One of the first things you learn to do after a motor vehicle accident is to contact your insurance company to report the crash. This act will set in motion the claims process that provides financial coverage for your vehicle damage and any injuries you and your passengers suffer.
Whether you opt into Kentucky's no-fault coverage or have personal injury protection on your policy, you will be dealing with an insurance adjuster. If you have paid up your premiums, you might assume a payout for your claim will be automatic. However, this may not be the case. Since insurance companies are in business to make a profit, you may find yourself battling for a fair assessment of your case.
Watch your mouth
Your first contact with the insurance company after an accident will be to inform them of the facts of the situation. You will tell them your name, your policy number, the date and time that the accident took place, and some general details about the accident.
You do not want to get into specifics, and you never want to admit or even hint that the accident was your fault. That information is for police to determine. In fact, what you say and do not say to your insurer can become very important in their determination to cover your claim, for example:
- If you give too much information about your injuries, downplay your suffering or offer your opinion of your prognosis before seeing a doctor, your insurer may not fully cover your injuries and treatment.
- If you submit any statements in writing or allow your insurer to record your statement, you may say something that you cannot take back and that may jeopardize your case.
- The insurer may make you nervous or act like your friend and confidante, which may cause you to speak too freely or volunteer information the agent did not request.
- In the course of conversation with the insurer, it is easy to exaggerate the details or reveal information, such as a previous injury, that may harm your claim.
- If you accept a settlement offer too soon after the accident, you will not have recourse to seek more money if your injuries turn out to be more severe than you thought.
As you can see, it is easy to make a mistake when dealing with the insurance company. In fact, some insurance adjusters take advantage of the vulnerability of an accident victim to minimize their claim. To avoid this, it may be a wise move to allow your attorney to handle any communication with the insurer.