If you’re ever in a car accident, first things first. Are you okay? Are the other people involved okay? If you’re still in the vehicle, is the vehicle in a safe place? Depending on the nature of the accident and how you are feeling, you may start thinking thoughts like: how much is this going to cost me? You might be minding your own business, cruising along I-35 when someone rear-ends you or swipes your car. Maybe you are driving near Edgecliff Village on Crowley Road when someone speeds off the on-ramp from Sycamore School Road, fails to look let alone yield, and hits you.
If you have been in an accident like this, you know the emotions that race through your brain: from anger to fear back to anger.
Your mind will try to play all kinds of tricks on you to make you feel responsible for what happened. That is your survival instinct kicking in. When in a stressful, life or death situation, even if there is nothing you can do to change what just happened, you may find yourself imagining scenarios where you might have driven slower, hit the brakes faster. You need to fight that tendency, to think rationally, for the good of all people involved, including yourself and those closest to you.
The first and most important thing you can do is to (try to) stay calm. Make sure that everyone is okay, and that help is on the way.
In stressful situations, it helps to have a plan in mind, to know what you will and will not say if you are ever in an accident. Those first few minutes can make a big difference going forward.
The car accident attorneys at Patterson Law Group’s Forth Worth office can help. We can even complete your insurance claim for you. Call our legal team today at 817-784-2000 for a free consultation.
10 Things Not To Say To An Insurance Company After A Car Accident
1. Anything at all (right away). When in an accident, you may need to speak to a police officer and medical professionals right away. You do not need to speak to your insurance company right away. Make sure everyone is safe first. Breathe.
2. The accident was (even partially) your fault. Let other people make their judgments based on the facts.
3. The accident was someone else’s fault (or the fault of the weather or the road conditions).
4. Any factual claims or opinions beyond what you personally witnessed.
5. Never editorialize what happened. You can say, “The other driver’s car swerved into my lane and hit my car on the left side” if that is what happened. Don’t try to guess if the other driver seemed drunk. Never second-guess how you might have avoided the collision.
6. Any information about which you are unsure. An accident investigator will be able to tell what actually happened, and inaccurate information could be used against you later, even if you are not at fault.
7. Any information not directly related to the accident. Your insurance agent is not your friend. Anything you tell them may be used against you later. Now is not the time for a conversation about your driving habits or your pets or anything not related to the accident.
8. Any information regarding your or anyone else’s health. You cannot be sure if you or anyone else was injured, and if so, how.
9. Any information regarding damage to your car. Similarly, you may not be immediately aware of the damage done to your car, if any.
10. Any information without speaking to an attorney first. This is not a complete or comprehensive list. We strongly advise you to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Ready to file a claim, but afraid to say the wrong thing? The Forth Worth car accident lawyers at Patterson Law Group can complete your insurance claim for you. Call our legal team today at 817-784-2000 for a free consultation.
You Shouldn’t Talk To The Other Insurance Company After An Accident
Do not speak to the other party’s insurer, ever, unless advised by an attorney to do so. You may need to speak to your own insurance company after an accident, in order to file a claim. (Unless you have an attorney to do it for you!) The conversation should be brief and to the point. Unless you both have the same insurer, there is never a reason to speak to the other person’s insurance company. Your insurer may speak to their insurer, and their insurer may speak to professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and police officers.
What to Do If the At-Fault Driver Won’t Contact Insurance Company
It is your job to file a claim with your insurance company. It is the other driver’s job to file a claim with their company. If they refuse to do so, for whatever reason, this can make resolving your claim more difficult. The other party may hope this will all go away, but it won’t. If the at-fault party refuses to accept responsibility, seek legal counsel.
Speaking To Insurance Companies Can Affect Your Settlement
Talking to any insurance company, including your own, can affect your settlement. You may think that your insurance company is on your side while the other driver’s insurance company is on their side, but that is simply not the case. Here’s why. First, there are two different types of coverage that may be at issue: liability insurance of the at-fault party and your own uninsured/underinsured insurance. If your damages are higher than the liability limits of the at-fault party’s insurance limits, then you may end up having to make an underinsured claim with your own insurance company. If this occurs, then anything you said to your own insurance company can and will be used against you by your own insurance company. Make no mistake, your own insurance company will do everything it can to limit the amount of money it may have to pay you for your damages. Insurers are a profit-making business, and they will get the same amount from you in insurance premiums either way.
Here’s What A Fort Worth Personal Injury Attorney Can Do For Your Car Accident Case
If you have been in a car accident, expenses can be high. Patterson Law Group knows Texas insurance law and Fort Worth regulations inside and out. Before speaking to your insurance agent, before accepting a settlement, seek legal counsel that you know will be on your side. We are standing