How to talk to insurance is something you should not only learn through trial and error. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers seek to help our clients avoid saying the wrong things – and encourage them to say the right things – to maximize the payments they receive.
In general, avoid saying anything that could be construed as an admission of fault. Also, avoid downplaying anything or making it seem like any of the injuries you received were “not that bad.” At the same time, make sure to give all information about how the accident happened and why the other driver is at fault. Make sure to mention all injuries related to your crash so that the insurance company cannot later claim that you failed to mention certain damages. Ultimately, you should also work with a lawyer when speaking with insurance.
Call the South Carolina car accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers for help dealing with insurance companies for a free case review. Our phone number is (803) 451-4000.
Getting a Lawyer to Talk to Insurance After a Car Accident in South Carolina
It is never too early to talk to a lawyer after a car accident. Before you call the other driver’s insurance company and start telling them about the accident, you should speak with a lawyer first. In many cases, your lawyer can be the one to talk to insurance on your behalf or at least explain to you the specific things that you should and should not say to insurance about your specific case.
Remember that South Carolina is an at-fault insurance state. When you talk to the insurance company, you will be dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. They will look for anything you say that can help them deny the claim or blame you for the accident, so what you say is incredibly important. Review your case with a lawyer before entering the lion’s den on your own.
Things Not to Say to Insurance in South Carolina
Insurance companies will be looking for any statements they can use to deny the claim, blame you for the accident, or minimize what they have to pay. As such, there are three main categories of statements you should avoid making to insurance companies after a car accident in South Carolina:
Statements Downplaying the Accident
If you say anything that the insurance company can use to say that the accident didn’t actually happen or that it wasn’t that bad, they won’t hesitate to use those statements against you. For example, describing the crash as merely “bumping into” the other car might make it sound to the insurance company like there wasn’t really a bad crash. Similarly, anything that makes the crash sound like it didn’t happen (e.g., “He almost hit me”) could allow the insurance company to say that they do not have enough evidence that the crash occurred. They could use this info to deny your claim entirely.
Admissions of Fault
If you say anything that makes it sound like you were actually at fault for the accident, the other driver’s insurance company will love that. Any statements that indicate fault or guilt could be construed (or misconstrued) as you admitting to being the one to cause the crash, and insurance companies will pounce on these statements.
If you report saying anything like, “I’m sorry,” or, “My bad,” insurance companies will try to use that as proof that you acknowledged that you caused the crash. Even something like, “I hit him,” could be used as proof that you caused the crash, even if the context makes it obvious that the other driver was actually at fault (e.g., “I hit him… after he swerved into my lane.”)
Insurance companies will use this to prove that you were at least partly at fault, which allows them to reduce the damages they pay you by the proportion of fault you shared in causing the crash. They could also try to claim you were mostly (more than 50%) at fault and deny your claim entirely.
Statements Downplaying Injuries
When you are talking to the insurance company, it isn’t the time to be brave. It is important not to exaggerate your injuries, but you should also avoid downplaying them or saying that they “aren’t that bad.” Insurance companies will use these kinds of statements to deny coverage for injuries entirely or to reduce damages for pain and suffering.
Things You Should Tell Insurance Companies After a South Carolina Car Crash
There are other statements that are very important to make to the insurance company. If you do not say these things, insurance might try to deny the claim or refuse to cover certain injuries and accidents. Again, you can usually review your story with your Columbia car accident lawyer to make sure your story is straight before speaking with insurance representatives:
Say What Happened
It is important to tell the insurance company exactly what happened and how the other driver’s actions caused your crash. If they don’t have a full picture of how the crash happened, it will be impossible for them to make a determination, and your claim will be denied.
Say Who Hit You
Identifying the defendant as their insurance customer is vital. If they can try to claim that someone else was driving the car or that the vehicle must have been stolen, then they can dodge liability for the crash. Make sure to identify the driver who hit you and tell the insurance company who it was.
Tell Them About Your Injuries
Listing all injuries that resulted from the crash is vital. If you leave off injuries, the insurance company will exclude them from the settlement. In many cases, this might mean waiting a few days before calling the insurance company to see if any additional injuries like back injuries or neck injuries make themselves apparent.
Call Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you were injured in a car accident or any other accident, call us before calling the insurance company. For a free case evaluation, contact the Sumter, SC car accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today at (803) 451-4000.