You should not tell your insurance company that you caused the accident. You should also avoid telling the insurer you are not injured, as you cannot be certain about injuries until you receive a thorough medical examination. In fact, you should provide as little information as possible to your insurer until you have hired a car accident attorney to advise you.

An attorney will deal with insurance companies for you. Your lawyer will protect you from making potentially harmful statements, and they will demand that the insurance company compensate you fairly for accident-related losses.


What to Avoid Telling Insurance Companies After an Auto Accident

Whether you are dealing with your own insurer or a third party’s insurance company, you should avoid:

Implying That You Contributed to the Collision

It can be a common instinct to:

  • Apologize for being a part of an accident
  • Assume that you are responsible for the collision
  • Take ownership of any actions that may have contributed to the auto accident

You must suppress any such instinct when speaking with insurance companies. You cannot truly know who is at fault for the accident until a professional completes a thorough investigation.

You may expose yourself to financial harm if you admit or even insinuate that you were at fault for the accident. An insurance company can use such statements against you when determining how much compensation you deserve (or don’t deserve).

Saying That You Do Not Have Injuries or Injury Symptoms

Talking with Insurer After Car Accident

You may feel that you are fine after an accident, or you may be the type to “tough it out” despite experiencing injuries or abnormal health symptoms. However, you may sacrifice much-needed compensation if you tell an insurance company you are injury-free.

You should speak with an attorney and undergo a complete medical evaluation before making any statements about your health to an insurance company. If you tell an insurance company you were not injured but later discover injuries, then:

  • The insurance company may claim that you are fabricating injuries
  • The insurance company may refuse to pay for necessary medical care
  • The claims process can become more difficult than it otherwise should be

It is best to refuse to answer questions about your health, explaining that you need to see a doctor before determining what injuries you may have suffered.

Stating That You Were Using Your Phone in Any Way

Even if someone else was clearly at fault for your accident, refrain from admitting to any behaviors that insurance companies might consider negligent. This includes using your phone in any way (including talking, texting, or selecting music or other media as you drive.

Again, if you say anything to an insurance company, the insurer may hold your words against you. Therefore, it is better to say little or nothing rather than say something that can come back to haunt you.

With specific regard to your accident-related damages, it is wise to:

  • Say that you are not sure yet what the cost of repairing your vehicle will be
  • Tell the insurer that your medical care is ongoing, so you do not know what the cost of treatment will be
  • Generally, refrain from giving specifics about accident-related damages.

Ambiguity is your friend when dealing with insurers. Your attorney will later approach insurers with precise settlement demands, so now is not the time for definitive statements.

The cost of an auto accident can be far more than a victim first expects (and perhaps even six- or seven-figures in damages). Allow an experienced auto accident lawyer to discuss damages and financials with insurers.

Agreeing to Accept Any Financial Settlement

Perhaps the most egregious error an accident victim can make is accepting a lowball settlement from an insurer. Accepting a financial offer before you’ve hired an attorney is a risky decision because:

  • You may not know the extent of vehicle damage immediately after your accident (though an insurer may and may use this knowledge to lowball you)
  • You may be unaware of just how serious your injuries are and what kinds of medical treatment you will require
  • It may be immensely difficult for you to calculate non-economic damages (including pain and suffering) without an attorney’s help
  • You can be nearly certain that an insurance company’s earliest settlement offers will not be fair

Many injuries resulting from auto accidents, including but not limited to whiplash, take time to manifest symptoms. You should not consider accepting an insurer’s settlement offer until you understand your injuries and accident-related damages.

What Is the Risk of Saying the Wrong Thing(s) to Insurers?

You must recognize that insurers do not always have your best interests in mind. Insurance companies are beholden to their stockholders, stakeholders, and bottom lines. Therefore, you should treat insurers warily and be cautious when dealing with them.

If you admit fault or make other mistakes when speaking with insurance representatives, you may:

  • Have your words used against you: Companies often record conversations with insurance representatives and claimants. Everything you say may be misinterpreted and used against you, including any admissions of wrongdoing.
  • Lose critical negotiating leverage: If you say anything that harms your claim, you may lose important leverage during settlement negotiations. Though a lawyer can overcome misstatements, it is best not to make harmful statements in the first place.
  • Ultimately, suffer financially because of a lack of caution: Making verbal errors when speaking with insurers can directly affect the outcome of your claim or lawsuit. Again, consider hiring an auto accident lawyer to avoid making any self-harming statements.

Accident victims are often shaken up from the collision. Even if you intend to speak cautiously, it is easy to say the wrong thing in the wake of a traumatic accident. Therefore, the cautious move is to have an attorney deal with insurers on your behalf.

How to Protect Yourself During the Claims Process

Hiring a traffic accident lawyer is arguably the most effective way to protect yourself from any bad-faith tactics by insurers. A lawyer may take several measures to protect you, including:

  • Handling communications with insurers: Whenever you speak with an insurance representative, the outcome of your claim is in jeopardy. Therefore, your lawyer will deal with insurers directly and craft any written statements in your own words.
  • Conducting an independent investigation of the accident: Rather than rely on the insurer’s rendition of your accident, your attorney will complete an independent, detailed investigation of their own. This way, your attorney can bring unbiased facts and evidence to settlement negotiations.
  • Researching all insurance policies related to your accident: Attorneys must understand the details of insurance policies to understand what compensation you are entitled to. Insurers cannot misrepresent any policy details because your attorney will know those policies inside and out.
  • Negotiating on your behalf: Your lawyer will also represent you in settlement negotiations. They will demand a fair settlement and review every settlement offer with you. This will ensure you don’t accept any offer without careful consideration first.

You typically have one opportunity to obtain fair compensation for an accident, so you must make the most of your financial recovery. An attorney can help you with this.

How an Auto Accident Attorney Will Protect and Serve You

Your lawyer will build your case and secure your settlement or judgment. The steps in an auto accident case generally include:

Gathering Evidence Without Delay

Securing evidence is one reason to hire your attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will look for the following:

  • Eyewitness testimony detailing the accident
  • Video footage of the accident
  • The police report from the responding law enforcement agency
  • Any other evidence that suggests fault or merely details the accident

The strength of evidence your lawyer collects can directly affect whether your case settles for a fair amount (as most cases do). Even if you did not call a lawyer immediately after your accident, they can secure important evidence contributing to your case’s success.

Providing Information to the Insurance Companies

Your lawyer will be in touch with insurers. If the insurance company needs information about your losses, your lawyer will provide it to avoid unnecessary delays.

Attorneys must prove the harm their clients suffer because of auto accidents. Your attorney will:

  • Obtain and organize medical records related to your injuries
  • Pull employment records, income statements, and other documentation detailing your professional damages
  • Hire experts to detail pain and suffering, injuries, and other losses
  • Obtain any other documentation that helps prove your accident-related damages

Your attorney will provide as much detail as possible about the nature and severity of your accident-related damages.

Initiating Settlement Negotiations

At some point, your lawyer and liable insurers will negotiate in person or virtually. Your lawyer will have a clear settlement target to hit, and they will argue passionately in your favor.

Filing a Lawsuit and Going to Trial When Necessary

If your case reaches the point where a trial is a possibility, your attorney will:

  • Explain the best settlement offer you have received
  • Explain whether they believe that the offer is fair
  • Explain the pros and cons of going to trial
  • Advise you about whether they would accept the settlement or continue fighting at trial
  • Make a decision in collaboration with you

The trial is more time-consuming and costly than settling, but it can be appropriate in some auto accident cases.

Damages to Seek Compensation for After an Accident

Seeking Compensation After Car Accident

Damages vary (sometimes significantly) from one accident to the next. Your lawyer will work with you, your doctor, and mental health professionals to evaluate:

  • All accident-related medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning power
  • Other professional damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental health treatment costs
  • Vehicle repair costs
  • The cost of replacing a totaled vehicle and any damaged personal property

If you’ve suffered a disabling injury, the cost of your treatment may be devastating. The potentially high cost of your accident makes it imperative that you have an experienced, capable auto accident lawyer fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Recoverable Damages in Cases Involving Fatal Accidents

Some auto accidents are fatal, and loved ones affected by a fatal accident can seek compensation through a lawsuit. Recoverable damages in such cases can include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Burial or cremation costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Grief counseling and other types of treatment for pain and suffering
  • Loss of the decedent’s income
  • Loss of the decedent’s contributions to their household

These cases can also include vehicle repair costs and medical bills, which may fall on the decedent’s loved ones.

How Do I Choose a Car Accident Attorney?

You can consider a wide range of data when evaluating possible attorneys, including:

  • The law firm’s practice areas (the firm should advertise your case type on its website)
  • The law firm’s case results
  • The law firm’s reviews from former clients
  • How does the law firm relate to you during a free consultation

Free consultations are a valuable resource, as most law firms offer them. You can use this no-obligation call to ask questions about the firm and experience how the firm relates to prospective clients.

What Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Attorney?

Most auto accident lawyers work for contingency fees. These fees place the financial burden on the firm rather than the client. You will:

  • Pay no upfront fee to the firm
  • Allow the firm to cover all case-related expenses
  • Agree to pay the law firm a percentage of any settlement or judgment it obtains for you

No matter the outcome of your case, the law firm will not receive or require any out-of-pocket compensation from you.

Don’t Wait to Find and Hire an Attorney to Fight for Your Financial Recovery

Steven A. Bagen, Attorney for Car Accident
Steven A. Bagen, Car Accident Lawyer

Your case is time-sensitive, as your lawyer faces a deadline for filing a lawsuit, should that become necessary in your case. Research prospective attorneys and hire your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Doing so allows them to gather fresh evidence to build the strongest case for full compensation and begin supporting you right away. A consultation is free and invaluable in this stressful time.