Tenterfield Star

Things to avoid saying to your insurance company after a car accident

Things to avoid saying to your insurance company after a car accident

This article is in partnership with Smiths Lawyers.

If you're involved in a car accident, you may know to follow specific steps. You know to assess the situation, contact the police, and exchange details with the third party. You're probably also aware to contact your insurance company.

While insurance companies are responsible for paying out claims if you suffer an accident, there are instances where what you choose to say negatively impacts your claim. We're going to discuss six statements to avoid making to your insurance company after an accident:

1. "It's my fault."

Even if you consider yourself an awful driver, never acknowledge guilt. While you might feel the need to apologise to the third party, police, or your insurance company - don't. It is not your responsibility to make assumptions surrounding guilt but merely to bring forward a report for a claim. In addition, do not provide details that are not asked for.

If you wish to bring forward a dispute, you can do so at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). Where the damage amount is less than $1,500, it will be directed to mediation, but if more than that but less than $25,000, it will be dealt with as a minor civil proceeding.

2. "No, I'm fine."

When questions surrounding your injuries are made, be as frank as possible about any pain or abrasions. It is recommended that you visit a medical professional to run a complete physical assessment.

Often, we physically feel fine but could suffer from head trauma or internal bleeding, which can be fatal. Ensuring early on that you have been assessed and that your insurance company knows the exact magnitude of your health and injuries is imperative.

Providing false statements surrounding your injuries can be detrimental, so only make a statement about your physical wellbeing once a professional has confirmed such.

3. "I don't have a lawyer."

Should you stipulate that you have no legal representation, this may open you to manipulation. Try to avoid mentioning this at the beginning stages of a claim. If you have legal representation, be sure to include them in the process and meetings.

It may not be necessary to have legal representation when making claims, but it's recommended. Engaging legal advisors like Smiths Lawyers, for example, could be the difference between winning and losing a matter.

4. "I accept this offer."

Most insurance companies offer the lowest valued settlement first. It is essential to know the extent of damage done to your vehicle. A dealership or compensation attorney will provide an overview of a fair and reasonable settlement value.

So, avoid being quick to accept offers and try, where possible, to negotiate or have your attorney do so on your behalf.

5. "These are all the recorded statements"

To their benefit, the insurance company will scrutinise and evaluate all record statements, including police reports, photographs, medical examinations, and vehicle damage assessments. You are not required to produce any recorded statement of any format and only do so upon the advice of your attorney.

6. "I think... in my opinion"

It's imperative to stick to facts, even if this means that you have a few missing spots in your case. Stating what you know is better than speculation or fluff. Where you are questioned about something you do not know of, request to bypass this question and make it known that you do not know of this.

As previously mentioned, all the evidence that you produce can form part of your case, and intentionally admitting fault or negligence might result in an unsuccessful claim.

7. "This is X personal information"

If you want to avoid the third party receiving endless negotiation calls from your insurance company, it is best to provide a limited amount of information about them. Your insurance company does not need information about other parties you know. Sometimes insurance companies can contact employers to check in with your recovery, and if it is seemingly less severe than made out to be, settlements can be lowered.

In conclusion

In car accident claims, be as honest and direct as possible, without making the above mistakes. After you report your accident to the police, you should receive a medical evaluation to determine any harm and its magnitude.

Once you have completed that assessment and received a valuation of the patrimonial damage to your vehicle, approach your insurance company so that you can begin the claims procedure.

They need to be aware that they will be receiving a claim application.

If you are unhappy with the outcome and wish to dispute it, it would be best to exhaust all internal remedies available by your insurance company before seeking alternative solutions. If that remains unsuccessful, you can raise a dispute with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.