So you recently got into a car accident, and the insurance company reaches out and contacts you. The adjuster seems friendly and sympathetic, so you decide to handle this situation on your own, without an attorney. The insurance company does seem genuinely concerned about your well-being. So you decide to give the insurance companies a recorded statement.
Did you just make a huge and costly mistake?
A better question in a situation like this is whether it’s too late to hire a car accident attorney once you’ve given the insurance companies a statement. Every attorney will advise you not to talk to insurance companies on your own, that they’re not looking to give you full compensation but want to ensure you get the lowest amount possible. So if you did speak to an adjuster before finding an experienced personal injury lawyer, what should you do now?
Let’s explore that question.
Why Do Attorneys Caution Against Providing Statements to Insurers?
No matter where you are in your personal injury case, you can still hire a lawyer. In fact, it’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer when dealing with an insurance company. Anyone who expects the insurance companies to always do the right thing for individuals is likely not aware that these companies will often wrongfully deny claims or make low ball offers. That’s why a skilled attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure you get full compensation for your injuries or for any damages you sustained.
Why do attorneys advise against speaking to adjusters? Because it’s well known that insurance companies will attempt to minimize the value of a claim and often are very good at doing just that.
Even though your insurance adjuster can seem friendly over the phone, insurance companies are still businesses that remain profitable by minimizing financial obligations to claimants through any means available. And a post-accident recorded statement is one of the tools they rely on most to do just that.
You might assume a recorded statement is necessary so the insurance company can start processing your claim, or that a statement expedites the investigation and speeds up your claim. But it’s also possible the adjuster will ask you leading questions that enable them to poke holes in your version of what happened during the accident. Some claims adjusters look for ways to trip-up claimants, getting them to say things they know will hurt their claim. Even a question as simple and innocent-sounding as “How are you today?” can be problematic if you respond that you’re fine — since if you sustained injuries, you’re actually not “fine.”
The adjuster might compare your version of events with other accounts of the accident, such as the police report. If there are any inconsistencies, the insurance company can claim the accident didn’t happen in the way you initially claimed, and either make a low settlement offer or deny the claim altogether.
Is It Too Late to Hire an Attorney After a Recorded Statement?
You can find an attorney anytime prior to signing a release in exchange for a settlement. What you’re going to want to know right away is whether your decision to speak to the adjuster before hiring an attorney has fatally damaged the value of your case. That’s why you should immediately get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.
Will your statement badly hurt your case? The simple answer is it depends since every case is different. And there’s still a lot an attorney can do to help your case.
Even if you did give a statement to the insurance company, that’s not the end of your case and it won’t preclude you from obtaining a fair financial award. For example, an attorney can help you refute claims of inconsistencies in a recorded statement by finding evidence to back up your version of events.
A personal injury attorney can also work to:
- Get statements from expert witnesses who can support your version of events
- Present medical records that document injuries from the accident
- Introduce photographic evidence at the scene of the accident
- Hunt down dashcam or security footage of the accident
A personal injury attorney can also help you deal with the insurance company, ensuring that you don’t have to speak to them if you’re not well equipped to do so. That can include times after the accident when you’re:
- Emotionally upset
- Confused by the process
- Taking medication for your injuries
- Having trouble sleeping
- or are in pain.
You have the right to put off giving any additional statements until you’ve contacted a personal injury attorney for advice, and you won’t have to deal directly with the adjuster.
Experienced Louisiana Car Accident Lawyers Near You
Every moment wasted not contacting an attorney to help you with your car accident case is a potential dollar lost in your settlement, so it’s important to partner with a trusted attorney. In Louisiana, attorneys with E. Orum Young Law have decades of experience negotiating with insurers to reach fair settlements for their clients. E. Orum Young Law strives to handle all the complex legwork necessary to pursue a successful claim so you can focus on healing. Our goal is to help you receive the compensation you deserve for all of your accident-related losses. We have more than 35 years of experience protecting Louisiana drivers and are ready to fight for you.