, or you decided that you didn’t want to take an ambulance to the hospital right away.
In most cases, there’s a really good reason why people choose not to take an ambulance away from the scene of an accident.
But these are facts that insurance companies grab onto when they’re trying to deny your claim by arguing that you really weren’t very hurt at all.
Do I have to talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
You have no obligation whatsoever to talk to an insurance adjuster over the phone or in-person in order for the insurance company to pay you fairly for your injuries.
Even a short phone call can be really dangerous to your case or claim.
Now, the insurance adjuster will probably tell you that he or she really needs to talk to you so that they can move your claim along and that they can’t do that without talking to you. But this is simply not true.
How a statement can hurt your personal injury case
You might be surprised to learn that accident lawyers settle many, many cases in which our clients have never once spoken to an insurance adjuster. A recorded statement given to an insurance adjuster serves no legal purpose, and it can only hurt you in the end.
That’s because if your case goes to court, the defense lawyer is going to get a chance to ask you questions under oath. In Burlington and in Middlebury, Vermont, we call that a deposition. In Plattsburgh, New York, it’s called an EBT or examination before trial. The point being, you don’t want to give an insurance company two opportunities to hear from you before trial.
Because anytime you give two separate statements, which are often separated by months or years, there are going to be small differences in what you say, and this is where insurance companies and their lawyers are going to try to discredit you.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you’re on the witness stand and you testify that your neck and your back hurt because of the accident. But when you spoke to the adjuster two weeks after the accident, you forgot to tell them that your neck hurt.
Now, the defense lawyer is going to try to make you look bad and claim that you’re making up the other injury, simply because you forgot to tell somebody in a short statement, not thinking that it was going to come back to bite you years later.
How we prepare our clients to give a statement
When our clients give testimony, or if we decide to allow them to give a statement to an insurance company, we spend a lot of time preparing you.
For example, one of the things that we spend time going over is the difference between estimating and guessing. We talk about how to spot trick phrases used by insurance lawyers and how to honestly answer questions without harming your case.
If you know us at Champlain Valley Law, we do a lot of client work remotely. That’s one of the things we’re known for, but preparing to give testimony is one of the few areas where we invest a lot of time in person with you.
Whether you need to come to our office in Burlington or Middlebury, we’ll meet with you as many as four or five times before you give testimony.
And we won’t let you give any testimony until you are well-prepared and completely confident.
What to do if you’ve already talked to the other driver’s insurance company
Now, all that being said, if you choose to give a statement to an insurance adjuster, you have a right to get a copy of the statement that you give.
Make sure that you ask for it and read it and make sure that what’s written down accurately reflects what you told that adjuster during your phone call.
So your takeaway from today’s video should be this, giving a recorded statement to an insurance company after a car crash is usually a really bad idea.
It’s not necessary and can hurt your case in the end.
If at all possible, discuss the idea with a lawyer and be prepared if you decide to eventually give a statement.
And if you do, get a copy, read it and make sure it’s accurate. I hope you found today’s video helpful. If you did, please give it a like and subscribe to our channel. And if there’s something you’d like to hear more about, let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time.