Do I Need to Talk to Insurance Companies After a Car Accident?
If you or a family member were injured in a car accident you are likely overwhelmed with phone calls, emails, and letters from your own insurance company (in addition to the at-fault driver’s insurance company). This can get even more confusing when there is more than two vehicles involved (especially if one of the other drivers has blamed part of the accident on you). It can be extremely overwhelming to keep track of which insurance company is trying to contact you and, on whose behalf, they are calling on.
Many of our clients want to know who is it that I need to talk to and what are my legal obligations?
As a key piece of advice, if you are ever in doubt, don’t say anything and contact an attorney to help you sort it out.
Dirty Tactics That Insurance Agencies Will Use
It is important to know that insurance companies will deploy dirty tactics right after an accident. The goal of all insurance companies is reducing their liability and protect their bank accounts. They do this by calling you or your family member while requesting that the call be recorded (this is often times referred to as a “recorded statement”).
The insurance companies tell you that they just want to get the facts to evaluate the claim, but in reality, they are building their case against you. Frequently, the insurance company will call you within hours of the accident and try to discuss your injuries, while knowing that most victims are not fully aware of their injuries until days, weeks, and possibly months after the wreck. The goal of this call is to record you saying you are “fine” right after the wreck.
Insurance companies then turn-around and use this evidence against you when you make a claim for injuries. This is extremely unfair. For example, whiplash injuries are very common in rear-end collisions, and may take days to develop. If the insurance company can take your statement while you do not know the extent of your injuries this can be very harmful evidence against you. Even your own insurance company employs these tactics against you.
Another tactic that is in the insurance company’s arsenal is what we call a “swoop and settle”, where the insurance company calls soon after an accident and promises to pay your medical bills. Frequently these “settlements” are attempted on the phone while you are in the hospital or shortly after you leave the hospital. Insurance companies do this because they know you are under stress and they move quickly to lock-in a cheap settlement of your claim before you know the full extent of your injuries. Many states have outlawed this tactic, but unfortunately Texas lags behind in this area of the law.
What to do if the other party’s insurance company contacts you
While it may be necessary to speak with your own insurance company or even the wrongdoer’s insurance company to arrange for rental cars or tow trucks, it is always best to contact an attorney to discuss what your rights and obligations are. At our firm we quickly send letters of representation to the insurance company and detail exactly what the insurance company can and cannot discuss with you. We make sure that you are not speaking with the wrong person or disclosing information that should be between you and your car accident lawyer. We advise you as to exactly what it is you need to do in your case and who it is that you need to talk to and most importantly, we never let you face the insurance companies alone.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers at the Genthe Law Firm
When you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, or you missed significant time from work, you should hire an attorney to protect your rights.
At the Genthe Law Firm we will make sure that your interests are protected from the beginning of your claim. It is daunting task, if not nearly impossible, for victims to deal with injuries, medical treatment, family, and the insurance companies all at once.
Our consultations are free and we require no fee to meet with one of our attorneys. If you or a loved one would like to speak with an experienced Texas car accident attorney, contact us now.