Be Careful Who You Speak With After a Car Accident
Nov. 23, 2022
The moments after a traffic crash can be overwhelming and confusing to sort through. However, what you do, what you fail to do, and who you speak with after the incident can have a significant impact on the outcome of your claims.
Essentially, no good ever comes from admitting fault at the accident scene or speaking with an insurance adjuster before consulting with a lawyer. Hence, it is important that you be careful of what you say and who you speak with after a car accident.
For more than 30 years, I have been offering experienced legal services and advocating for the best interests of accident victims in their cases. As an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney, I can investigate all the details of your unique situation, fight vigorously to protect your rights, and handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
My firm – Maran & Maran PC – proudly represents car accident victims in Newark and the surrounding areas of Northern New Jersey, including Somerset County, Monmouth County, Warren County, Essex County, Union County, Passaic County, and Sussex County.
What Not Say at the Scene of the Accident
After an accident, emotions are often heightened. However, it is important that you remain calm and avoid saying anything that may likely be used against you later. Here are some things not to say after an auto accident:
Don't say, "I'm sorry." This may show that you're admitting guilt or that you’re responsible for the crash.
Don't say, "It was my fault." Admitting fault can affect your potential claims.
Don't say, "Let's handle the situation on our own." You should file a police report and notify your insurance company about the accident.
Don't say, "I'm fine. I don't need to get medical help." Regardless of the magnitude of your injuries, you must get immediate medical treatment for both personal and legal reasons.
Don't post or say anything on social media.
Don't say "Yes" when the insurance adjuster calls and requests a recorded statement.
Most importantly, never give an official or recorded statement to the claims adjuster of the insurance company when they reach out to you. They’re not on your side!
The Role of the Insurance Adjuster
An insurance adjuster or claims specialist is a professional who is often called upon to evaluate, investigate, and resolve auto accident and personal injury claims. The claims specialist will assess your case’s details and the magnitude of your injuries to help determine a fair settlement amount.
Requests for a Statement
During an investigation, the insurance adjuster may request an official statement from you. They can ask about the events leading to the traffic crash, who was responsible, or how the incident occurred. Unknown to you, the claims specialist may:
Take your statement out of context
Use your statement to undervalue or deny your claims
Give your words a different meaning
Ask contradictory questions to create inconsistencies in your statements
Use your statement against you during negotiations or in court
Generally, speaking with the claims adjuster without your attorney's consent is never a good idea. Rather, ensure that you speak with an experienced lawyer first.
Reasons to Speak With a Car Accident Attorney Instead
If you're involved in an auto accident, here are some reasons to speak with your lawyer first:
Determining Fault and Liability
New Jersey is a "no-fault" state. This means that your own auto insurance policy – Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage – will pay for medical costs and other accident-related losses, regardless of the at-fault party. However, you have a "limited right to sue" the at-fault driver and recover damages if you have suffered a serious bodily injury, such as significant scarring, permanent injury, or death.
An experienced attorney will be in the best position to investigate the facts of your case, evaluate the extent of your injuries, help file your claims, or determine whether you're eligible to sue the responsible party.
Seeking Damages for Serious Injuries
If you sustain a serious injury, you may still need ongoing or future medical treatments. While you continue to recuperate, any settlement amount offered by the insurer may not cover your injuries and damages. Once you attain maximum medical improvement (MMI) or full recovery, your attorney will determine the total cost of damages and help pursue your rightful financial compensation.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company
It is never easy or straightforward to negotiate a settlement with the insurer. They will keep playing hardball or negotiating using bad-faith tactics. Conversely, an experienced attorney can carefully evaluate the insurance provider's offer and help negotiate an improved settlement that will cover your medical expenses, accumulated losses, pain and suffering, and other possible damages.
Let Maran & Maran PC Help
Contact Maran & Maran PC today to schedule a simple case assessment with an experienced car accident attorney. I can guide you through the personal injury claims process and help you seek the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and damages. My firm proudly serves clients in Newark and the surrounding areas throughout Northern New Jersey, including Essex County, Sussex County, Passaic County, and Warren County.