If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re likely going to have to contact at least one insurance company about it. But which one do you call? What should you say? While the simplest answer is “the truth,” of course, there are some pitfalls to avoid.
COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
First, if you’re a Kentucky resident and you own or drive a car, that car is required to have minimum insurance coverage by state law. So, if you’re in a wreck, the first insurance company to call is your own. Contact your insurance agent, and they’ll put you in touch with the company’s claims department. The claims department will want your policy number first, which is always found on your proof of insurance card.
Then, they’ll usually set up two different claims: a claim for the damage done to your vehicle, and possibly a claim for your own injuries. In Kentucky, motor vehicle owners are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which covers your first $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages. With any luck, you won’t have to burn all of that money up, but if you do, check out this link.
Your insurance company’s claims adjuster will also ask you several details about the crash: the number of vehicles involved, where it occurred, what happened, if you’re hurt, and so on. If your car is damaged, they’ll set an appointment to send a property damage adjuster to look at the car and prepare an estimate for repairs.
Your insurance company may also ask that you agree to give them a recorded statement about the crash. This is where things could get tricky. First, chances are good that part of your insurance policy, which is a contract, requires you to help your insurance company investigate any claims you make on your policy. That means that if they ask you to give a statement, you must. That statement isn’t sworn testimony or made under oath, but you are allowed to have an attorney present if you wish. More importantly, though, what you say in that statement can become testimony at trial later on. It’s important, then, to be truthful, but also to be mindful of what you say.
COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE OTHER INSURANCE COMPANY
But what about the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the crash? You’ll want to make claims against the owners of those vehicles, whose names and insurance information you’ll want to be sure to get either at the scene of the crash or from the police report, if there is one. You can get copies of your police report for $10 at BuyCrash.com. Claims made against other drivers in a crash are called liability claims – you think the other driver is liable, or at fault, for the damage to yourself or your vehicle. And the insurance companies covering those other vehicles are going to do their own independent investigations, too.
So, if you make a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, you should probably be a little more sparing with the details. They’ll need your name, of course, and the date of the crash and the identity of their own driver. However, if the other insurance company asks you for a recorded statement, it’s advisable to refuse.
Why? Because insurance companies’ job is to protect the people that they insure, their policyholders. If they can get a statement from you that helps out their policyholder, they’re absolutely going to use it. Unless you’re involved in a lawsuit, there is not a good reason to be especially forthcoming with an at-fault party’s insurance company without the help of a lawyer.
THAT’S WHERE WE COME IN. If you’ve been in a car crash, you can use experienced legal advice. At Neal & Davis, we support injured people and help them get the protection and justice they deserve, so they can get back to normal. Give us a call today at 502-633-6002 for a free consultation. We’d love to be there for you.