Should You Talk to a Lawyer First or File an Insurance Claim?
Most drivers do not think about what they would do after a crash. They either do not want to think about a crash or they think they will simply figure out what to do if a crash happens.
However, your actions after a crash could go a long way in helping or hurting your claim for compensation. For example, if you talk to the insurance company before talking to a lawyer, you might say things that devalue your claim or give the insurance company a basis for denying your claim.
Below, learn more about the benefits of talking to a lawyer before talking to the insurance company. Learn how insurance company representatives often mislead crash victims and even try to trick them into saying things that hurt their claim.
Call TSR Injury Law for help after a crash. (612) TSR-TIME
Dangers of Talking to the Insurance Company First
Crash victims often contact a lawyer after filing an insurance claim. In some cases, the victims themselves reach out to the insurance company first, while in others, the insurance company contacts the victim first.
While many of these victims may end up recovering compensation, particularly the ones who hire attorneys to represent them, there are some risks in talking to the insurance company before talking to a lawyer. These risks are present even if you only want to file a claim and not discuss much else.
Why Insurers Contact Victims
Consider the reasons why the insurance company would contact a victim first. Are they doing it because they want to ensure you receive the compensation you need? Are they really trying to do their best to help take care of you like their advertisements say they are?
Remember that insurance companies are businesses. Their number one goal is to make a profit so they can stay in business. They would not be able to stay in business if they fairly compensated every person who files a claim. They have an incentive to deny or devalue claims whenever possible. The less they pay on claims, the more profit their shareholder’s gain.
That means the insurance company is probably contacting you to find some way to deny or devalue your claim. To help them accomplish this, they often ask for details about your injuries and what you remember about the crash, but they also may suggest a quick (cheap) settlement “to help you” or ask for information they have no right to. Without legal guidance, damage or elimination may be done to a legitimate claim
Protecting Your Claim When Talking to the Insurance Company
You do not need to have a long conversation about the crash. If you just want to file a claim you can provide the date, time and location of the crash and say you have or are seeking treatment for your injuries. You could also tell the insurance company where your car has been taken. You do not need to discuss anything else and there is no obligation to allow a recording of the conversation.
Getting into a long conversation about the crash plays right into the insurance company’s hands. Insurance company representatives may seem friendly and helpful, but your best interests are not theirs.
Discussing the severity of your injuries may seem harmless, but the insurance company will try to use statements about the seriousness of your injuries against you. Crash victims tend to downplay the severity of their injuries, which can hurt a claim for compensation. If you say, “I’m OK,” or “It is not that bad,” or “I am sure it will go away”, the insurance company may use those statements as a basis to deny your claim or later make a lowball offer.
You may think you know exactly what happened in the crash, but you may have some details wrong. It is human nature to be stressed and mix up or forget key details. Statements you make right after the crash may be contradicted by statements you make later in the claim process or by the police report
No matter what the insurance company tells you, you do not need to settle the claim right away. You do not need to accept the first offer the insurance company makes – this is never the final offer they will make. They are trained to use subtle, and sometimes not subtle, pressure to make victims think they must quickly settle or “lose out.” Some will even threaten the offer will disappear if you call a lawyer or suggest the “lawyer will take some of the settlement so why pay them for the getting the same offer.”
Pros of Talking to a Lawyer First
Despite what the insurance company may tell you, you have the right to talk to a lawyer and you will not be hurting your case. In fact, instead of talking to the insurance company about the crash, you could simply refer them to your lawyer.
The main thing to remember about a lawyer is that he or she will be committed to your best interests. Your attorney’s goal is to secure maximum compensation for your damages, which is also your goal. Compare this to the insurance company, which is looking for a way to deny or underpay your claim. Claimants with attorneys get more compensation offered. Even after paying the attorney fee, you end up with more. There is usually no fee for property damage, undisputed medical bills or wage loss so the insurance is lying by suggesting you would get less if you hire an attorney. The opposite is true. You get more, do not have to deal with the insurance and the paperwork will be done correctly.
Once you hire an attorney, your conversations are protected by attorney-client privilege. That means the things you discuss cannot be disclosed to the insurance company and potentially used against you. For example, you may be concerned about how your preexisting medical issues may affect your claim, and you can have a private conversation about this with your attorney. You can also discuss concerns you may have about being partially at-fault for the crash.
Your Lawyer is Committed to Your Best Interests
By calling a lawyer first, you can get an objective opinion about whether you may have a valid case. Attorneys are unlikely to recommend filing a claim unless they think there is a case, and they are likely to obtain compensation. Injury attorneys, like those at TSR Injury law, do not get paid unless their clients get paid.
Injured in a Car Crash? TSR Injury Law is Here to Help
Have questions about what to do after a crash? Unsure about your options for pursuing compensation?
It is often in the best interest of a car crash victim to seek legal help from an experienced attorney. At TSR Injury Law, we have been helping car crash victims for over 25 years and have secured millions in compensation on their behalf.
An initial consultation with a licensed Minneapolis auto accident attorney is free. There are also no upfront fees for our services.
Learn more. Call today for legal assistance. (612) TSR-TIME