If you have suffered an injury, the last thing you want to deal with is an insurance company trying to fight against you, especially when you did nothing wrong. This is why you should let your attorney deal with the insurance company, so you can be sure there is someone to fight for your rights and to get you the compensation you deserve.
Talking to the Insurance Company in Washington D.C. Personal Injury Cases
Before you consider talking to an insurance company's lawyer after an accident, it is important to understand who they work for. There may be multiple insurance companies involved, and each insurance company may have a different lawyer assigned to the case. While it would be nice if the person responsible for the accident admitted their fault, and their insurance company paid out any damages immediately; unfortunately, that is almost never the case.
After an accident, you are generally required to contact your insurance company, and may also have to file a police report. However, before you chance saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, you should consider talking to your personal injury lawyer, to make sure you are not putting your physical health and financial well-being at risk.
If you have been involved in a car accident and the other driver's insurance company lawyer contacts you, they are not working for your benefit. They are working on behalf of the insurance company. During any contact, they may be trying to get you to say things or admit to things that would reduce your claim, and even make you responsible for paying the cost of someone else's injuries. You may think you have to talk to the other insurance company because you were involved in the accident; however, in most cases you have no obligation to talk with them.
Once you have contacted your own personal injury attorney, let your lawyer deal with the insurance company. When the insurance company calls you to talk, refer them to your attorney, and do not answer any questions. If you receive letters or other correspondence from the insurance company or another lawyer, forward it to your own attorney. Don't let the insurance company's threats or harshly-worded letters make you say something you'll later regret. Let your own lawyer talk to the insurance company's lawyer. Your personal injury lawyer has your best interests at heart, and will fight to make sure you don't have to pay for someone else's mistake.
Many people end up talking to the insurance company's lawyer because they don't think it will be a big deal. After all, if you didn't do anything wrong, what is the problem with telling someone what happened? However, when dealing with lawyers and insurance companies, the truth is not necessarily what matters. Other attorneys may try and twist your words, and make you say something you didn't really mean. Later on, at trial or during a deposition, when you try and correct your earlier statement, it may appear that you have changed your story.
There are a number of seemingly harmless things you can say that may hurt your case later on. The consequences include increasing the chance that you will recover less damages than you deserve for your injuries, the chance that you will recover nothing for your injuries and property damage, and in some cases, you may be blamed for the accident, and be held responsible for the injuries of the other drivers and passengers. That is an expensive risk you do not want to take.
Another reason for not talking to an insurance company lawyer, even for your own insurance company, is that they may want you to talk about your injuries before you are even sure how serious they are. For example, a day or two after an accident many people think that their injury was not so bad. However, a week or a month later, it may become clear that the accident had more serious, long-term damage. If you initially settle an insurance claim based on minor injuries, you may be barred from later claiming damages for more serious and chronic medical problems.
Let Your Lawyer Handle the Insurance Company
Even if you don't think you need to talk to an attorney, or are happy with the settlement the insurance company offers, before you sign any release or waiver, take a serious look at the long-term impacts of signing away your rights. Automobile accidents can have a lasting impact on your health. Pain may manifest itself in a variety of ways, even days or weeks after the initial accident.
With the high costs of health care, you do not want to be left holding the bill for years to come for an accident that was not your fault. Contact the team at Gilman & Bedigian. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will ensure that you don't have to deal with any unnecessary stress related to your claim, so that you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life.