If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Virginia, you should report the accident to your auto insurance company promptly. However, it’s important to be prepared for what to say—and, perhaps more importantly, what NOT to say—when you talk to the insurance adjuster.
Why You Should Watch What You Say to an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance companies, even your own insurer, are out for their own best interests, not yours. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible for a claim, and the line of questions they ask after an accident could be designed to help them reduce their payout on your claim. What you say to an adjuster can and likely will be used in any legal proceedings related to the crash. There is no constitutional right against self-incrimination when talking to an insurance company. This is why it’s important to understand what to divulge and how to speak to the adjuster before you call them about your Virginia truck accident.
6 Don’ts When Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
While we always recommend contacting a Virginia car and truck accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash, here are six tips to guide you in your discussion with an insurance adjuster if you speak to them before talking to a lawyer:
- Don’t say, “I think.” Don’t speculate. If you “think” something but are unsure, don’t mention it. You do not have to suppose, guess, or theorize what happened about the accident.
- Don’t admit fault or say you’re sorry. An apology may be taken and used as an admission of guilt.
- Don’t discuss your injuries. Some injuries can take time to appear, especially after the adrenaline boost that happens after a truck accident. Say that you decline to discuss injuries at this time.
- Don’t agree to a recorded statement. Especially when emotions are high soon after an accident, you could say something you end up regretting later. They may act like this is a matter of routine, but you are allowed to decline permission to be recorded.
- Don’t discuss inattention. Admitting to something like using your phone or saying you didn’t see another driver could lead to you being held responsible, even partly, for the accident.
- Do not discuss a settlement. Agreeing to a settlement amount with an adjuster may mean an end to the case without recovering all the damages you may be entitled to under Virginia law, including expenses that may have yet to be determined early on after a crash. Don’t accept any settlement amount until you talk to an experienced Virginia accident lawyer.
How to Handle the Call With an Insurance Adjuster
Of course, don’t say anything that isn’t true on your call with insurance. Your goal isn’t to be deceitful; it’s to provide only the minimally required information necessary so that you have a chance to talk to a truck accident lawyer who can help you with your case.
Keep your call with the insurance adjuster brief and only provide basic facts. These typically include providing your personal information such as name, phone number, and address; the date, time, and location of the accident; vehicles involved in the crash (with license plate numbers, if available); and any information about witnesses to the accident.
If you feel pressured by an insurance adjuster to say more, explain that you will be happy to provide more information at a later time through your attorney and contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced accident lawyer will handle all calls with your insurance company and any other insurance companies involved in the case, will prepare information for your insurance claim about what happened, and can help ensure that you don’t say anything that could harm your chances of fully recovering all of the damages you deserve in your truck accident case. They can handle settlement negotiations and even represent you at trial if necessary.