If you have ever been involved in an automobile accident, especially a reasonably serious one, you know there is a lot to deal with. The scene of the accident can be almost surrealistic, with the potential presence of multiple crash victims, police officers, EMTs/medical personnel, and bystanders. And that’s just the beginning. Emergency medical treatment is necessary for anyone with serious injuries, and follow-up medical treatment can last for months and even years.
Following an accident, your insurance company must investigate property damage and personal injuries – a process that ropes in claims adjusters and attorneys. You will find yourself filling out forms and conducting interviews with your insurance company. However, knowing who to give those interviews to is crucial to the integrity of your claim. In this blog, we will discuss whether a person injured in an accident should talk to the other party’s lawyer after an accident.
Who is contacting me?
It may be surprising to learn that some injury victims talk and give interviews to people without really understanding who they are talking to. For example, law enforcement officers usually have follow-up questions, as will a crash victim’s insurance company. Similarly, the insurance companies and lawyers for any other parties involved in the accident may be calling with questions. It is important to understand that you can harm your case if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person. Below, we will examine some of these examples in more detail.
What are my obligations to my own insurance company?
You’ll find the answer to this question in your insurance policy. Most policies require an insured person to cooperate with the insurance company and provide information within a specific timeframe. However, even your own insurance company can have a financial interest that conflicts with your best interest, especially if your uninsured motorist coverage comes into play.
Thus, your best bet is to speak with your attorney, who can guide you through the process. You could inadvertently provide inaccurate information if you misunderstand a question or form. If you give an incorrect statement, the other party’s attorney may use it against you. Thus, while it is imperative to comply with your policy requirements, we also advise you to speak with an attorney.
Why would another party’s lawyer or insurance company call me?
After a severe accident, multiple parties will attempt to investigate the circumstances of the accident. These other parties will almost certainly have their own financial interests to protect. Let’s look at an example.
Assume you are seriously injured in an accident when Michael speeds around a curve and hits you. Michael is also injured and hires a lawyer.
When Michael reports the claim to his insurance company, he provides a version of events in which he is not negligent. You may be contacted by the claim adjuster for Michael’s insurance company, who is hoping that in an interview, you will make statements beneficial to Michael’s version of the accident and harmful to your own. This is how the insurance company safeguards its financial interests. Similarly, a lawyer for Michael’s insurance company may attempt to interview you.
Finally, even Michael’s personal injury attorney (who likely will be different from the insurance company attorney) may attempt to speak with you, hoping to obtain admissions from you that could benefit Michael’s personal injury claim. However, you have no legal obligation to answer these questions at that point in time. Therefore, it would be best not to interact with the other party’s insurance company or attorney until you speak with yours.
Call with Questions
If you have been injured in an accident, you likely will have questions about your rights. We are here to answer them in a free consultation. Plus, we can guide you and handle many of your communications with adverse parties. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield handle injury cases all over Oregon. We know how to deal with insurance companies and their attorneys. Plus, we will fight to maximize your recovery because we believe that the best way to make the roads safer for everyone is to hold accountable those who negligently cause accidents.