Following a car accident injury caused by another driver, it may seem that you have to talk to the other party’s insurance company and provide information to them. This is particularly true when you are hurt and concerned about getting medical bills paid. Here are some general principles to follow:
- In most motor vehicle accidents in Oregon and Washington, your own insurance company is supposed to pay your accident related medical bills through the PIP (personal injury protection) benefits of your own automobile policy. Until you have exhausted the PIP limits of your policy, you do not need the other driver’s insurance company to pay anything.
- My suggestion is to provide your name, and confirm the date, approximate time and location of the accident. However, do not discuss how the accident occurred with the other adjuster. You can tell the adjuster that you wish to consult with an attorney first. Another option is to say that you are not willing to discuss any other specifics of the accident until after your medical treatment is completed and you are able to assess the extent of your injuries.
- Take the insurance adjusters first and last name, address, phone and fax numbers, and email address if they use one.
- Do not discuss your injuries, or provide any medical release or other releases. If you are ready to settle a case and want to do it on your own, then only allow access to records pertaining to the treatment for the injuries. If the insurance company wants other records pertaining to prior injuries or treatment, you really should consult with an attorney first.
- If the other driver’s adjuster asks you whether there are any witnesses, you can ask whether the insurance company knows of any witnesses, and that you will let the adjuster know of any witnesses that you know about when you are ready to settle the case.
- Remain polite. Many adjusters are nice, but they are human and they have bad days also. Some insurance adjusters seem bored, testy, unpleasant or sometimes even hostile. It is better to take the high road.
- Remember that the other driver’s insurance adjuster is there to save the insurance company money; it is not his or her job to provide you with fair compensation.
- Request that the insurance adjuster communicate with you in writing.
- Consult with an attorney. Personal injury consultations are free. Experience shows that in almost all cases you will achieve better compensation and a better end result if you use an attorney that is experienced both in negotiating with insurance companies and litigating claims against the other driver (really the driver’s insurance company) in court.
I am an auto accident injury attorney that enjoys helping clients achieve maximum compensation for their claims. Feel free to call Brad Schrock for a free consultation.