Know Your Rights: How to Communicate with Your Insurance Company After an Accident
When you are involved in an automobile accident, it can be confusing to navigate the steps needed to protect your legal rights. You paid for car insurance, so you naturally assume that the insurance should cover the major damage. However, the reality is that many accident investigations are held up by the fine print. Sometimes good claims are even denied by the insurance company. To maintain good communication with your insurance carrier after an accident, you should know how to assert your rights in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation.
Notify Insurance Right Away
In the aftermath of an accident, drivers don't always notify their insurance carriers immediately. But it is important to put the insurance company on notice of the accident as soon as possible. If you were not at fault, then you will need to contact the insurance company of the other driver.
Report the Facts
Although it's important for insurers to get the facts, generally you should avoid giving extreme detail about the accident. Be honest, but do not offer details that the insurance company isn't asking for. When you add in details that may be insignificant, the insurance investigator may seize on them and deny the claim.
Most people have difficulty remembering a blow-by-blow account of an accident, so resist the temptation to fill in details that aren't really there because you think the details will make you look good. Also avoid actively misrepresenting the facts, because if the insurer finds out, they will not only deny your claim, they will also raise your rates.
Don't Take the Blame
The insurance carrier is responsible for conducting an impartial investigation of an accident. Do not admit that you were at fault, even if you think you were to blame. In many cases, there are actually mitigating factors that limit or eliminate the blame. Your take on the facts is just one part of a larger picture, and most accidents involve fault on the part of both parties. Don't make things more difficult by taking legal blame. Instead, wait for the results of the investigation.
Ask for Reasons a Claim is Denied
If your insurance claim is denied, the insurer is required to give you a reasonable explanation for why the claim is denied. Do not sign any documents from any insurer or the other party without contacting an attorney to ensure you have not waived your rights or forfeited damages you are owed.
Do Not Give a Recorded Statement to the Other Party
You are required to cooperate with your insurance company's insurance adjuster. If they ask you for a recorded statement, you should give one, or else risk voiding your coverage. If you are found at fault, your insurance company will negotiate to pay the damages of the other party, subject to your insurance policy's limitations.
But if you are not at fault for the accident, the other side's insurance carrier will often request a recorded statement. You do not need to give a recorded statement to the other party. Anything you say on a recording may be used against you to deny liability at a later date. In some circumstances, you will need to give your version of events to the other side's adjuster in order to be compensated. If so, you should give a written statement, but avoid giving a recorded statement.
Getting fair compensation from an insurance company can be a complicated process which requires you to work closely with an insurance adjuster. But you do not need to forfeit your rights. An Oklahoma personal injury attorney can help you fight for the compensation you paid for, or negotiate a settlement with the other party's insurance company. Contact our law firm today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) and we will immediately have one of our Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyers sit down for a free consultation. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library.