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Should I Give a Statement to the Insurance Adjuster After an Accident?

Posted on: March 9, 2021 by Tony Edwards

Insurance adjuster checking on damaged cars.

Filing an insurance claim following a serious auto accident isn’t always black and white. It can be a stressful process made even more intimidating by insurance adjusters peppering you with questions and demanding quick answers.

Before an insurance adjuster tries to engage you in polite chit-chat or weigh you down with rapid-fire questions, it can be helpful to know what to expect so that you don’t accidentally say something that could damage your claim.

You can also contact an experienced car accident attorney at Edwards & Patterson Law to handle the insurance claims process for you. We’ll protect your claim from the start and fight for the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

Recorded or Written: Which Is Best?

Ideally, you will speak to a lawyer before contacting your insurance company. But adjusters come calling quickly — even when you’re still in the hospital. There are also deadlines to consider. Most insurers have time limits on how soon they must be notified of a crash. You’ll need to inspect your policy carefully to be sure you provide a brief and basic report of the accident within that time frame.

If you have talked to an insurance company already, you may have been asked to give a recorded statement. In the case of car accident insurance claims, this is rarely for your safety or benefit. In fact, a recorded statement could be held against you later.

An accident that results in serious injuries is a traumatic event. Victims may talk about the wreck or their injuries in imperfect terms. Many individuals mistakenly recount the emotional details and how they felt about the impact of the accident instead of giving the plain facts.

Reliving a serious accident may also have a triggering effect, leading a victim to forget to mention important details about the incident. Be aware that what you say and what you leave out — even unintentionally — may be used against you by the insurance company if you consent to give a recorded statement without legal advice.

A written statement can be a better option for victims because it gives them time to gather their thoughts and objectively write down the facts surrounding the accident. A written statement can be plotted out, revised, and reviewed to ensure that it accurately reflects the circumstances of the crash and the resulting consequences.

Written statements are also more likely to omit opinions. Simply put, it’s typically better to turn in a written response instead of a recorded statement, and under the guidance of an experienced car accident lawyer.

How Should I Handle Requests From the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

The other driver’s insurance company may reach out to you in the days following the accident for information. First, you are under no obligation to talk about the details of the accident at this time. Get the adjuster’s name, name of the company, and direct telephone number before hanging up.

Be polite, but also be firm in setting boundaries. While you may need to provide basic information, including your name, address, and place of employment, don’t reveal personal details about your medical history or pre-existing conditions.

Also, set limitations on future calls. Some adjusters will resort to tactics that include frequent and annoying calls in an attempt to get you to settle quickly and for less than what you really deserve. It’s OK to say you will not be able to respond to numerous and persistent calls.

If you’re represented by an attorney, simply refer the insurance adjuster to them. A seasoned lawyer can handle all of the communication on your behalf and protect your rights.

Do I Have to Give a Statement to My Own Insurance Company?

In addition to fielding calls from another driver’s insurance company, you will eventually need to provide information to your own insurer. Many policies include a clause requiring you to cooperate in any investigations of an accident, but this can vary from company to company.

In the event that your policy requires your cooperation, refusing to give a statement can result in a loss of coverage. Your attorney can help you review your policy to prevent you from running into this situation.

Do I Need the Help of a Car Accident Attorney?

There are certain cases in which a car accident attorney may be unnecessary. If the crash resulted in little property damage and no injuries, you’ll likely be able to negotiate a settlement on your own. However, there are times when you should always contact a lawyer. These include if:

  • Someone was seriously injured or killed.
  • Fault is being disputed.
  • The insurance company is denying or trying to dismiss your claim.
  • You’ve been hit by an uninsured driver.
  • You’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident.
  • You’ve been hit by a commercial vehicle, such as a truck or bus.

The best time to call a lawyer is as soon as possible after the accident. That’s when you’re likely to collect the best evidence and get accounts from witnesses while their memories are fresh.

In Oklahoma, you have two years from the date of the crash to file a claim. It’s important to file within this time frame or you risk having the claim dismissed altogether. There are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, some injuries don’t show up right away. In those cases, the clock would start ticking on the date you discovered or should have discovered the injury.

Similar exceptions exist if the victim was a minor or mentally incompetent at the time of the car accident. Because of these variations, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer so you understand your legal options.

You’ll also benefit from having an attorney on your side when it comes to settlement negotiations. You’ll have a powerful and resourceful advocate gathering evidence and information to strengthen your claim. You’ll also have someone with the leverage to negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Insurance companies know that lawyers mean business, so you’re more likely to get better results with an attorney working for you.

Talk to an Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyer Now

Edwards & Patterson Law is committed to helping injured people get their lives back after a car accident. Get your questions answered today. Call or contact us now.

Tony Edwards

Tony Edwards is a McAlester native who has practiced civil litigation in Oklahoma for nearly four decades. Tony earned his undergraduate degree from East Central University and his law degree from the Oklahoma University College of Law. Today, he focuses his practice exclusively on the representation of accident and injury victims, including mass tort cases involving defective products. He holds an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, indicating the highest level in legal ability and ethical standards. In addition to his law practice, Tony serves as an elder in Lakewood Christian Church and is active in Shared Blessings, an organization which his wife, DeVonna, launched in 1998 to provide clothes for people in need.

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