Accidents are nothing if not confusing. One moment you’re sitting there, minding your own business as you drive into work in the morning. The next moment is filled with loud noises, crushing metal, shattered glasses, and worse.
If you’re lucky, your accident only resulted in some minor damage to your car. If so, that’s great. It might seem like a lot to deal with but you really did come out better than most. For most people, accidents are violent and terrifying and then things just get confusing afterward.
We all know that there are steps and actions that have to be taken after a car accident but do you know what those are off the top of your head? If you said no, then imagine how much more difficult that question is in the heat of the moment. One of the many mistakes that you could get tricked into making is to talk to the other driver’s insurance company.
But why is talking to the other driver’s insurance company such a problem in the first place? We’ll answer that question, take a deeper look at one of the most common tricks they may use to reduce how much they need to pay you, and even ask the question “When should we talk to any insurance company?”
Why Shouldn’t I Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
The most important thing to understand about this topic is the simple fact that the other driver’s insurance company is not your friend. In fact, your insurance company shouldn’t be considered a friend either but we’ll talk more about that in a moment.
Insurance companies all work on the same basic principle. They offer you peace of mind in exchange for money. You pay them each month and in return you get to rest easier knowing that you are covered should you get into an accident.
But it is not in the insurance company’s best interest to pay out after an accident. They are required to, based on the contract that they have with their clients. But even so, it is in their best interest to do what they can to reduce the amount they are paying out and to do so they employ some fairly underhanded tactics.
This is especially true when it comes to the other driver’s insurance company. Not their specific company but the fact that it is their company and not yours. They don’t need you to retain a positive image of them and so they can employ their most frustrating and uncool tactics without anything to lose.
So that’s why you shouldn’t speak to the other driver’s insurance company. But let’s take a look at one of those underhanded tactics to get a better understanding of the type of trickery we’re talking about.
What’s Wrong with Giving a Recorded Statement?
One of the tricks that insurance companies will use to try to reduce the amount they have to pay you is to get you to make a recorded statement. This might not sound like such a bad thing at first and the insurance company will certainly be polite and nice while asking for it.
They will likely say something along the lines of “If you give a recorded statement then we can speed this up quite a bit,” or some variation on that theme. Absolutely avoid consenting to being recorded. This is something you do not want to do if you want to get the payout you deserve.
The recorded statement you give will be used against you. It could be used against you in a number of ways, in fact. For example, they may compare the statement you gave the police to the recorded statement you made. If they find an inconsistency then this could equal a reduction in payout or even a denial of payout. Never mind the fact that people will explain events in different words and emphasize different elements between two statements. That’s just normal human behavior but they can use it to deny a claim.
But that’s not the only way things could potentially harm you. Insurance adjusters are taught to ask questions in a manner that makes it difficult to answer without hurting your claim. Or they might take an aggressive approach and try to push the facts of the accident on to you until you get so annoyed and frustrated that you start to close up, respond with answers like “Maybe” or “I guess so.”
When Should I Speak to an Insurance Company Following My Accident?
It’s not even a particularly good idea to speak to your insurance company right away. You will need to contact them soon after your accident but you want to avoid telling them too much. You can inform them that you were in an accident but avoid explaining anything in detail until you have an attorney on your side.
While waiting for an attorney is always smart, it isn’t the only reason that waiting is important. In many cases you won’t know the full extent of any injuries you suffered until the medical establishment has had time to look over your tests. If you speak to an insurance company too soon then you might not have the full picture of what you suffered. Telling them that you only had a little whiplash, only to learn you suffered serious and lasting damage, could be the worst outcome. They will settle on the fact there wasn’t a need for medical assistance and so that won’t be covered in the payout they offer.
What Should I Do If I Don’t Trust the Insurance Company?
Honestly, you probably shouldn’t trust them. Instead, find yourself an attorney that you can trust. Attorneys may cost money but they have an invested interest in helping you to get the compensation you are owed from the insurance companies.
They also know how to cut through the lies and tricks that insurance companies are going to try to use to reduce your payout. For the best chance at the largest possible payout, work with an attorney that knows how to play their twisted games so that people like you are able to get what they deserve.