Be Careful Who You Speak With After a Car Accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, you are probably emotionally exhausted, and you might very well be physically injured. Speaking to insurance companies—or anyone who is investigating the accident—can not only add stress to your situation but can jeopardize your chances of having your personal injury claim accepted.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, call us at the Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh in Essex County. Our personal injury attorney Stephen D. Walsh has over four decades of experience litigating personal injury cases. With his dedication to each client and their unique case, he is the ideal attorney to help you work toward your goal of receiving the payout that you deserve.
To begin with, however, it’s important to know what not to do after a car accident and when speaking with insurance agents.
What Not to Say at the Scene of the Accident
What you say at the scene of a car accident can come back to haunt you later. Even if you are sure that you caused the accident, you should wait until the police mount an investigation to admit fault outright. This is because it is often extremely difficult to get a true picture of the circumstances around the accident without speaking to witnesses or consulting security footage. You may think you were entirely at fault for an accident, but you may be wrong. You may be only a little at fault, or the other driver might have been entirely at fault. If you admit fault before you know all of the facts, you may raise questions about your liability—especially if there were no witnesses and no security footage.
Of course, you must give your name and ID to the police when they come to the scene of the accident, but never use phrases such as “It was my fault”, “I didn’t see the other driver’s car”, etc. Try to describe only the hard facts about the accident to the police, but do not admit any fault until you talk to a lawyer.
The Role of the Insurance Adjuster
If you do meet the requirements for filing a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, you might receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. They might ask you for a statement about the accident. It is unwise to give a statement before talking to an attorney. The insurance adjuster’s job is to poke holes in your claim and avoid paying out as much money as you probably deserve.
The insurance adjuster will most likely try to use your statement against you and then use that as a justification for reducing your compensation. For example, they might ask you for a report on your injuries; if you give one, but later discover that you are far more injured than you previously thought, the insurance company can use your previous statement to accuse you of inconsistent testimony. They may also ask many questions in an attempt to get you to contradict yourself. Again, you should refuse to give a statement until you have been advised by a lawyer.
Reasons to Speak With A Car Accident Attorney Instead
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning that you can file a claim with your own insurance company if you are injured in a car accident, no matter who caused it. You are required to carry a certain amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage to pay out a certain amount for your medical bills and lost wages, as well as for any bodily injury and property damage you cause. Your PIP coverage should also cover you in case the other driver was uninsured or underinsured.
However, you can pursue a personal injury claim if you can claim $2,000 or more in medical expenses or if you meet certain other criteria for injuries, such as having suffered a permanent disfigurement. Your attorney will be able to let you know whether you qualify and can help you meet the three-year filing deadline for personal injury claims. They can make sure that you have ample evidence in the form of medical records and other documentation and can make sure your paperwork is filed correctly.
Attorneys are also extremely useful in cases of more serious injuries. They will be able to support you while the full extent of your injuries is documented and can aid you in seeking out the correct medical records and proof. In addition, they know how insurance companies work and can provide a valuable resource to help you communicate with them. Finally, they will make convincing arguments in court, which will be especially important if you want to sue for compensation such as pain and suffering damages.
Protect Your Rights and Get Questions Answered
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should have the support of a capable attorney. Call us at the Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh, serving Essex County, including Peabody, Danvers, Salem, and Beverly. We are passionate about advocating for our injured clients and working toward the goal of gaining them the payouts that they deserve. Call us to make an appointment.