Florida recorded an average of 933 traffic accidents daily in 2020, inflicting incapacitating and non-incapacitating injuries on tens of thousands of people. Although car crashes may be common, they’re anything but routine when they happen to you. In addition to potential physical injuries, you could have property damage to deal with and may spend months or years coping with trauma from your accident.
Before fully understanding your accident’s short- and long-term implications, you may wonder how to deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or whether you should talk to them. Although Florida requires drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover car accident expenses, there are situations when drivers can pursue a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. There are some crucial things to keep in mind after an accident that can help you avoid mistakes and get fair compensation.
Their insurance company is not on your side
The at-fault driver’s insurance company works for them. Insurance companies must pay damages to car accident victims if the driver they insure is found to be at fault and liable in a car accident lawsuit. Consequently, there are some things insurance companies do to try to minimize their expenses.
Pressure you for an immediate statement
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may pressure you to make a statement right away. It can take days for a complete police report that determines liability and negligence for the crash, especially if the crash involved a fatality. It also typically takes insurance adjusters weeks to complete assessments in severe cases. Rushing you for a fast statement can cause you to absolve the at-fault party of liability because you don’t have all the facts.
Since injuries such as whiplash may not show symptoms for a few days, rushing you into making a statement could also undermine your ability to seek damages for injuries stemming from your accident.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company may deny their client was at fault and refuse to offer a settlement. They may deny your claim, hoping you won’t fight for fair compensation.
Insurance companies prioritize profits over justice. Consequently, they aim to save money by paying as little as possible after an accident. They may offer you a low settlement to reduce their costs and leave you covering uncompensated losses.
Use your medical history against you
The at-fault driver’s insurance company can attempt to undermine your injuries and expenses by claiming your injuries existed before the accident. Do not sign a medical release form giving them access to your medical history. Your car accident attorney will confirm what medical information you need to provide, and they can communicate with the insurance company without giving them unreasonable access to your personal information.
How talking to the other insurance company can hurt you
People working for insurance companies know how to prompt people to make statements the company can use to limit its liability. Since you may be in shock, you may not think clearly after the accident. You also may only have access to some relevant facts.
Suppose you were in an accident with a driver operating a company vehicle. You suffered severe injuries and were taken to a hospital without exchanging information with the driver. An investigation reveals that the company failed to maintain the vehicle and hired a driver with a suspended license. While those factors could establish the company’s shared liability for the accident, you may have difficulty proving your case if you told the insurance company they weren’t at fault.
What can you say to the at-fault driver’s insurance company?
Ideally, your insurance company and car accident attorney should handle communication with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can provide them with your insurance company’s and attorney’s contact information but should not say anything else. In fact, you should consider ignoring any calls you receive and relay voicemails from the company to your insurer and attorney.
Should you allow them to record you?
Do not allow the at-fault insurance company to record your conversation. Any recording can be used during legal proceedings to reduce their liability.
Give a statement to your own insurance company
You should provide your insurance company with a statement after your accident. Contacting your insurance company is one of the first steps you should take. Your insurance company should be aware you were in an accident and that you need to file a claim. The sooner they’re aware of the accident, the sooner they can have their adjuster assess the damages.
How your car accident attorney can help
You’ll receive expert legal guidance when you hire an attorney from Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys. Your attorney will explain the steps you should and should not take after the accident, including who to speak to and what information you must provide.
We’ll perform a comprehensive investigation to ensure the at-fault party responsible for your accident is identified and held accountable. We’ll talk to the insurance company so you don’t have to, and we’ll protect your private information while advocating for your legal rights so you can get fair compensation after your accident.
Brady, R. (2023). Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance in Florida, Explained.
Tull, M. (2019). The Risk of PTSD After a Car Accident.