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What Not to Say to an Insurance Company

If you know you have a valid insurance claim, you may implicitly trust that the insurance company will pay what you are owed in a timely manner. Unfortunately, many people learn the hard way that insurance companies do not have their client’s best interests in mind. An insurance company will take any opportunity to save itself money – including using what you say to take advantage of you. 

It Was My Fault

An insurance company will already be looking for ways to avoid paying you. This includes trying to blame you for an accident you didn’t cause. Do not make it easier for them by admitting fault or saying you are sorry for the accident. These words can stop an insurance investigation from starting before it even begins. The insurer will place the blame on you since you confessed. Even if you think you caused a crash, wait for an official investigation to determine its cause. There may be factors that you were unaware of, such as a roadway defect.

I’m Not Injured

Do not tell an insurance company that you feel fine or are not injured until you’ve seen a doctor. Many crash victims make the mistake of skipping the hospital because they feel fine, only to notice symptoms of a serious injury later. The adrenaline from an accident can hide pain. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, only show symptoms after they have caused serious damage. Do not answer any questions about your injuries or sign a medical release form sent to you by an insurance company until discussing it with an attorney.

Yes, You Can Record Me

Soon after your accident, someone called the insurance claims adjuster will contact you asking for a statement. The adjuster will ask your permission to record you talking about the crash. Do not say yes. Politely decline to give a recorded statement, as this is only a way for an insurance company to use your own words against you later. Explain that you will be submitting a written statement instead. Decline to give a recorded statement even if the claims adjuster says they cannot continue assessing your claim without one.

I Think…

Do not speculate about anything you do not know for certain. When dealing with an insurance company, only state the facts. Avoid any statements that start with “I think” or “In my opinion.” The insurance company can use even your guesses against you. Keep your answers to questions short and simple and do not offer any information that is not specifically requested. Don’t give the insurance company anyone else’s name or contact information, including friends and family members, as it may try to contact them.

I Don’t Need a Lawyer

The goal of an insurance company is always to protect its own profits. It will do this by taking advantage of people who don’t know how to protect themselves during the claims process. If you admit to not having or needing a personal injury lawyer, the insurance company will see you as an easy target. It will know that you are unrepresented and do not have a legal professional to review settlement offers or protect your rights. Seek counsel from a car accident attorney as soon as possible to level the playing field.

I Accept Your Settlement Offer 

The most dangerous thing you can say to an insurance company is that you are accepting its settlement offer. Do not verbally accept an offer or sign a settlement agreement before consulting with an attorney. Most initial insurance settlement offers are priced lower than what a claim is actually worth. 

The insurance company knows many claimants do not understand the values of their claims and do not realize they can (and should) negotiate and submit counteroffers for a higher amount. Once you accept a settlement, your case will be closed and cannot be reopened – even if you discover that you settled for far less than you deserve. Before saying yes, contact an attorney at Cannon Law for assistance and advice.