Should I talk to the other driver’s insurance company?
When you get into a Texas car accident, you’ll be dealing with two insurance adjusters. One from you own insurance company, and one from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Insurance adjusters are not your friends. Their entire job is finding reasons to deny or reduce your claim. They make their profits by paying you as little as possible. It’s important to know exactly how to deal with them.
Do Not Talk to the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Adjuster
One dirty trick some of these insurance companies like to play is to say you can’t recover any damages unless you speak to an insurance adjuster first. Sometimes, they’ll even demand a recorded statement.
You do not have to speak to them, and you shouldn’t.
It’s not enough to say, “Oh, I’ll just watch what I say.” Adjusters are trained to ask leading questions which undermine your claim. They might talk you around until it looks like the accident is your fault, and then your claim becomes much more complicated, if not impossible, to pursue.
Select a personal injury lawyer for your car accident claim. Allow your attorney to deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It is the one way to be absolutely sure you won’t weaken or destroy your own claim.
Should you speak with your own insurance adjuster?
You will probably need to recover at least a little bit of money from your own insurance company. This may be in the form of initial medical payments, or in the form of PIP coverage that you can recover regardless of fault. In the event the other driver doesn’t have insurance, they may be paying out of your uninsured/underinsured motorist’s policy, too.
If the adjuster calls you first, take down that person’s name, address, phone number, company name, and email address. This accomplishes three things.
- It ensures you’re dealing with your own insurance company.
- It ensures you have everything you need to contact that specific person.
- You can turn all this information over to your personal injury attorney as well, and let your attorney deal with it.
In general, it’s best to let your attorney handle this adjuster too. Your own insurance company doesn’t really want to pay out any money either. They’ll be just as underhanded as the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If you haven’t chosen an attorney yet and feel you absolutely must speak to the adjuster, try to avoid volunteering information. Stick to the facts in your accident police report, and don’t deviate from those facts. Don’t talk about your injuries, and don’t agree to anything.
Don’t offer opinions; they can be used against you later. Don’t ever lie or stretch the truth; this can get you charged with insurance fraud.
You can ask some questions, too. For example, you can ask if the adjuster knows of any witnesses that might help your claim, and whether their own investigation has uncovered any facts you might need to know about.
Even though you’re speaking with your own adjuster you should verbally withdraw any permission to have the call recorded before you begin. If the adjuster insists on recording the call, end the call politely and get an attorney fast.
Be wary of initial offers.
You may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. This is almost always going to be a lowball offer that won’t cover all of your medical expenses, let alone any of the other expenses which might be associated with the accident.
For most Texas residents, hiring a personal injury attorney before dealing with insurance companies at all is going to be your best bet.
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