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Top 3 Things to Avoid Telling Insurance Carriers After a Car Accident

Posted in Car Accidents on January 5, 2022

After a car accident, one of the first responsibilities is to call and report the incident to the insurance company. When the motor vehicle collision is your fault, make sure you contact them immediately. If the car accident is not your fault, you will need to file a claim through the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Filing a car accident claim can be problematic. While it is natural to want the insurance claims process over as quickly as possible, cooperating with the insurance adjuster may not be in your best interests. Many people make the mistake of thinking the insurance company is on their side. Unfortunately, claimants often inadvertently say things that hurt their claim.

Why the Insurance Adjuster is Not Your Friend

In a perfect world, an insurance company would be by your side. The insurance adjuster would ensure you had all the information you needed. There would be no need to negotiate and no extensive paperwork or deadlines. All claims would be paid out fairly. 

However, this is not a perfect world, and an insurance company is a business like any other. In the last reporting year, the Louisiana Traffic Records show:

  • 72.5 thousand injuries from passenger car accidents
  • 114.9 thousand property-damage only collisions

With car crashes on the rise, insurance companies may minimize your settlement or deny your claim completely to maximize profit. In some cases, an insurance adjuster may use some unsavory tactics to minimize your compensation, including:

  • Asking seemingly simple questions whose answers are designed to damage your claim
  • Offering quick settlements before you have had a chance to assess your injuries or property damage fully
  • Pressuring you to sign a broad medical release form
  • Dragging out the claims process to provoke financial hardship
  • Offering settlement far below what their case is worth
  • Claiming that your injuries were pre-existing and not related to the accident
  • Exploiting social media to undermine your injuries 
  • Seeking ways to assign you fault

Why You Should Never Apologize for Your Car Accident

When dealing with an insurance company, it is vital to keep in mind they have a team of lawyers at their disposal ready to undermine your case at every opportunity. Everything you say and do from the moment of the car crash to the close of your claim is subject to be used against you.

If you apologize at the scene of the accident, even if it was meant as politeness and not sincerity, it can hurt your claim. Any form of an apology can be misconstrued as an acceptance of fault. 

In Louisiana, the state follows the modified comparative negligence rule, or shared fault rule. Modified comparative negligence looks at the fault in a motor vehicle accident as a percentage. It considers that some accidents may be caused by both parties, allowing liability to be shared.

For example, suppose Mike speeds through a red light and crashes into another car. The other driver, Sarah, admits she did not see Mike because she was checking an alert on her phone. 

Mike could be considered 75% at fault for the collision for reckless driving. Sarah could be assigned 25% of the fault for distracted driving.

If you are in a car accident and found to be partially at fault, you may file a claim for damages. However, it may be misinterpreted if you apologize at the scene or to the insurance adjuster. Apologizing could be considered an admission of fault. If you are found to be 50% or more at fault, you will not be able to file a claim.

Why You Should Not Discuss Your Injuries with the Insurance Adjuster

Soon after your car accident, an insurance adjuster will likely call and ask for details about your injuries. There are several ways discussing your injuries can hurt your claim:

  • It may take days, weeks, or months to know the full extent of your car accident injuries. Delayed injuries can include the following:
  • Back pain can lead to whiplash, spinal injuries, herniated disc, and soft tissue damage
  • Neck pain can cause limited range of motion, pain, headaches, blurred vision, and swelling
  • Headaches are one of the most common indicators of a delayed injury, signaling a possible blood clot, concussion, or bleeding on the brain
  • Abdomen pain and dizziness may be a sign of internal bleeding, organ damage
  • Numbness and tingling can indicate spinal cord damage
  • Behavioral changes may indicate a traumatic brain injury or concussion

If you tell the insurance adjuster your injuries are minor only for them to become major later on, they will likely base your settlement off the initial assessment. 

  • Adrenaline may mask greater pain. If you speak with the insurance company before the true nature of your pain sets in, the company will likely argue that your injuries are only minor.

It is in your best interests to speak to an experienced car accident attorney to learn how to avoid making critical missteps in your personal injury claim.

Why You Never Speculate About What Happened in Your New Orleans Car Accident

Speculating about your accident can greatly impact your claim. You may not have all the case facts while the investigation is pending. If you hypothesize reasons for the crash or describe what you believed happened and later find out your guess was wrong, the insurance company may use your conflicting statements to discredit your claim. 

When it appears you have changed your story, a judge and jury are less likely to believe your injuries are as bad as you have reported. You may inadvertently cause your case to be severely reduced, or at worse, dismissed.

Protect Your Claim and Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Speaking to an insurance adjuster after a car accident can be intimidating. Most accident victims would rather focus on their recovery. However, speaking with the insurance company is necessary. If you are in a car accident, remember there are three important things to avoid telling the insurance company.

Answer the insurance adjuster’s questions in simple, concise language. Do not offer information. You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to representation.

Never discuss your injuries in detail with the insurance company. Remember to never apologize for the car accident.

After the collision, any form of an apology can be considered an admission of fault and drastically reduce your compensation offer. 

Contact the Law Offices of John W. Redmann, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case by calling (504) 500-5000.