Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Virginia include speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving. In 2019, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles found that car accidents in Virginia resulted in 827 fatalities and that, on average, 180 people were injured per day.
If you’ve been involved in a collision, you will likely have to deal with your own insurance and the other driver’s insurance company representatives. While these companies advertise that they are “on your side,” accident victims will often find that insurance adjusters will aggressively protect the company’s bottom line, even if you were not the one at fault.
To protect yourself in the wake of an accident, it is crucial to know what to say and, more importantly, what not to say to the insurance company representatives. Keep reading to learn about what you can do to protect yourself.
Three Things You Should Never Say to the Insurance Company After an Accident
Here are three things you should avoid saying to an insurance company representative after a crash.
Don’t insinuate that you are at fault. Remember that everything you say is on the record, so avoid apologizing or using any phrase that implicates you, even if you think you were partially at fault for the accident. Under Virginia state law, there may be multiple parties who are “at fault” for a collision. If you unintentionally admit fault, an adjuster may use that to lower your payout or deny it altogether.
Never speculate when speaking to an insurance adjuster. Don’t offer an opinion of what happened or introduce evidence such as eyewitnesses. Just stick to the facts of your crash. If you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, say that. Don’t guess. It’s perfectly acceptable to say you don’t have an answer.
“I wasn’t injured.”
Even if you feel fine after an accident, don’t say so. While some injuries appear immediately—like fractured or broken bones—some injuries become evident later. This could include injuries like internal bleeding and delayed whiplash. Never sign your rights away before a doctor has cleared you of injury.
Other Things to Remember If You’ve Been Involved in a Collision
Don’t wait to report the crash. Under most policies, you must disclose any accident, and delays can cause problems. Some things to prepare for your insurance company and attorney include:
- Seek medical care. This is the most important first step after an accident. Once you’ve received proper medical care, follow through on the doctor’s recommendations and keep anything they give you.
- Exchange information. If someone else caused your crash, you’ll want to make a claim against their insurance company. That’s easier to do if you have the license plate number, contact details, and insurance information available.
- Collect evidence. This includes things like video and photo evidence of the scene, as well as documentation of your injuries and property damage.
- Review your options with an attorney. Insurance claims are complicated, but an experienced Virginia car crash lawyer will know what to do.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Seeking compensation after an accident can be challenging, because the other party might deny that they were responsible for the accident, or the insurer might look to minimize the amount they offer you. That’s why it’s a good idea to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you as soon as possible. In many instances, it would be wise to hire a lawyer before giving an insurance company an official statement.
At The Law Office of Steven D. Barnette, P.C., our Tidewater and Middle Peninsula car accident lawyers fight for the rights of those who’ve been hurt in our community. Our consultations are always 100% free and confidential, and we won’t charge you a single cent until we recover fair compensation for you. Don’t wait, call us now.