Many callers ask us whether they should give a statement to the insurance company for the driver who caused an accident.
We advise that you should NEVER do that without the prior advice of an attorney. Here’s why.
Why You Shouldn’t Give a Statement To The Other Driver’s Insurance Company
You are handing over a tremendous advantage to the other side when you talk to a trained interviewer about the facts of an accident, and about your injuries. Insurance companies for the other driver can contact you immediately after an accident and if you volunteer information to them before you understand what you might be getting into, you can do tremendous damage to your claim—even if you are “telling the truth.” That’s because a lot of the information they ask you about has nothing to do with facts such as who ran the light, what color the other car was, or what day of the week this happened.
Here’s what the other side really wants to get from you in an interview:
- Test out the strengths and weakness of your case—maybe it’s not clear who ran a stop sign, or whether you have any witnesses who can back you up. The other side wants to know right from the start if they can poke holes in your story—and you just might help them do it by talking to them!
- Size you up—how you come across has a big impact as to how your case will be evaluated by a jury, and certainly as to how an insurance company views you as a risk. If you don’t come across as believable, the value of your case drops fast. And people who are angry, hostile or confused (like you are after an accident you didn’t cause) don’t come across well. They are easy to manipulate and they may say things they would regret later.
- Get information from you that can hurt your case—a common mistake people make in statements and depositions is that they offer information that reflects badly upon them, even if it isn’t directly related to the case. For example, you may have a drunk driving conviction in your past, or child support arrearages. Or perhaps you hurt your neck while you were in the service, or in another accident years ago. All of these things will be turned into “negatives” to make you and your case look less worthy….you have to disclose these things at some point, but the time for that is not over the phone to your opponent.
- Get you to pin yourself down—you would be surprised how poorly most people judge time, distance and speed. If you give a statement about these factors, or about any matter that can be investigated, and you are wrong (or you tried to hide something), your statement will come back to haunt you. A jury doesn’t have to like you, but they have to believe you. Don’t say something now that blows up on you later.
You can see that we feel very strongly that an accident victim should NEVER give a statement to the other side in an injury incident that was not your fault. The way insurance companies tend to look at claimants is that they are “guilty until proven innocent.” Get legal advice before you give a statement to the other side.
For help with your car accident claim in Michigan, speak with a trusted attorney today by calling 1-866-22Not33 or by reaching us through our contact page today.