At the Law Offices of Jon Friedman, our Oregon car accident attorneys know if you are hurt in a vehicle collision caused by someone else’s negligence, you expect the at-fault party’s insurance provider to contact you to get your side of the story. This is followed by the assumption that this is a fair process will result in compensation for your damages.
Unfortunately, that is usually not what happens. The insurance representative’s job is to conduct an interview, investigate the accident, review the circumstances, assess the available evidence, and determine liability. While it may not be apparent in their tone or demeanor, the insurance representative’s goal is to disrupt or deny your claim.
Our Oregon personal injury attorneys know the best approach is to partner with a law firm that can handle your claim and all communication with the insurance company. However, most injury victims are caught off guard by the call and typically believe the insurance representative is acting in good faith, so they proceed with the conversation.
Before talking to an insurance representative for the at-fault insurance company, you should consult with an Oregon attorney about what to avoid. In general, you should avoid the following:
Do Not Speculate About Details Regarding the Accident
When the insurance representative calls, be polite but do not offer details about the accident if you are unsure about what happened.
Speculating about how the crash occurred and how their policyholder was at fault will place the insurance company on the defensive, which means they will attempt to shift the blame onto you.
- Ask if they admit their driver was at fault for the wreck. If they do, you can speak to them about the property damage and getting your vehicle fixed, but do not talk to them about your injuries.
- Understand that you are not obligated to answer questions, so you can decline to answer at any time.
In addition, if the insurance representative asks to record your statement, politely decline and end the phone call. Some insurance adjusters will lead you to believe it is required during the claims process. However, no law says you have to give them one.
Insurance adjusters request recorded statements, so anything you say during the interview can be used against you. It is easy to inadvertently provide information that could be interpreted in a way that diminishes the severity of your injuries or implies shared fault.
Do Not Talk About Your Injuries
One of the first things insurance representatives ask injury victims is, “Are you okay?” The goal is to get you to say “Yes” or “I’m fine.” They will then use this as evidence that you are not as hurt as you may claim to be later.
While it may seem routine to ask about your injuries because they need to know how severe they are to determine their settlement offer, it is just a way to get you to say something incriminating.
The problem is that the full extent of your injuries may not be apparent. Some injuries may take time to manifest or be accurately diagnosed. Discussing your injuries too early may lead to an incomplete assessment, and you may not be aware of the full extent of your medical condition.
Avoid talking about the extent of your injuries at all by simply saying your medical needs are still being assessed. Chances are, they will press you by asking if anything is broken or if you believe you can go to work the next day. Say you are seeking care and will know more later.
Do Not Accept a Settlement Offer Without Speaking with a Car Accident Attorney First
Insurance companies focus on minimizing their financial liability to pay injury victims little or nothing. They will say things like, “This is the best offer you will get,” even though they do not know the full extent of your injuries, so there is no way for them to tell you what your claim is worth.
Speaking with a skilled Oregon car accident attorney will allow you to understand your complete legal options before you agree to anything. We can guide you on what to say or not say, protect your rights, and help you navigate the complexities of the claims process so that you can seek a fair compensation settlement.
Contact Our Auto Accident Attorneys at the Law Offices of Jon Friedman Today
Contact our Multnomah County auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Jon Friedman at (503)-242-1440 or online today to schedule a free consultation and get the help you need to make informed decisions about the direction of your case.