How to Speak to Insurance Company Agents After a Crash
You could be in contact with multiple insurance companies after a crash. Massachusetts follows a no-fault car insurance system, so your first step is to file a claim with your own auto insurance provider for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If you suffered injury costs greater than the amount of your policy limits, you would have to file a bodily injury claim against the other driver’s auto insurance company.
Before you contact any insurer, you need to:
- Understand the adjuster’s role. Insurance adjusters are highly trained to be personable, making them more effective at their jobs. If they make you feel comfortable, you’ll speak to them like friends rather than what they are—a representative of their employer. No matter how much you like an insurance company agent, they are the opposing party in your case. Every interaction with you is an opportunity to get you to say something that hurts your claim. Above all, do not rely on the insurance adjuster for advice or guidance through the claims process.
- Stay off the phone. Insurance companies often prefer talking to claimants on the phone in the days after a car accident for a few reasons. The impersonal nature of a phone call disarms victims, and they may say something they regret during the fast pace of a conversation. Insurance agents can also pressure a victim to accept an offer before they can think about whether the amount will cover all of their losses. If you can, avoid the phone altogether. Contact your insurer via their website or email, keeping copies of all correspondence.
- Beware of recorded statements. Refusing an adjuster’s phone calls allows you to prevent another common mistake: the recorded statement. You are not obligated to give a recorded statement, and it isn’t required to process your claim. If needed, you can provide the necessary information through written correspondence or via your attorney.
- Delete any unnecessary details. It’s not your job to determine who was to blame for the accident, but your adjuster might encourage you to accept some or all of the fault. While you can still get compensation if you’re at fault for the crash under Massachusetts’ comparative negligence law, your damages will be significantly reduced. Politely refuse to discuss anything beyond the basic facts: where and when the accident occurred, the vehicles involved, the names of the police at the scene, and the hospital you were taken to after the accident. Do not describe the nature and extent of your injuries in case they worsen or another symptom arises—say you are “still treating” and refer the adjuster to your attorney.
- Know what you’re signing. Insurance adjusters may request access to your medical records to pay for accident-related treatments. However, adjusters may word their requests in a way that lets them see your entire medical history. This is never in your best interest, as it allows the insurer to look for evidence of pre-existing conditions that could reduce your payout. Never sign a medical records request—or anything related to your case—without having the form reviewed by an attorney.
- Question any settlement offers. Insurance adjusters may offer quick payments that save the insurance company time and money. These are rarely as beneficial to victims as they are for the insurer. If an offer seems too good to be true, run it by your attorney.
Let Our Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Deal With Insurers on Your Behalf
The best way to ensure you get everything you’re owed after a crash is to let the attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP handle the claim. The only thing you need to do to start your claim is to report the accident. After that, you can inform insurers that an attorney represents you and that all communication should go through your lawyer.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a crash, please call 508-879-3500 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. You can also learn more about your rights in our free guide, What You Can Do to Get a Full and Fair Settlement After a Car Accident.