An accident in which you suffer injuries can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. It may be difficult to think clearly at a time when making a mistake can be dangerous or costly.
While you may not be thinking about the insurance company at the moment the ambulance pulls up to the scene, your first interactions with an insurance adjuster can mean the difference in whether you obtain the payout you need to cover your medical expenses for your injuries.
Watch what you say and do
As soon as possible after an accident, you should contact the insurance company to start the claims process. Ideally, you were able to gather information from the other driver, including details about his or her insurance coverage. When the insurance adjuster makes contact with you, you will want to be careful regarding the following:
- Your answers: Keep your responses short and truthful, and address only the specific questions the insurer asks. Do not offer any information the insurer does not request or elaborate on your answers.
- Your statement: Despite what the insurer may say, the law does not require you to submit anything in writing or to allow the insurer to record your interview. Doing so may provide the insurer with information you cannot dispute.
- Your injuries: Even saying that you feel fine or that your injuries could have been worse could result in a lower payout or denied claim altogether. It is wise not to discuss your injuries with the insurer or to answer questions about your diagnosis.
- The conversation: The insurer may try to engage you in a friendly conversation in hopes of getting you to say more than you should. Try to remain focused on the facts and avoid small talk or topics that stray from the events of the accident.
- A settlement: The insurer may present you with a check quite early in the process, and it is wise not to accept it. Accepting the settlement will bar you from seeking additional funds if your doctor’s diagnosis is more serious than you expected.
If you feel that any of these factors may be challenging for you to deal with on your own, you are not alone. Too often, accident victims, who have little experience dealing with the tactics of insurance companies, make innocent comments that jeopardize their claims. Since you may be counting on an insurance payout to help you get your life back on track, you may wish to contact an attorney. A skilled West Virginia attorney will deal with the insurers and work to obtain a fair settlement for you.