When you get in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call your insurance company to file a claim. Filing a claim is the only way to get compensation to cover repairs for damages to your vehicle and treatment costs for any injuries. However, please remember that insurers are a business, and the primary goal of any business is to make a profit. So if the chance presents itself to issue a reduced payment or no payout for a car accident, insurance companies are likely to take it. Protect your car accident claim. Remember what NOT to say to your insurance company after a car accident.
What NOT to Say to Your Insurer After a Car Accident:
Certain phrases are red flags to insurance companies. Even if you are being one hundred percent honest, you could misspeak or provide unnecessary info that could be enough for the insurance company to oppose your claim. When you reach out to your auto insurance company after an accident, remember not to say:
"It's my fault."
“I guess….” or “I think….”
Specific Names of Other Individuals
"I don't have an attorney."
"I have whiplash" or "I'm fine."
What Makes These Phrases Red Flags for Auto Insurers?
Immediately claiming fault for an accident or apologizing (which indicates fault) comes naturally to many people. It can be a knee-jerk reaction - almost the polite thing to say. However, saying it's your fault or apologizing (to the other driver, the reporting police officer, or your insurance company) can be used to decrease the value of your claim at a later time. Avoiding these phrases following an accident is a good rule of thumb. Instead, opt for, "Are you okay?" "I hope everyone is okay," and "I hate the thought of anyone being hurt today." Make it your goal to stick strictly to the facts. That means there should be no "I think," "I guess," or "in my opinion." If the insurance company asks a question to which you don't know the answer, don't guess or offer an opinion. Only provide an answer if you have a factual answer.
Stick to the Facts & Avoid Red Flags:
Similarly, stick to the necessary facts - this isn't your neighbor, little brother, or best friend; don't provide the insurance company with any unnecessary details or observations. You'll be surprised what can be twisted around or taken out of context to damage your case—for example, names.
When reporting your claim, the only name you should be offering up is your own. Don't provide your insurance company with names or contact info for family members, friends, or your doctor. Insurance representatives may contact them or even search their social media profiles to obtain information to damage your claim.
The Initial Phone Call is Just the First Contact:
The initial phone call is just the first step in the process. You don't need to worry about "leaving the door open" for additional damages or injuries that you aren't yet fully aware of, so don't mistake an instantaneous "I have whiplash" for a good idea. It's a common phrase used by people filing dishonest or exaggerated claims. So, while whiplash is a real medical issue, it has become a major red flag for insurance companies that encourages them to look closely into a car accident claim. It's equally important not to declare that you are "fine" to your insurance company. Don't offer a diagnosis for your post-car accident condition until a doctor gives you a diagnosis. It's also never a good idea to lead your claim report off with a declaration that you don't have an attorney. If the insurance company knows right off the bat that you don't have an attorney, it could lead them to offer you a low settlement when the time comes or to take advantage of you during the claims process. Also, note that you should not agree to either make a recorded statement or accept an offer on your initial phone call to report a claim to your insurance company.
If you are injured in an accident and need to file a California car accident claim, you want Moss Bollinger, Sherman Oaks, California personal injury attorney, on your side. He's dedicated to protecting and asserting the rights of his clients. Call 866-942-7974 today for a free consultation, or contact us online.