Why You Don't Want To Talk To The Insurance Company - Sara Williams ESQ

Why You Don’t Want To Talk To The Insurance Company

February 24, 2021

Seems odd, right? Shouldn’t you be eager to get in touch with the at-fault party’s insurance company after an accident to claim your compensation? Well, yes you should but only on your own terms. If the insurer is calling you again and again, even though they have to pay you (who is ever so eager to pay up?), then there is something fishy going on.

The biggest mistake in any personal injury case, be it an automobile accident, or medical malpractice, or liability for a defective product (that caused you harm), is to proceed with legal matters without proper counsel.

Many people ask: “when should I contact the at-fault person’s insurance company?”

My answer is always: “Ideally, never. Have your lawyer get in touch with the insurer on your behalf.”

If you set up a meeting with the insurance rep without knowing the complete details of your case or without knowing legal rights will harm you greatly. Insurance adjusters find excuses to pay you minimum compensation for your losses. In this article, I will show you when it is appropriate to talk to the insurance company and when and why you should avoid doing so.

Let’s explore the matter further.

Why Is The Insurance Company So Eager To Talk?

So, why won’t the insurance company stop calling you? You’ll find the voice on the other end of the line to be quite friendly and comforting. The insurance company rep will try to lull you into a false sense of security – hate to break it to you, but phrases like “you can trust us” or “we are genuinely concerned for you” is never true.

Insurance companies are business setups like others, they’re looking to maximize their profits, that’s it.

It’s business, nothing personal.

Be very careful about what you say and remember, you are not legally bound to say anything. Thus, a simple “I’m not feeling well at the moment, will get back to you later,” will be appropriate – don’t say anything before you know what to say.

Don’t worry, it’s all for good reasons.

The insurance company rep will try to get you to say things that might be used to put some fault on you. If they succeed in doing so, they’ll have to pay you less than they would otherwise. Even in states requiring personal injury protection coverage, you can expect such foul play from insurance providers.

Thus, you should always put off talking to the rep before you recover and discuss matters with your lawyer first. Everything you say on record can be used against you when the time comes, so avoid saying stuff that will undermine your narrative.

Even innocent gestures like offering an apology for any inconvenience (they had to call you, and you might feel that this was inconvenient for them) or agreeing to something (just to be nice) can get you in great trouble.

It is best to let your lawyer reach out to the insurance company and discuss matters more professionally.

How To Handle Insurance Companies On Your Own?

Every legal expert recommends that you never handle the insurance company on your own. Ideally, you should ask them to contact your lawyer if they don’t stop bugging you. Let’s assume that you decided to take charge yourself or if you didn’t get the chance to meet a lawyer yet, how should you discuss matters with the insurance rep? You’ll have to be on your best behavior and at the same time, very cautious about what you say.

Here’s a rundown of things to keep in mind when handling the insurance company on your own:

1.      Demand The Caller’s Information

You shouldn’t be surprised if you get a phone call from the insurance company only a couple of hours after an accident. This is not out of compassion, the insurance company must get you to settle for a mediocre sum as soon as possible, and they know that this won’t be possible if you get in touch with competent lawyers.

For at-fault states, the insurance company of the liable party will get in touch with you, for instance, if you were involved in a car crash then you can expect a call from the other driver’s insurer, if you slipped and fell in a supermarket, then the store’s insurer will call you. However, in no-fault states, your own insurer might give you a ring upon learning of your situation.

In either case, you must be extremely cautious.

Yes, even with your own insurer. Remember that this is a business, and the company only wants to minimize the payout.

The first thing you ought to confirm here is the identity of the caller, you should ask for the following information:

·         Their name

·         Contact number

·         The company they represent

·         Address of the said company

·         The person/party they represent concerning your case

Write down all of this information and keep it at hand because you might need it later on, for the time being, you’ll have to speak in a calculated manner and avoid saying anything that might compromise your narrative.

2.      Be On Your Best Behavior

Okay, before we go any further with this, don’t take anything personally. The insurance rep is probably a very nice guy doing the job they have to do. Thus, the least you can do is to be very polite, calm, and on your best behavior. Remember that you are not obliged to speak to anyone unless you want to – which may be unlikely for most.

If the caller is from your insurance company, you may have to give some information about the incident such as the time, location, and type of accident, only generic stuff. Avoid going into details even if the caller presses you to remember more, i.e. how it happened, who was involved, and so on – avoid the details for now.

If you don’t feel like discussing matters at the moment, you can simply say so (just be nice). However, being nice does not mean that you should allow the caller to bully you into talking to the insurance adjuster. You can be clear about this matter: you’ll talk when you feel like it, not a minute earlier.

Avoid talking when you’re in pain or under the effect of medication – you might say something that will later come back to haunt you during the settlement negotiations. You can tell the caller that you will get back to them as soon as you feel better and have had a chance to talk to a lawyer.

3.      Don’t Give A Statement Before You Know All The Facts

You don’t have to give a statement, period.

The insurance adjuster cannot force you to say anything that you don’t wish to. Sharing generic details is okay, and it is also needed for proceeding with the protocol. You can tell the insurance rep about when and how the accident/incident happen, who was involved, the type of incident, or if there were any witnesses, and so on.

Just avoid giving a statement or sharing any details without knowing the full picture. Moreover, you should not talk about your injuries or the details of your losses because it would be too premature to say anything at the moment.

Talk to a personal injury attorney first and then you can draft a demand letter for monetary compensation with all the details mentioned true to your knowledge. Before that, avoid giving any statement or saying anything that could even remotely be used to undermine your position in the case.

Avoid apologizing because that can be construed as an admission of blame, even if you did not mean it that way.

Your lawyer will better prepare you for a dialogue with the insurance adjuster if it is unavoidable.

4.      Keep Tabs On Everything

To solidify your personal injury claim, you will need a record of everything. Ideally, you should start recording evidence right from the moment when an accident happens and keep track of everything from thereon. Your records will help you better explain the economic and non-economic losses you sustained because of the said incident.

For instance, you can journal the state of your injuries, how you felt during and after the treatment, and how these injuries affected your life, even if the effects were temporary. Keep track of your expenses, all of them, including the medical bills, loss of income, extra expenses, property damages, and so on.

The long-term impact of these losses is another concern but your lawyer will take care of those calculations.

You should supplement all of these records with digital evidence such as pictures and videos.

Things To Avoid When Talking With An Insurance Rep

Remember that stuff about insurers getting you to say stuff that you shouldn’t? Well, here they are.

Avoid taking your conversation to these areas:

1.      Don’t Provide Details of the Accident

You can expect the insurance representative to dig into the details of the event.

Be prepared to dodge this question, don’t fall into this pit trap. You have the right to remain silent about matters that you wish to consult about before giving a statement. Make any mistake here, and you will lose a fraction of your compensation.

2.      Don’t Discuss Your Injuries

There are two problems here. Firstly, descriptions of medical conditions and injuries are not as straightforward as one might think. Secondly, you won’t know the full extent of your sufferings until after all the medical reports have been laid in front of you.

Sometimes, details and complications may uncover even after that.

So, avoid discussing these details because any gaps left in your description can be used to downplay your sufferings and cut the compensation sum.

Instead, you should mention these details on your demand letter.

3.      Don’t Dive Into Lengthy Conversations

Keep it short. The more you speak, the more you risk spilling out words that may be used to undermine your position. So be very calculative about your talk with the insurance company. Once you’ve shared the basic information, end the call there and then.

4.      Never Admit Fault Before Discussing Matters With Your Lawyer

Even if you were partly at fault in an accident, never accept your blame before the insurance company reps. Instead, discuss matters with your lawyers, explore your legal rights and options, and have them represent you before the insurers.

The insurance adjuster may swell up your share in the fault, even if it was minor in reality, just to pay you less than what you deserve.

5.      Don’t Take Their Offer Right Away

Never accept the first offer, the company can do better, much better, so hold off until you’re certain that you’re getting a fair settlement.

Remember that the settlement should cover all of your economic and non-economic losses, both short-term and long-term (in case of a permanent injury/disability).

Your lawyers will see to it that you do secure a fair payment.

Bottom Line: Get In Touch With A Lawyer Before Facing The Insurance Company

The insurance company rep will try to get you to talk as soon as possible after an accident. Avoid saying anything that might compromise your case, you can even refuse to talk at all – just be polite and say that you’re not feeling well enough to talk.

Ideally, you should never face the insurance company on your own, instead have your lawyer represent you at all stages of the settlement. This way, not only will you get maximum compensation for your losses but will also be in a much better position during your case, thus minimizing the hassle.

Even if you do share part of the blame, you should not say a word before seeking proper legal counsel.

If you’ve been struck by tragedy, don’t worry about dealing with the insurance company, call us today, and we’ll handle everything for you!

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