Motor vehicle collisions happen every day in the Stockton area. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that 6,440 people were injured or killed in car crashes in 2019 in San Joaquin County alone. You might be the safest and most cautious of drivers, but you could still end up in a major traffic collision. It is imperative that you know how to navigate the claims process.
Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. In far too many cases, injured victims hurt their own case—and their ability to recover full financial compensation—by saying the wrong thing to an insurance company representative. Here, our Stockton auto accident lawyers highlight five things that you should avoid saying to an insurance adjuster after a car crash in California.
Avoid Saying These Five Things to the Insurance Company After a Car Crash
- “I Was At Fault” or “I Might Have Been At Fault”
California is a fault-based car accident state. If you are found to be even partially at fault for your own crash, your financial compensation—settlement or verdict—will be reduced. Do not admit or accept any fault for the accident when speaking to an insurance adjuster. The reality is that it is simply not your job to figure out who was at fault. If you admit or accept fault, your statement can be used against you.
Going through a car accident is stressful. Even when a person does not actually think that they were responsible for causing the accident, they may still say “sorry” as a reflex or to be polite. Avoid using the word “sorry” or any similar language when speaking to an insurance adjuster. You do not want your words to be taken out of context and used to argue that you are admitting culpability.
- “I Think”
As a general rule, you should avoid any statement that starts with the words “I think.” Never speculate when speaking to an insurance adjuster. You should not be saying anything that you do not absolutely know to be true. You are not required to engage in speculation about an accident, nor is it in your best interest to do so.
- “I am Feeling Fine” or “It Wasn’t that Bad”
Insurance adjusters are looking for information about your health and medical condition. Once again, too many people inadvertently downplay the severity of their own injuries when trying to be polite or stoic. Do not say that you are “feeling fine” or that your injuries “weren’t that bad.” Let the medical records speak for themselves.
- “Yes, I Will Give a Recorded Statement”
You are under no legal obligation to give a recorded statement to an insurance company after a crash. If the insurance adjuster asks you to provide a recorded statement, politely decline and invoke your right to work through a Stockton, CA car accident attorney. The insurance company wants to keep people talking as much as possible to find information that they can use against them.
Protect Your Claim By Working With Insurance Adjusters Through an Attorney
Insurance companies are not neutral third parties. They are profit-making enterprises that are motivated primarily by doing what is best for their own bottom line. In other words, the insurance company is looking out for its own financial interests—not the financial interests of you and your family. Insurance companies train their individual adjusters to try to get people to say things that they can then use to deny or devalue an underlying claim.
The best step that you can take to protect your legal rights after a serious car accident is to retain an experienced personal injury attorney. Always work with insurance adjusters through a lawyer. When you hire an attorney, the insurance company can no longer reach out to you directly. They are legally required to work through the entire claims process through your legal counsel.
Get Help From a Car Accident Lawyer in Stockton, California
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton auto accident attorneys have the skills and expertise to hold the big insurance companies accountable for paying claims. You do not have to navigate the personal injury claims process alone. If you have any questions about handling insurance adjusters after an automobile collision, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today for your free, no-commitment car accident injury consultation. From our office locations in Stockton, Sutter Creek, Sacramento, and Tracy, we are well-positioned to handle claims throughout Central California.