You will likely receive a phone call from the other (adverse) driver’s insurance company shortly after the accident. It is rarely a good idea to talk to or meet the adjuster for the other driver after an accident no matter who’s fault the collision was. This applies to any accident scenario – car, truck motorcycle, bicycle, etc.
Simply Put It Is Never Required That You Speak To Or Meet With the Other Driver's Insurance Adjuster.
Again, this is quick and easy to understand: You are NEVER required to speak to talk to or meet with the other insurance company’s adjuster or representative. However, talking to your own insurance company representative is likely necessary to initiate and process your insurance claim. This is usually wise to do even if you do not have coverage on your own insurance that will pay for the claim.
The big question of the day is whether you should talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster even if it is not required to do so. As a general rule, nope, you shouldn’t talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. This is particularly true if anyone involved in the collision may make a claim for personal injuries. Furthermore, you should never speak to or meet with at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster if you already have an attorney.
As with everything in life, there are some exceptions to this.
When Is It A OK To Speak With The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Adjuster?
It might be acceptable to talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster when the other driver was clearly at fault but has not filed a claim or refusing to communicate with his own adjuster. You might also need to talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster when the at-fault driver has lied to their insurance adjuster regarding facts of the collision. This happens far too often. Understand, however, the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster may also manipulate facts to make it sound like their insured was not at fault when he clearly was. We at Storer & Steen have seen this occur more times than we can count. That is why it is still a risk to discuss anything with anyone aside from your attorney – there is a natural tendency for the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster to blame everyone for the collision except for the person who was actually at fault.
Sometimes it will be necessary to talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster to get our car damage paid for. Should you need to do this, do not discuss your injuries with the adjuster – it is never wise to do that. You do not have to discuss anything with the property damage adjuster aside from how to get your car taken care of. Do not let yourself be suckered into an interrogation that you are not required to be subjected to.
It is still always best to have your attorney or a representative from your own car insurance company will talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. However, this may not be possible if it was a very minor accident or you have not yet retained an attorney. When it is necessary that you talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster, you have to be careful what you say since whatever you say is likely to be manipulated to be used against you at some point of the claim process.
Guidance For Tips When Talking To The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Adjuster
Don’t be naïve - keep in mind that the primary goal of the at-fault driver’s insurance company is to pay you nothing or as little money as possible. They are not there to take care of you – don’t think that for a second. Insurance companies are very profitable corporations – not benevolent societies run by Mother Teresa wannabes. The reason any adjuster will reach out to you is to dig for evidence that they can use to claim that you were at fault for the collision or that your injuries are minor or try to find a way to claim your injuries are pre-existing.
Never say to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster that you “feel fine” or that your injuries are minor. Too often people wake up the next morning and realize how badly they were actually injured. If you told the adjuster previously that you were “just fine,” then you will have set yourself up to get paid minimally for what may end up being a significant injury. As a physician and an attorney, I have rarely discussed injuries with a patient/client who fully understood haw badly they were injured. Just remember, anything you say to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster may later serve as a reason for refusing to compensate you fairly, or at all, for your injuries.
Never volunteer non-relevant information or agree to have your statement recorded, whether it’s over the phone or in writing. The purpose of a recorded statement is to bind you into a certain version of the events that the insurance company may later misinterpret. This includes the nature and severity of your injuries or property damage. However, how you feel today may not be representative of how you feel later. Many injuries take a while to fully manifest.
Never guess or speculate as to what happened during the collision. If you are not certain of something, it’s okay to simply say “I am not sure.” Don’t allow yourself to be boxed into an idea that may later prove to be incorrect. Upon questioning, only provide the most basic and objective details about the collision.
As a final thought, if it is confirmed that your injuries are truly minor and it is absolute that the other driver was at fault, still never give the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster any reason to question who was at fault or to debate the extent of your injuries or damages. Even if there is a small possibility that you could have more significant injuries or damages, or there is debate over who was at fault, call the attorneys at Storer & Steen prior to communicating with at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster.