After a wreck, there are some basic things that need to be done. The police need to be contacted from the scene, medical care should be sought, and you need to advise your insurance company. Those things seem obvious and are under your control, to a point. Something else often confronted is a call from the adjuster of the other driver’s insurance company. Do you have to talk to them or return their call? The answer is “No,”
You have a responsibility to notify and cooperate with your insurance company. That responsibility does not extend to the other driver’s insurance company. Our Virginia accident attorneys typically decline requests for statements from our clients to the other driver’s insurance company. There are several reasons to decline to give such a statement.
The other driver’s insurance company is going to try to develop evidence they can use to defend any claim you are going to make against their insured client. If you agree to speak with the adjuster, they will take all the responses you provided to their questions and compare those answers to any other statements you have made, such as to any law enforcement officers who were at the scene of the crash.
If you file a lawsuit at a later date, the statement may be used by the insurance company’s lawyer to impeach you if your responses at deposition or trial (usually several months or even years later) vary from the answers you provide the insurance adjuster.
The questions may be worded in such a way as to elicit vague responses that can be interpreted in such a way that can be used against you in the future. For example, the adjuster may lead the conversation by commenting how quickly the crash may have happened how upset you may have been right after the crash, making it difficult to remember details of the accident. If you agree that you were shaken up at the crash site, the insurance company could later use this “admission” to call your memory of the crash into question.
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If you do give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company, and you do not retain an attorney, remember you are entitled to a copy of your statement under Virginia law (8.01-47). Exercise that right and get a copy of your statement from the adjuster.
Let a Virginia Car Accident Attorney Handle Your Case
The goal of the insurance adjuster is to gather enough evidence to either deny your claim or avoid paying you the actual amount of damages you have suffered. If you have sustained injuries in a car accident caused by another party, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal options you may have. At Shapiro & Appleton, we are dedicated to helping injured clients obtain the compensation they deserve for their medical bills, lost income, and other losses their injuries have caused. Call 757-384-9052 for a free case evaluation.