The aftermath of a car crash in Albuquerque is a confusing time. Collisions happen so suddenly that it can be hard to even comprehend what happened. If you also suffered an injury in the crash, you are likely to be even more confused about what to do or say. Unfortunately, your statements and actions, even hours or days after the crash, can impact your ability to get the compensation you deserve when another driver’s negligence caused the crash. As awkward as it might feel, our best advice is to say as little as possible to the police and to any insurance adjusters who contact you until you have found a personal injury attorney to represent you. More specifically, we advise you to avoid making any of the statements we list below.
What Not to Say to an Insurance Company After a Crash
People tend to react to crashes in one of two ways. Either they get really angry, or they feel apologetic. Unfortunately, neither of these responses is ideal. Although it is very difficult to do, it is important that you remain level-headed and that you think through your response before you say or do anything. Ironically, it is often the person who actually caused the crash who reacts with the most anger, and victims often feel like they need to offer an explanation. We strongly suggest that you avoid making any of the following kinds of statements:
- Apologies or admissions. Saying you’re sorry might be a kind of reflex, but after a crash, it could be construed as an admission of guilt. Saying the crash was your fault in order to make the other driver less upset can also come back to haunt you. Do not apologize or admit fault after a crash.
- Opinions. Starting a statement with, “I think…” is a good indication that you don’t know for sure what happened, so it’s best to not say anything at all. Your opinion about what may or may not have happened will not help your case. Leave the investigation of what caused the crash up to the police, your lawyer, and other experts.
- Irrelevant details. Offering details about where you were going, who was in your car, when your car was last repaired, the condition of your tires, what you were doing right before the crash, and other statements can influence the police officer’s or insurance adjuster’s assessment of what happened. Keep these details to yourself.
- Medical assessments. Insisting that you are fine is a common reaction, especially if you are the kind of person who hates to make a fuss. However, it is best not to make any comment about your medical condition at the scene of the crash. Likewise, insisting that you have whiplash or some other injury could make you look like you are out to nail the other driver, which could also jeopardize your claim. Leave the medical assessments up to a doctor.
- Recorded statements. Never agree to be recorded by an insurance adjuster—either at the scene or days later. Whatever reason they give, their actual goal is to catch you making inconsistent statements, and there is no better proof than your own words. They will need your permission to record you, so you can simply refuse.
- Names of others. Do not offer up the names of medical providers, family members, coworkers, or friends to an insurance adjuster, even if you think they could help your case. The adjuster may contact them to try to get information about your injuries or recovery, and you can’t count on them to give consistent statements.
- Acceptances. Do not sign any agreements or accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without consulting an attorney. If you do, there could be no turning back if you discover that you are owed more than what you were offered. Remember that the insurance company’s goal is to save money, not to give you what you are rightfully owed.
- Discussions about legal representation. Do not reveal that you do not have an attorney and do not accept an insurer’s recommendations for lawyers. If asked, simply say that your attorney will be in touch with them.
We understand that this list is a lot to remember, which is why our best advice is to say as little as possible and contact Keller & Keller in Albuquerque as soon as possible. Once you hire us, we will take over all communication with the insurance company, the police, and the other driver’s attorney.
Insurance Companies Will Try to Trick You
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could trust that everyone was committed to doing what’s right? Unfortunately, this is just not the case, especially when it comes to insurance companies. The adjuster assigned to your case has an obligation to save their employer as much money as possible, and they have a variety of tactics to accomplish that goal. They will try to get you to contradict yourself, hunt for past injuries, push you into a quick settlement, or do all they can to drag your case out. Again, the less you say, and the sooner you contact your own attorney, the better off you will be.
At Keller & Keller, We Have Your Back!
The worst nightmare for the insurance company for the negligent driver is a knowledgeable victim. When you refuse to play their game and avoid making the kinds of statements they hope you will make, they know they are in trouble. And once you hire us to represent you, we will make sure your privacy is protected as we pursue the full value of the claim on your behalf. And the best part is, you won’t owe us a dime until we resolve your case to your satisfaction. Call our Albuquerque car accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible after a car accident has left you injured.