The aftermath of a car accident in Massachusetts can be a stressful, confusing, and complicated time. Car crashes often cause serious injuries, which require doctor’s appointments, time out of work, calls from insurance companies, damage or total loss of your car, etc. During this stressful time, you may be receiving calls from insurance companies and wondering what your obligations are.
While there are certain steps you ought to take, accident victims should know that you are under no legal obligation to speak with the other driver’s auto insurance company. In fact, speaking with the other driver’s insurance company may be detrimental to an injury claim. Therefore, it is highly recommended that accident victims consult with a qualified Massachusetts injury lawyer after being hurt in a car crash.
Be Wary When Insurance Adjusters Call After a Crash
After a car accident, the other driver’s auto insurance company will most likely try to contact you soon after the crash. If they do, you should be cautious, even if it is obvious that the other driver is at fault (i.e., rear-end car accidents – where the tailing driver is generally held responsible). Sure, liability is a major factor that is necessary to establish for a successful Massachusetts personal injury claim, but it is not the only factor to be evaluated. Remember, you do not have to and – in the opinion of our Framingham accident attorneys – shouldn’t talk to them.
Talking with the other driver’s insurance company can hurt your accident case. Insurance adjusters will try to get you to talk about the accident and your injuries. Later, they will use your answers or statement against you. Often, they will take your statement out of context or twist your words all with the design to pay you as little as possible.
Keep in mind, however, you may have legal and contractual obligations to speak with your insurance company after a car accident. In some accidents, you and the other driver may have the same auto insurance carrier. In this situation, there will be two adjusters from the same insurance company trying to contact you. Thus, you must be careful to know and understand who’s calling or who you are speaking with.
Insurance Adjusters Are Looking Out for Their Company’s Interests – Not Yours
Insurance adjusters are trained to contact accident victims after an accident and attempt to obtain a statement. They are skilled and experienced at getting statements or answers to questions about the accident and injuries suffered. They may seem to be genuinely concerned about your injuries and want to help. However, in our experience, their motive is to obtain a statement that they can later use against you to either not pay you any compensation or pay you less than you deserve.
There are many tactics or tricks trained adjusters use to try to pay nothing or the least amount of compensation possible. For example, these insurance adjusters will not explain to you that you have no obligation to speak with them. Many times, they may imply that you need to speak with them in order to receive compensation. However, speaking with the insurance company or providing them with a statement may be damaging to your case.
Adjusters know accident victims are sometimes vulnerable after a crash. Many times, accident victims are without a vehicle, out of work because of their injuries, and receiving medical bills in the mail. Adjusters may extend a low-ball settlement offer to entice accident victims knowing that they are in dire need of money. The low-ball offers are usually not even close to the full compensation an accident victim may deserve and only benefit the insurance company by saving them money in the long run. Remember, when you accept a settlement offer and sign a Settlement Agreement and Release, you cannot later come back and ask for more money.
For example, a client of ours was in a car accident in Ashland, Massachusetts. He came to our Framingham office within days after the car crash. He suffered a neck and head injury (concussion). He was out of work due to the symptoms of his concussion and had doctor’s appointments scheduled. By the time he came to meet with our Framingham injury attorneys, the other driver’s insurance company had already called him and offered him $2,000. In a case like this one, how can anyone assess the value of a personal injury claim so soon after the car crash? The extent of this gentleman’s injuries cannot be determined and his economic losses (i.e., lost wages, medical bills) are unknown at this early stage. The $2,000 settlement offer was a totally arbitrary amount that did not consider the financial losses our client sustained or will incur and/or his pain and suffering.
After an accident, it is always best not to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. You should consult with and hire an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney and let them communicate with the insurance company. An experienced lawyer will also help protect your legal rights and seek to obtain the compensation you deserve.