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“After a crash, the insurance company wants a statement, should I talk to their representative?”

 

Hi, I’m David Holub, an attorney practicing injury law in northwest Indiana. Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a listener who would like to know how to respond to an insurance company representative’s request for a statement after a car crash.

This is a great question. The answer depends on one key factor. Whose insurance company is asking the question?

For example, if a person is in a car crash and there are two vehicles involved, there will be two insurance companies. There will be your own insurance company, the company which ensures your car, and the other driver’s insurance company.

Let’s talk first about your own insurance company. If your own insurance company calls you and wants to take your statement, 99% of the time you will have to comply with that request, because 99% of all insurance policies require, as a matter of contract, that you must cooperate and give a statement and explain what happened. So … in the case of your own insurance company you have to give a statement.

However, you certainly have the right to consult an attorney before giving a statement, and you can even have your attorney be present while you give a statement.  

If you don’t cooperate with your own insurance company you could jeopardize your coverage, and breach your insurance contract. This means they could decline to perform their obligations under the insurance policy. So, you need to cooperate. But, consulting an attorney can be very important.

Why? Because most auto insurance policies have different benefit tracks. For example, the policy will protect you against a liability claim that you were at fault.

But the same policy may provide a coverage benefit called underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Such coverage means that if the person who hit you has no insurance, or inadequate insurance, your own insurance company will have an obligation to stand in the shoes of the other driver and may potentially owe you money for your injuries. This sets up an adversarial relationship between you and your own insurance company. Consulting an attorney in that kind of a situation is very important.

But, let’s talk about the other driver’s insurance company for a moment. The others driver’s insurance company is not even remotely your friend. They are your adversary.

The other driver’s insurance company will do everything possible to minimize your claim and trick you and trap you into saying things that can be very harmful when you talk with them.

For example, they might ask you how you doing today?  If you say “fine”, they will write down that you’re not hurt and reported doing fine.

Definitely where the other driver’s insurance company representatives want to speak to you, 99% of the time you would do well to consult an attorney before speaking to them.

Keep in mind you absolutely do not have to speak to an insurance rep who works for the company who ensures the other driver. Sometimes though, after a consult with an attorney, your attorney may decide that it may make sense to provide a limited statement about what happened. If so, the attorney will likely participate in any statement and object when necessary to protect you and limit your answers.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting For Truth”.  Have a fantastic day.