Persons injured in car crash in Kootenai County, Spokane, or elsewhere in Idaho and Washington will suddenly be faced with a barrage of decisions to make. One critical decision is whether to give a recorded statement to the insurance companies involved in the crash. An important distinction must be made. You have a contractual duty to speak with the claims adjust for your own insurance company. For example, most insurance policy contain a med-pay provision, which will pay for some amount of your medical bills, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If you refuse to cooperate with your own insurance company, it may deny your medical benefits.
TWO VERY DIFFERENT INSURANCE POLICIES
By contrast, you have no obligation to speak to the claims adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company, unless the only purpose is to arrange for the repair of your automobile. If you provide a recorded statement to the opposing insurance company concerning your injuries, especially if you are still mentally recovering from the injury, that statement can be used against you if the case ever goes to trial.
PUTTING THE CLAIMS ADJUSTER TO THE TEST
To find out just how providing an interview with the opposing insurance adjuster creates an unfair advantage for the opposing side, ask the adjuster the following questions:
- Will you put in writing the fact that the accident was not my fault?
- Will you tell me the maximum dollar amount of the insurance policy of the person who caused the accident?
- If I give you a recorded statement, will you let me take a recorded statement of the person who caused the accident?
- Will you give me a list of all of my friends, neighbors, and employers you have interviewed thus far? Will you agree to supplement that list in the future after each interview?
- If I sign a medical release, employment release, or tax release, will you agree to send me a copy of all documents you obtain using those releases?
- Will you give me a copy of the recordings you made of any witness interviews?
- Will you send me a copy of the insurance policy of the at-fault driver, including a copy of any “umbrella” policies that exist?
- Will you agree to provide me copies of any video surveillance of me that your investigators you have conducted, within ten days of date of the surveillance? This also means that you have to provide me with a copy of all videos made up until this date.
- Will you provide me with a copy of any background information you have obtained about me from any insurance agency or reporting agencies that produce reports for your company?
If the insurance adjuster agrees to any of these conditions, make sure that the commitment is put in writing. However, that is unlikely to happen because few, if any, claims adjusters will agree to these conditions.
Before taking any signing any documents or taking any steps involving your injury claim, you should first speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.