If you have been injured in a car accident, you know that you will have to call your insurance company and tell them what happened. If you live in Colorado Springs, you should know that Colorado is a fault state regarding automobile insurance. This means that the person who is responsible for the accident is also responsible for the bills of the injured party. Hence, it is important to be careful about what you say to the police and to the insurance adjuster who handles your case.
What to Do at the Scene
When you have an accident, you must pull to the side of the road and call the police. You cannot leave until an officer arrives. When they get there, they will make an accident report on which they will write down everything you say, along with the positions of the two cars and other details of the accident scene.
If anyone appears to be under the influence of alcohol, the police officer will give them a breathalyzer test. If you have been drinking, you will get a ticket, or you may get arrested. If you were driving recklessly, you might get a ticket as well. Your insurance company will receive a copy of the police report.
You should never say the accident was your fault at the scene. An accident can cause a person to go into shock. You may say something that you do not mean. There may be some things you are unaware of, such as the speed the other driver was traveling and whether or not they had their eyes on the road.
What The Insurance Company Will Want to Know
When you first call an insurance agent, they will ask you for some basic information about yourself and your accident. Once you have sent in your documentation, an insurance adjuster will call you and ask you a series of detailed questions.
They may ask you if they can record the conversation, but normally you will not have to let them. Some companies insist their clients allow a recording, but you have the right to ask for a written request to record.
You do not legally have to answer an adjuster’s insurance questions. You only have to tell them your name, address, and insurance policy number. It is always best to speak with a personal injury attorney before you speak to an insurance adjuster.
Typical questions they will ask may include:
- Was the vehicle being driven for business or personal use?
- Is it okay to show the information to other adjusters?
- What injuries do you have as a result of the accident?
- What were the weather conditions?
- Did you have any pre-existing conditions?
- Did you have any alcohol before getting in the car?
If your insurance policy states that you are only covered for the personal use of your vehicle, and you tell them it was used for business, your claim can be denied. This may sound fair, but your definition of using something for work and the insurance companies may differ. For example, if you work for a company and were running personnel or equipment from one place to another at the time of your accident, an insurance company might consider that short trip working and might try to deny your claim.
When you tell an adjuster what injuries you sustained in the accident, you may not be giving them the full picture. If you tell them you have a broken arm, they may not take the severity of the break into consideration.
Not all injuries are immediately apparent. You may talk to your insurance company and tell them you have recovered, only to feel accident-related pain weeks later. Your injuries may affect you in a way that you did not expect. If you tell an insurance adjuster you feel fine, they are unlikely to give you money for pain and suffering.
If you admit to drinking and driving, an insurance company may deny your claim altogether. It may not matter if you were not drunk or you passed a breathalyzer.
Telling an insurance company about previous injuries or medical conditions is also a bad idea. They may believe that injuries you claim were the result of your accident happened because of a different occurrence.
Getting injured in an accident is always a traumatic experience. If your insurance company does not pay you what it should, it can be even worse. Keeping quiet and hiring a great attorney to speak on your behalf will help you get the money you deserve.