When at the Accident Scene
If you were involved in an accident where you were injured, the local police and fire department/paramedics were probably called to the scene. Everything that you say to them is a recorded statement, as it will show up in the police report and ambulance medical records. If you decide to talk to the at-fault party’s insurance company before consulting with a personal injury lawyer, make sure to first read the police report. If there are any discrepancies, you can file a supplemental statement explaining any problems with the report.
When Receiving Medical Treatment
Often times our clients are surprised to learn that something casually mentioned while making small talk with their doctor ends up being recorded in their medical records. While describing how you were injured to your medical providers is important to your treatment/diagnosis, it is not necessary to go into any other details that do not pertain to your health, such as things you think you could have done to avoid the accident.
When Dealing with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
It is important to realize that during this process, the goal of the insurance adjuster (no matter how nice they may sound on the phone) is to get you to say certain things that will lower the value of your personal injury claim. Less money given to you = more money kept by them.
- Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster without first talking to a lawyer.
- If you chose to talk to an insurance adjuster before talking to a lawyer to deal with your property damage claim, then limit your discussion to only the property damage claims process.
- Avoid guessing or speculating to questions regarding time, speed, and distance.
- When answering questions, keep your answers short and to the point. Adjusters will take any additional facts that you give them as opportunities to lower the value of your case.
- Do not discuss prior injuries.
- Be accurate in your answers. It is ok to tell an adjuster that you do not remember, rather than guess. Adjusters can use any inconsistencies later to cast doubt on your truthfulness.
- Avoid answering any questions that try to shift fault onto you. For example, a often times asked question is whether or not their was anything you could have done to avoid the accident. The answer to that question is “No.”
Before ever talking with an insurance adjuster about your personal injury claim, gives us a call for free to discuss it. Although the tips above are helpful, they do not encompass all of the ways that an adjuster can lower the value of your claim. That is why it is essential to speak first with an experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyer, who can help you navigate your way through the claims process, so that you can receive everything you are entitled to.