How you should deal with the other insurance company after an accident
If you’ve filed a car accident claim against another driver in Seattle or elsewhere in Washington state, that driver’s insurance company will contact you to try to get as much information as possible about what happened. To the unsuspecting person, this may not seem like a big deal, but the insurance company is getting information so they can use it against you in the future. I strongly suggest that if you haven’t yet consulted a lawyer, you do not speak to the other person’s insurance company following an accident. As a business that is focused on profit first, the insurance companies are looking for anything that can help them deny or lower your claim.
The main tactics that insurance companies use are what I like to call the “3 D’s,” which is delay, deny, and defend.
The delay tactic is one that can certainly frustrate a victim of an accident, and potentially ruin an auto accident claim by stringing it out for too long. An insurance company will do this hoping that the victim will forget about the case and move on, or to have it pass the statute of limitations. In the State of Washington, this is three years, so make sure if you are close to exceeding this with your claim, that you seek out the advice of an attorney immediately. The insurance company will also deny. The most important reason to not talk to the other insurance company before consulting an attorney is because you could say something that you don’t necessarily mean. If you allow the insurance company to record their conversation with you, then this could be especially devastating to your case. The shock of an accident and injury can often cause a person to say the wrong thing, and this will make it very easy for the insurance company to deny your claim. Finally, they will defend. At a certain point, the insurance company will realize that you have a legitimate case and they’ll have to fight it. They have lawyers on staff for this very reason, and if you have provided some kind of statement early on in the process, you can be sure that they will break it down for all it is worth. Just remember once it gets to this point, that if you talked to them early in the process without the advice of an attorney, they may be able to use some of what you said against you.
There is nothing to lose by seeking out initial advice from a seasoned Seattle personal injury attorney, because the consultation will be free. As I do with my clients, an attorney will be able to tell you whether or not you have a viable case and become the main point of communication with the insurance companies so you won’t have to.
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