Whether you’re at fault or the victim in an accident, dealing with an insurance company requires a certain finesse. A few key strategies and tips can help you cope with insurance company tactics and ensure you don’t harm your case. Make sure you know what to do – and what not to do – before you talk to an insurance company about an accident.
Never admit fault.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember when you’re dealing with an insurance company to never admit fault. Even if you think you might have contributed to an accident, don’t talk about it until you see a police report and talk to your attorney. A police report could reveal that you were mistaken about fault, but if you admit fault in the beginning, it becomes much more difficult to get insurers to pay.
If your accident was investigated by Arizona Highway Patrol, you may request a report here.
Avoid providing a written statement.
Many insurers will ask you to provide a written statement about an accident. Avoid providing a statement until you’ve consulted with an attorney, and make sure the attorney reviews and approves your statement. If you provide a written statement without first getting legal advice, you could write something that could potentially hurt your case.
Don’t lie about injuries.
It may be tempting to exaggerate or minimize injuries when you have an accident. Don’t. If you have injuries, get them treated and don’t try to minimize them. Alternately, if you’re not injured, don’t try to pretend that you are; insurers will find out and you’ll just hurt your own case.
Remember that the insurance company doesn’t want to pay.
Insurers are in business to make money. If they pay out on every insurance claim, they wouldn’t make money. Therefore, insurers don’t want to pay. Keep this in mind when you’re dealing with an insurer. You must prove that the insurer has to pay, and establish how much the insurer should pay, before you’ll see anything near what your case is worth.
Refer the insurer to your lawyer.
The safest way to deal with an insurance company after an accident is to refer the insurer to your lawyer. Once you retain legal counsel, an insurer is required to talk to the attorney – not you. This can help you avoid saying the wrong thing, and can make sure you don’t hurt your case.
Here is a Video from Phoenix personal injury lawfirm Wattel & York discussing how to handle insurance companies.