Should I Talk to the Insurance Company Before Hiring a Lawyer?
If I have been involved in an auto accident, should I speak with the insurance company?
There are at least two different insurance companies that may contact you following a motor vehicle accident. The first is the liability insurance company, which is the insurance company for the other party to the accident. If that party is at fault, then his insurance will be primarily responsible for your damages following an accident. The other insurance company that may contact you is your own personal insurance carrier. Under most insurance policies, you have a duty to notify your insurance carrier if you are involved in an accident, even if the accident was not your fault.
What types of questions can I expect from the other person’s insurance company?
The liability insurance adjuster will typically ask you questions about the accident itself, such as when, where, how, and why the accident happened. The purpose of these questions is to determine liability – in other words, who was at fault for the accident. The adjuster may also ask you questions about your injuries, medical treatment, and past medical history. On most occasions, the adjuster will request a recorded statement, which means you will be sworn in for questioning and your answers will be recorded on tape. It is important to keep in mind that the liability insurance company is adverse to you and is acting on behalf of its insured. You should consult with legal counsel of your own before giving any statement, oral, written, or recorded, to the liability adjuster, as it could significantly impact your ability to recover compensation later in your case.
What questions can I expect from my insurance company?
If you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may assert a claim following your accident. Generally speaking, you have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company, which may include providing a statement. Your insurance company will usually ask questions similar to those asked by the liability adjuster. This information may become necessary if it turns out that the defendant was uninsured or had too little insurance and you need to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim for your property damage or medical bills. Your insurance company may also request a recorded statement. Even though your insurance company provides coverage to you, they may take a position adverse to yours in an effort to limit how much they must pay you, even if you have been a customer for a long time. This is another reason to contact a car accident lawyer of your own who can guide you through the process and provide sound legal advice along the way.
What other items may the insurance company request?
Beyond questioning, the insurance company, whether liability or uninsured/underinsured motorist, may request several documents from you as support for any property damage or bodily injury claim you make. The most common request is a signed medical authorization, which will allow the insurance adjuster to request your medical records. Depending on the scope of the medical authorization, the adjuster may be able to request prior medical records from before the auto accident to determine whether you had any pre-existing conditions or injuries at the time of the crash. If your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company may send you a power of attorney to sign which will give them the right to pick up and dispose of your vehicle. You should carefully review any medical release or power of attorney you receive from the insurance company, and you may want to consult with legal counsel before signing any legal documents. Insurance companies also commonly request medical bills, car titles, and vehicle repair estimates.
The legal process can be time-consuming, complex, and intimidating. Personal injury has become a specialized area of each state’s law, which is why our firm specializes in this field. Let us handle contact with the insurance company on your behalf and be with you every step of the way. For a free case evaluation with a lawyer, call 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. Our personal injury attorneys represent people involved in accidents throughout Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky, including Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Jackson, Tupelo, Oxford, Hattiesburg, Starkville, Meridian, Little Rock, Jonesboro, Hayti, Caruthersville, Sikeston, Cape Girardeau, and Paducah. Let us show you why NST is the way to go if you need a car or truck wreck lawyer.