Despite the unfortunate circumstances that lead people to our office, I truly enjoy initial consultations with future clients. It is an opportunity to begin fact-gathering and advising accident victims on what they should and should not do in the coming weeks and months as we attempt to resolve their case.
During a recent consultation with a car accident victim, he mentioned that he had spoken with the insurance company immediately following the accident. After quizzing him on the subject matter of the conversation, I assured the client that nothing he said had jeopardized his personal injury case.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as many accident victims will unknowingly put themselves behind the eightball by making a single, seemingly harmless statement to an insurance adjuster.
Because we have witnessed numerous examples of victims damaging their claim in this manner, we thought it important to list the top 5 things you should NEVER say to an insurance adjuster.
Never say any of these 5 things to an insurance adjuster
1) “I’m not hurt.”
Insurance companies know that there are a number of injuries which do not present immediately following a car accident. In fact, the effects of some soft tissue injuries may not appear until many hours or days later. (This is largely due to the masking effects that adrenaline can have on a person’s body.)
With this knowledge in mind, adjusters will contact victims as quickly as possible following the accident in the hopes that the person will say that they “feel fine” and/or they did not suffer any injuries.
Should pain begin to present several hours or days later, it is important that you seek medical treatment and have your symptoms documented and monitored by your doctor.
Proper documentation of all your injuries is key to ensuring that the defendant’s insurance company pays your medical bills and properly compensates you for any pain and suffering and lost wages.
2) “I’m sorry!” or “It’s my fault!”
Because car accidents can be highly emotional, especially when someone is injured, it is not uncommon for those involved to be overly sympathetic to what has transpired.
In some instances, these emotions may even create a false sense of guilt, causing one of the parties to say they are fully or partially at fault when in fact they are not.
Telling an insurance adjuster that you feel like you share the blame or are at fault for the accident may significantly limit or outright bar any potential compensation owed to you for your injuries and pain and suffering.
It is ok to be genuinely concerned and upset that an accident has occurred, but determining fault for the collision should always be left to the following sources:
- Witness statements
- Official Indiana accident report
- Investigation performed by an experienced personal injury lawyer
If you are concerned that you made an admission of guilt during a highly emotional time, it is possible that your case can still proceed, depending on the findings of the above-listed sources.
3) “I’ll give a recorded statement.”
No matter how confident you are in the facts of your case, you should never agree to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
Insurance adjusters use recorded statements as a tool to limit or deny claims, and the questions they will ask you are specifically designed to increase the chances that this happens.
You are not legally obligated to give a recorded statement, and If you feel as though you are being pressured by the insurance adjuster to give one, it is time to contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer. Once you have hired an attorney, they will handle all future communications with the adjuster.
Keep in mind, your attorney may eventually decide to allow for a recorded statement, but he or she will first prepare you and also be in attendance throughout.
4) “I had similar injuries in the past.”
We have talked with accident victims who believed they were helping their case by telling an insurance adjuster how much worse an old injury or condition has become as a result of an accident. In reality, this type of statement can weaken your case.
A key tactic used by insurance adjusters is to look for ways to relate any past injuries or health issues to the symptoms you are now experiencing as a result of the car accident. If they are successful in doing this, you risk having your claim reduced or outright dismissed due to “pre-existing conditions.”
All of us have a medical history, however, it is important to realize that you are under no obligation to disclose or discuss any pre-existing injuries with an insurance adjuster.
5) “I’ll sign a medical release authorization.”
Insurance adjusters will commonly ask victims to sign a medical release authorization immediately following their accident.
Why do they do this?
For the same reason we pointed out above in #4: Insurance adjusters want to be able to legally dig into your medical history and look for ways to connect any of your accident-related injuries or symptoms to a pre-existing condition, even if that condition is now several years old and no longer relevant.
Again, you should never sign a medical release unless it is done under the guidance and supervision of your attorney.
Get free advice from an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer
If you are an accident victim that has said one or more of the above statements to an insurance adjuster, do not panic. It does not necessarily mean that you no longer have a case, or that your case is significantly damaged. However, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Indianapolis personal injury lawyer who can assess your current situation.
Attorney Matt Boulton offers Indiana accident victims a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that he can analyze your potential claim and advise you of its strengths and weaknesses at absolutely no cost to you. And should you then choose to hire Boulton Law Group to represent you, the firm receives nothing until we win your case.
To speak with attorney Boulton today, call 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us for an immediate case review, please use our confidential contact form.
We look forward to hearing your story and going to work for you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.