Should You Talk to the At-Fault Party's Auto Insurance Company?
You had a car accident due to another driver's negligence on the roads of Oklahoma City. Now, you have to file a claim against the liable driver's insurance company in order to pursue compensation for those injuries. Should you contact the liable party's insurance company directly? Communicate with them about the accident?
The short answer is, no, you should not communicate directly with the at-fault driver's insurance company following a car accident in Oklahoma City, OK. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC, to learn more about your rights and how to manage an insurance claim.
Why Shouldn't You Talk to the Insurance Company Directly After a Car Accident?
Following a car accident, you should not contact the insurance company directly for a number of reasons.
1. The insurance company may try to trick you into accepting fault, or at least partial fault, for the accident.
Oklahoma law applies "comparative fault" standards to car accident claims. In short, when you get into an accident, the liable driver's insurance company will pay out for the damages to the other driver's vehicle and for the costs sustained by that driver, as well as any passengers in the vehicle, in treating injuries related to the accident. However, under comparative fault law, the liable driver's insurance company is only liable for those injuries up to the percentage of the liability for the accident borne by the liable driver.
Suppose, for example, that you suffer injuries in a car accident, and the insurance companies deem you 20% liable for the accident. In that case, you might only receive compensation for 80% of the damages you faced.
If the insurance company can convince you to accept liability, even partial liability, for the accident, it can reduce the compensation the company has to pay out--and the compensation you can recover for those damages.
2. The insurance company might try to minimize your injuries or their impact on your life.
The more serious your injuries, and the more financial damages you face along with those injuries, the more the insurance company has to pay out. On the other hand, if the insurance company can minimize the impact of those injuries, it may not have to pay out as much in compensation for your suffering. The insurance company may use even minor things, like small talk made with the adjuster during the phone call, to try to prove that you do not deserve the compensation you have claimed.
3. The insurance adjuster might pressure you to accept a low settlement offer.
Many insurance companies, as a matter of policy, do not offer the compensation a car accident victim really deserves in the initial consultation after the accident. Instead, the insurance company will provide a settlement offer that is only a relatively small percentage of the compensation the victim really deserves. Many insurance adjusters will pressure car accident victims to accept those offers, rather than giving them time to discuss the offer with an attorney. If you accept that offer, however, it could minimize the compensation you can recover later.
What Should You Do Instead After an Accident?
Instead of communicating with the liable party's insurance company directly after an accident, talk to an attorney. An attorney can help go over the conditions that led to your accident to establish the other driver's liability, give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve, and avoid any traps set out by the insurance company that might minimize the compensation you can recover. Contact Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC, in Oklahoma City online today or call (405) 607-1400 to set up a free consultation after your accident.