After an auto accident, conversations with auto insurers should be strategically planned otherwise individuals face the possibility of claim rejection. While police should receive immediate notification, contact with insurers can wait until medical care is administered and legal needs are addressed with a personal injury attorney.
Stick to the Basics
When an automobile accident occurs in Reno, drivers are only legally obligated to divulge their contact information, driver’s license, and vehicle insurance information to the other motorist. Everything else should only be discussed with law enforcement.
There are many reasons to stick to the basics following an automobile accident. First and foremost is that most people are emotionally shaken following an injury-causing motor vehicle accident. Heightened emotions including fear and anxiety can distort the view of events and pertinent factual information. Thus, it is best to wait until everything has calmed down and the accident can be examined with a clear and level head. This can have a significant impact on the final automobile accident settlement.
Things to Avoid Saying
Individuals should never say “I’m sorry” or otherwise apologize following an accident. This can be construed as an admission of guilt and responsibility for causing the accident. There are many factors that can cause an accident. For instance, the other driver could run through a red light, drive without headlights, drive too fast for conditions, etc. Let the police determine the factors that caused the accident before discussing these with an insurer.
Similarly, it is important to get the contact information of witnesses. However, it is never advisable to directly discuss what they saw. Those questions should be asked by law enforcement and through the individual’s personal injury lawyer.
Talking with an Insurer
The initial contact with an insurance provider should only cover the fact that an accident occurred, the name/contact information of the other party and their insurer, the date/time of the accident, and the contact information for the responding law enforcement officials.
Individuals should never give an official statement to an insurer before speaking with a personal injury attorney. Drivers should avoid statements including “I think,” “I”m sorry,” and “I’m liable.”
When an insurer asks a question that the driver doesn’t know, it is acceptable to say “I don’t know.” Further, drivers should not estimate, guess, or assume anything. Unless there is a definitive answer to provide, drivers should avoid boxing themselves in with guesses and guesstimates.