| Read Time: 7 minutes | Car Accident

If you have been in an accident, you will likely need to file an insurance claim with either your own insurer or another person’s insurance company. If you got into a car accident with an uninsured motorist, for example, you may need to file an insurance claim with your own auto insurer.

On the other hand, if you were injured on a negligent property owner’s premises, you may have to file a claim with their insurance company. Regardless of the insurer you are dealing with, it is important to know how to deal with insurance companies after an accident.

Reach out to us today by dialing (770) 988-5252 or getting in touch through our online platform to set up a complimentary consultation.

What To Tell Insurance After An Accident

In some instances, you may be required to notify your own insurance company about an accident, as well as work with another party’s insurer. Most auto insurance policies in Georgia require that you notify your own insurance company after a car accident, even if it was minor and you were not at fault. If you sustained several losses during the same car accident, you may also have to file a claim with the negligent party’s insurer for damages

Any time you speak with any insurance company, you may have to provide them with certain information. It is okay to provide the following:

  • Basic details: You will need to provide the insurer with the details of the accident, but you should keep the information to a minimum. Tell them only that there was an accident, where the accident occurred, and the injuries and other losses you sustained. If the insurer asks for any other information, you should direct them to your personal injury lawyer.
  • Photographs and video footage: After any accident it is important to take pictures and, if possible, video footage of the accident scene, what caused your accident, the injuries you sustained, and anything else relevant to the accident. You can give these to the insurance company to prove your claim.
  • Your medical documents: When proving your claim to the insurance company, you must prove the full amount of damages you sustained, which includes your medical treatment. You should submit the medical records to the insurance company to prove how much your treatment is costing you.
  • The accident report: Just as you should always take pictures of the accident scene, you should also always file a report. A report can come in the form of an accident report written and filed by law enforcement after a car crash, or an incident report if you were hurt on the property of a business. Regardless of what type of report applies to your case, provide the insurance company with a copy.

The above are just a few items that you may have to give your insurance company after an accident. Before submitting any information, you should always have a personal injury lawyer review it to ensure you are not hurting your case by giving it to the insurer.

What Not To Say To The Insurance Company After An Accident

Just as there is certain information you should give the other driver’s insurance company after an accident, there are also specific things you should not provide.

These include:

  • Admission of fault: You should never say anything to the insurer that indicates you were even partly at fault for an accident. They will use this against you to reduce, deny, or delay the full amount of damages you deserve. Even saying you are sorry the accident happened at all will be taken as an admission of guilt, so never apologize to the insurer or at the scene.
  • Voluntary information: Directly answer any question the insurance company asks you about the accident, but do not volunteer information, particularly if you are unsure of the answer. Do not guess or speculate. Instead, stick to the facts and if you are unsure, simply say you do not know.
  • Medical release: A personal injury lawyer can advise on whether you are legally obligated to sign a medical release, but in many cases you are not. A medical release gives the insurer access to your medical records, which they will use against you.
  • Recorded statements: Never allow an insurance company to record your statements. They will use your own words against you in the future to deny or reduce your claim.

A personal injury lawyer will ensure you do not provide anything to the insurer that will hurt your case.

What Happens If You Don’t Tell Your Insurance About An Accident?

You should always report any accident to your own insurance company right away. It is most likely required under the terms of your policy. Failure to alert your insurance company about an accident could result in a denial of coverage. That means they might not cover repairs to your vehicle after an accident or deny liability coverage if you are deemed partially liable for the other driver’s damages. There’s also a chance they might cancel your policy when it’s up for renewal. Getting canceled by your carrier is never good and could result in higher insurance premiums with the next company. 

There’s also an assumption that if you don’t report the accident to your insurance, you might not have reported it to the police. If anyone sustained injuries in the accident, you must report it to law enforcement. Failure to do so could result in fines and possibly a license suspension. 

Should I Admit Fault To My Insurance Company?

Just as we stated about not admitting fault to another insurance company, it’s best to keep your statements simple and factual. Do not say you think you might have some liability. If your case winds up in litigation, you don’t want the other side subpoenaing any documentation that might show you believe you have some fault. Your insurance company will conduct its investigation and do its best to find liability for the other driver. 

In most cases, your insurance company will handle repairs on your vehicle if you have collision coverage. You might not know that your insurance company will pursue a subrogation claim against the other driver’s carrier. Sometimes, these claims wind up in arbitration. Your statement to your own insurance company might be included as evidence. If there’s information in there that indicates you believe you’re at fault, the arbitrator will likely side with the other insurance company. 

Should I Talk To The Other Insurance Company After An Accident?

It’s best if you don’t have to speak with the other insurance company. When a personal injury lawyer represents you, the other party’s insurance company cannot communicate directly with you. Instead, all communication goes through your lawyer. That’s why we encourage you not to independently give a recorded statement to the insurance company without consulting a lawyer. Otherwise, you could inadvertently say something that jeopardizes your case. 

The other driver’s insurance company will discourage you from hiring an attorney, especially at the start of the claim. It’s not because they are looking out for you. It’s because they want you to speak with them and share details they can use against you in a personal injury claim. 

What Questions Do Insurance Companies Ask After An Accident?

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with some of the typical questions that insurance companies might ask you after a car accident. Here are some examples of the most common questions we know adjusters ask injury victims, including some designed to look for inconsistencies in your story. 

1. Can you walk me through what happened in the moments leading up to the accident?

With this question, the adjuster hopes you will say something that shows you were distracted or something else that shows you were at least partially responsible for the accident. Follow-up questions might include things about what you were doing immediately before the collision, whether you were using your phone, or whether there was something else that might’ve distracted you. 

2. Did you consume any alcohol or drugs on the day of the accident? 

Even if you had alcohol much earlier in the day, the insurance adjuster will try to argue that you were still impaired. Because there’s no blood test, there’s no way to prove either way. Be careful with prescription medications. If you are taking medication that impacts your reaction time or impairs your driving ability in another way, the adjuster will also argue that the accident is your fault.  

3. Could you have done anything to prevent the accident?

This question is a tricky one. The adjuster wants to establish that you could’ve done something that could’ve prevented the accident but that you were too distracted in some way. 

4. Did you seek medical treatment immediately following the accident? If not, why not?

The adjuster is looking for delays in treatment and reasons they can use to deny your personal injury claim. They will argue that your injuries must not be that severe if you did not call 911 or see a doctor right away. 

5. Do you have any pre-existing health conditions or injuries that might have impacted your current injuries from this accident?

At-fault parties are supposed to take the victims “as they find them,” which means you should not be penalized if you have a pre-existing condition made worse by the accident; you are entitled to receive compensation for worsening of your injuries. 

6. Did you follow the doctors’ orders? Was there any lapse in your treatment? 

With these questions, adjusters want to establish that you did not follow the doctor’s orders or skipped some treatments. In these situations, the adjuster can argue that you contributed to the severity of your injuries. You might hear this referred to as not “mitigating” your damages. The other driver is responsible for any injuries they cause, but that doesn’t mean you can not follow doctors’ orders or their treatment plan and still recover your full compensation. 

7. Have you filed a personal injury claim before?

Adjusters want to establish a pattern that you are the type of person who files many claims. It doesn’t matter if they were valid claims. The adjuster’s purpose is to argue that you are just litigious and will try to scare you by saying they will paint you in an unflattering light if your case goes to trial. 

Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers In Atlanta Before Speaking To The Insurer

Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with, and it can be difficult to know what you should and should not provide them. At MG Law, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help you understand how to deal with insurance companies after a car accident. We have the necessary experience working with insurance companies, and obtaining the fair settlement accident victims deserve. We want to put that experience to work for you. Call us today at (770) 988-5252 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury. He stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.