After a car accident in Georgia, depending on the circumstances, you might need help from your own insurance company for paying damages. Even if the other driver is at fault for your accident, there may be benefits through your own insurance policy related to the accident. However, when you report the accident to your insurance company, you should be careful about what you say.
Six Things to Avoid Saying to Your Georgia Insurance Company After an Accident
Insurance companies do not like paying out claims for auto accidents. Unfortunately, even your own insurance company will look for ways to reduce their costs. They may use something you say against you later. If you are still feeling stressed or discombobulated after the accident, wait until you are calmer and more clearheaded before contacting your insurance company about the accident.
To protect your legal rights, when you do contact your insurer to report the accident, what you say to them about it should be cautious and strategic. That means not saying certain the following.
1. “It Was My Fault”
Do not straight up admit fault after a car accident—even if you feel you might have played a part. While this might feel disingenuous, it’s actually the best thing you can do to protect yourself. There may be extenuating circumstances you don’t yet know about, such as faulty vehicle parts of the fact that the other driver was texting and driving.
Don’t lie, of course, but don’t offer additional details before you have all the facts. Give the details of the accident without any personal opinions or discussion of fault. The insurance companies are responsible for determining fault.
Even if you were partially at fault, the other driver may bear some fault too, which means you may still be able to recover for a percentage of your damages (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). However, if you admit fault out of the gate, you could miss out on this recovery. For this reason, you should also avoid admitting any fault or apologizing in front of the other driver or police after the accident.
2. “I Don’t Have Any Injuries”
Insurance companies are skilled in asking the “right” questions. They might express concern and ask how you are feeling. The polite automatic response for most people to this question is some version of, “I’m fine” or “I feel okay.” But the insurance company can use this simple phrase to claim you weren’t actually hurt in the accident and deny you compensation.
Avoid saying anything definitive about any injuries. Get checked out by a doctor. You could have whiplash, internal bleeding, or something else that you don’t yet know about, and you’ll want to make sure these are covered in your claim. Also, don’t sign any medical release forms from the insurer until you’ve consulted with a car accident attorney.
3. “Sure, I’ll Give a Statement”
The insurance company may ask if you’ll give a recorded statement about the accident. You have no obligation to do this—and it should be avoided until you’ve been able to speak with a lawyer.
4. “Their Name is…”
Avoid giving your insurance company any names of those involved in your treatment or your life, such as your doctor, friends, or family members. If you do end up going to court, you could be asked to divulge contact information for these people or anything you told them about the accident.
5. “Here’s What I Think Happened”
It’s completely okay to answer a question from the insurance company with “I don’t know.” In fact, it’s best to say you don’t know or aren’t sure about most details of the accident. If you aren’t sure how fast you were driving before the accident, for example, don’t try to estimate or guess. This could hurt your compensation later.
6. “I Accept the Offer”
It’s common for insurance companies to reach out to you soon after the accident and offer a lowball settlement upfront. They are hoping the stress of medical bills and missing work will encourage you to take the offer—but it’s usually way less than what will cover your damages.
Do not accept any offers from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company until you’ve spoken to a car accident attorney. A lawyer who understands car accident cases can advocate on your behalf and work towards a settlement that is actually fair to you.
Getting Legal Assistance for Your Georgia Car Accident Case
The bottom line is that insurance companies, unfortunately, cannot be trusted after an auto accident in Georgia—even your own. They are also more likely to approach your claim with more respect if you have retained the services of an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer can advise you on what not to say after an accident and how to seek the compensation you deserve.
At John Foy & Associates, we have developed a strong reputation throughout Georgia over the last 20 years. We are not afraid to stand up to insurance companies and fight for the compensation our clients deserve. That’s why we’ve helped countless car accident victims win their cases—at no-risk. To schedule a FREE consultation with the best attorney for you, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.