In a typical car accident scenario, the parties to the collision exchange names, contact information and insurance carrier information. The drivers then go home and contact their insurance company and give them the details of the accident. The insurance company will then review the information and may attempt to make contact with the driver or occupants of the other vehicle to try and settle the matter. If you have recently been involved in a Yakima car accident and an insurance company other than your own tries to contact you, do not talk to them for any reason until you have first retained a Yakima car accident attorney to represent you.
An insurance company will typically look at the facts of the accident as presented to them by their insured, as well as review the police report filed by law enforcement, and then make a preliminary determination of fault. If they determine that their insured was at fault, they will send the case to a claims handler to try and resolve the case as quickly as possible. This is the person who will try and make contact with you.
Getting Your Version of Events
Often, a claims handler will call and tell you that they simply want “your version of events.” There is no legal reason for you to talk to them. Furthermore, it rarely ever helps you to do so. Although you may think that the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver, and that giving your version of events cannot possibly do any harm, the truth is that it likely can. You could inadvertently admit something that makes the accident partially your fault, which will result in less compensation for you in the long run. Remember that you do not owe the claims adjuster anything and that you are under no obligation to talk to them, despite anything they may insinuate to the contrary.
The Settlement Offer
An insurance claims adjuster may also call and indicate that they are hoping to settle the case with you as soon as possible. In this scenario, the adjuster will make it sound as if it is to your benefit to accept a settlement offer as quickly as possible. Often, an injured victim who has already lost time off of work and is facing repairs to a vehicle, along with hospital bills, is talked into accepting a settlement offer that is far less than what he or she deserves given the injuries sustained in the accident. Remember this — if a claims adjuster is calling you trying to settle, this usually means that their insured was negligent, meaning at fault, in the accident. If their insured was negligent, then you are already ahead of the game and are likely entitled to considerably more compensation than what they are offering. A settlement offer rarely goes down when a victim retains the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney.
Retaining an Attorney
From the moment you retain the services of an attorney, your attorney will do the talking for you. If it is in your best interest to talk to the insurance company, then you will do so with your attorney present. When it comes time to talk about a settlement, you will do that with the assistance of your attorney to ensure that your settlement covers all of your present and future medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering that are a result of the accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident in the Yakima area, contact the car accident attorneys at The Mariano Morales Law before talking to the other driver‘s insurance company. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or using our online form for your free initial consultation.