Mistakes to Avoid After an Accident

What to do after a car accidentAfter the immediate chaos of a car accident subsides, dealing with the insurance claim process can be tricky. Insurance companies are there to protect their bottom line, and their adjusters are trained to minimize payouts. Unfortunately, some well-meaning actions you take can inadvertently jeopardize your claim or put you at a disadvantage. Today we want to talk about some key mistakes to avoid when interacting with the insurance company after a car accident. By understanding what NOT to say or do, you can ensure your communication is clear, accurate, and protects your right to fair compensation for your damages.

What to avoid when speaking to the insurance company after a Fargo accident

When dealing with the insurance company after a car accident, it’s important to be cautious about what you say. Remember these key things to avoid:

  • Admissions of fault: Phrases like “I’m sorry” or “It was probably my fault” might seem like polite gestures, but they can be used by the insurance company to deny your claim or reduce your payout. Stick to the facts of the accident and avoid assigning blame.
  • Unnecessary details: Don’t volunteer more information than necessary. Briefly describe the accident but avoid getting into specifics about your injuries, your actions leading up to the crash, or your opinions on who caused it. The adjuster will ask specific questions – answer those directly but avoid oversharing.
  • Discussing injuries: Don’t downplay your injuries or say you feel “fine.” Seek medical attention promptly and avoid discussing the extent of your injuries with the insurance company until you’ve spoken with a lawyer. Insurance companies might use your statements to downplay the severity of your injuries and offer a lower settlement.
  • Offers to settle early: Insurance companies often try to settle claims quickly for a low amount. Don’t be pressured into accepting an initial offer before you know the full extent of your damages. Consult with our experienced lawyers to understand the fair value of your claim before any settlement discussions.
  • Recorded statements: You are not obligated to give a recorded statement to the insurance company. While they might request one, it’s best to consult with your attorney first. At Larson Law Firm, PC, we can advise you on whether a recorded statement is necessary and, if so, how to best prepare for it.

What strategies will the insurance company use to try and deny my Fargo car accident claim?

Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and paying out claims reduces their profits. It’s important to remember that after a car accident, they might employ various strategies to minimize their payouts or even deny your claim altogether. Here are some common tactics to be aware of:

  • Shifting blame: The insurance company might try to argue that you were partially or fully at fault for the accident. This could involve scrutinizing your statements, witness accounts, or even the accident scene to find evidence that somehow puts the blame on you.
  • Downplaying injuries: Even if you seek medical attention, the insurance company might try to downplay the severity of your injuries. They might use your initial statements about feeling “fine” or question the necessity of certain treatments to reduce the value of your medical claims.
  • Lowball offers: Insurance companies might make a quick settlement offer soon after the accident, hoping you’ll be eager for a fast resolution and accept a lower amount than you deserve. Don’t be pressured by these tactics – these offers are often far below the fair value of your claim.
  • Missing paperwork: The company might claim your paperwork is incomplete or missing deadlines to delay the processing of your claim. Always keep copies of everything you submit and stay organized throughout the process. Our Fargo car accident attorneys can help with this.
  • Denying coverage: In rare cases, the insurance company might argue that your policy coverage doesn’t apply to the specific circumstances of the accident. This is why understanding your policy details beforehand is so important.
  • Recorded statements: As mentioned earlier, the company might request a recorded statement soon after the accident. Be cautious, as these statements can be used against you if you’re not careful about what you say. Consult with our Fargo car accident lawyers before giving a recorded statement.

By being aware of these tactics, you can be more prepared to deal with the insurance company and protect your right to fair compensation. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this process alone. Consulting with our experienced Fargo car accident attorneys can significantly increase your chances of a successful claim.

What to do (and NOT do) when talking to the other driver after a car accident

Here’s a breakdown of what to do and what not to do when talking to the other driver after a car accident:

Do

  • Ensure safety: Always prioritize your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident. Check for injuries and call emergency services if necessary.
  • Exchange information: Get the other driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance details (company and policy number). Take pictures of their insurance card with your phone if possible.
  • Be brief and factual: Briefly describe the accident but avoid assigning blame or discussing details about your injuries. Stick to the facts like location, time, and the vehicles involved.
  • Document the scene: If you’re able, take pictures of the damage to both vehicles, any injuries, skid marks, traffic signals, and the overall accident scene.

Don’t

  • Admit fault: Avoid phrases like “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault” These can be used by the other driver or their insurance company against you later.
  • Discuss injuries: Don’t downplay your injuries or discuss their severity. Seek medical attention promptly, and avoid talking about your injuries with the other driver.
  • Argue or get angry: Emotions can run high after an accident. Avoid getting into an argument or assigning blame at the scene.
  • Agree to anything: Don’t agree to anything you don’t understand, like towing services or repairs, without first considering your options.
  • Discuss the accident with witnesses: While exchanging information with witnesses is certainly important, avoid discussing the accident details with them beyond getting their names and contact information.
  • Leave the scene: Never leave the scene of an accident, even if it seems minor, without exchanging information with the other driver and filing a police report if necessary.

Remember, the moments after an accident can be stressful. Following these tips can help you stay calm, collect important information, and protect your rights while navigating the situation.

Knowing what to say (and what not to say) after a car accident can make a big difference in the outcome of your claim. If you’ve been in an accident, prioritize your safety, exchange information, and document the scene, but avoid admitting fault or discussing injuries with the other driver. For informed guidance and protection of your rights, contact the Fargo car accident attorneys at Larson Law Firm, PC to navigate the insurance claim process and ensure you receive fair compensation for your damages. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled attorney, call our offices or fill out our contact form. We handle accident cases on a contingency fee basis – meaning we don’t get paid until you get paid. We also maintain additional offices in Bismarck and Minot.