How to Deal with At-Fault Driver's Insurance Company

Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

When you have been injured in a car accident caused by another driver, you will need to file a claim with that driver’s insurance company. When you file, you will almost immediately receive a call from an insurance adjuster who works for the company. The adjuster will want to speak with you to get details of the crash, including how the accident happened and what type and extent are your injuries. Many victims think they are legally required to speak with the insurance company, however, doing so can actually jeopardize your claim.

If you would like to find out the best way to protect your car accident injury case, contact a Virginia car crash lawyer to find out what are the best legal steps to take. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview of how to deal with the other driver’s insurance company.

When the Insurance Company Calls

When a crash occurs, those involved – if they are physically able – move their vehicle off the road, make sure no one has been injured, call 911 to report the accident to police, and request EMT assistance if it is needed. Usually, while waiting for law enforcement to arrive, the drivers involved in the accident will exchange contact and vehicle insurance information.

When police arrive, they will take statements from all the parties involved in the crash, as well as any witnesses to the crash. The officer will take all of the information he or she collects at the scene and will write up an accident report which will also include what the officer has determined caused the crash, including which driver was at fault and if anyone was cited for violating traffic laws.

The information contained in the police reports is often critical to how smoothly any injury claim will be processed. The insurance adjusters handling the claim will also use that police report to determine what – if any – the insurance company’s financial liability will be.

Both drivers will report the crash to their insurance companies, however, only one company will be responsible for damages. In the best-case scenario, the at-fault driver will admit their fault in the accident, and since all evidence confirms this, the victim’s insurance company will likely not have to proceed any further. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will then negotiate a settlement amount for the victim’s losses.

It is often not so simple, however, and there are many cases where neither driver admits fault, and there is no clear evidence that allows even the police officer at the scene to come to a definitive conclusion. In these accidents, both insurance companies will conduct their own investigations as to what caused the crash and which driver is liable for damages.

Both claims adjusters will want to speak with the drivers, but you are only required to speak with your own insurance company’s adjuster. You are not required to speak to the other driver’s adjuster. In fact, you DO NOT want to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. They will do everything they can to manipulate the conversation, ask leading questions, and use other tactics to get you to admit some fault to the crash.

Why You Should Not Speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

Potential for Misleading Statements

Insurance companies are skilled at obtaining recorded statements from accident victims. They may ask leading questions or use tactics to get you to admit partial fault or downplay your injuries. These statements can later be used against you to minimize the insurer’s liability.

Unfamiliarity with Legal and Insurance Terminology

Insurance adjusters are well-versed in legal and insurance jargon. They may use complex terminology or phrasing that could be confusing for accident victims. Without a clear understanding of what you’re agreeing to or admitting, you risk making detrimental statements.

Underestimation of Damages

Insurance adjusters often aim to settle claims quickly and for the lowest possible amount. When victims discuss their case directly, they may not fully comprehend the extent of their injuries or the long-term financial consequences. This can lead to inadequate settlements that do not cover all medical bills, lost wages, or future expenses.

Pressure to Accept Quick Settlements

Insurance companies may pressure accident victims to accept a quick settlement. They may offer a sum of money shortly after the accident, making it seem like a convenient solution. However, this can be a ploy to prevent victims from pursuing the full compensation they deserve.

Incomplete Medical Information

In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s often challenging to assess the full extent of injuries. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms until later. If you discuss your case with the insurance company too soon, you may underestimate the severity of your injuries, resulting in insufficient compensation.

Potential for Unfair Negotiations

Insurance adjusters are skilled negotiators whose primary goal is to minimize payouts. They may attempt to settle for less than what your case is worth. Without legal representation, you may not have the expertise to negotiate effectively on your own behalf.

Legal Complexities

Car accident cases can involve complex legal issues, such as determining liability or understanding local laws and regulations. Without legal counsel, you may not fully grasp your rights and the legal avenues available to you.

Inability to Challenge Denied Claims

If the insurance company denies your claim or offers an inadequate settlement, it can be challenging to challenge their decision without legal assistance. An attorney can advocate on your behalf and help you navigate the appeals process, if necessary.

Preservation of Evidence

Speaking to the at-fault driver’s insurance company too early may inadvertently tip them off in your case. This could lead to the destruction or tampering of evidence that could be crucial in proving liability for the extent of your damages.

Protection of Your Rights

By seeking legal representation before engaging with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you ensure that your rights are protected from the outset. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action, handle communication with the insurer, and work to secure the compensation you deserve.

If you are in this position, you will want to speak with your insurance company and consult with a Virginia car accident attorney. It is best to let them deal with the other driver’s company and not risk getting the financial compensation you are entitled to for the losses your injuries have caused. Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to set up a free case evaluation and find out how we can help you get the financial justice you deserve.