FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2012-04-30
From running errands to a cruise down Interstate 84 outside of Portland, a car accident can happen anywhere — an unexpected upset to your normal routine.
In the aftermath of a crash, you may not be thinking completely clearly. Nonetheless, it is during this vulnerable state, only days or even hours after an accident, when the other driver’s insurance company is likely to contact you. Handled incorrectly, a call from the other driver’s insurer could be devastating to your ultimate claim for damages; do you know what to say?
Innocent Statements Can Come Back to Haunt You
As a general rule, you should not make any sort of statement to the other driver’s insurance company before consulting an Oregon auto accident lawyer. Anything you say to the other driver’s insurer could potentially be used against you to deny you the full compensation you deserve or to make it seem like the accident was your fault.
There is essentially no compelling reason to speak with the other driver’s insurer; the only parties you should provide with a factual version of events are your auto accident lawyer, your insurer and the police. Even with your own insurer and the authorities, you should avoid saying “I’m sorry” or making any other statement that could be interpreted as an admission of fault.
But, you may be wondering, if you are just telling the truth, what could be the harm? Even the truth can be manipulated and misinterpreted by the insurer to deny you compensation. For instance, they may engage in what seems like small talk while “waiting for their computer to load” by asking you where you were headed when the accident occurred — even this seemingly innocuous detail can be turned on you as evidence that you were in a hurry (and thus more likely to have caused the crash).
Politely Decline To Make Any Statements, and Get In Touch With an Oregon Attorney
When another driver’s insurer calls, you should be calm and polite (believe it or not, your attitude may affect the outcome), but inform them that you do not wish to discuss the accident. Do ask for the claim number and contact information for the insurance adjustor, however; this will be useful if you pursue a legal claim. Disregard any letters you receive from the other driver’s insurer urging you to call them.
A car accident is a traumatic experience; but, responding to it correctly can save you worlds of trouble and help you get the compensation you need to move through a tough time in your life. If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact an attorney today about your claim.