A motor vehicle accident can take an ordinary day and turn it into a painful, chaotic ordeal in a matter of seconds. California car accident victims are suddenly dealing with questions from police, emergency responders and others. The last thing on their minds may be dealing with insurance companies. Nevertheless, an insurance payout may be the only way to pay for the repairs and medical bills that are likely ahead, so it is important to know exactly what to say and what not to say to an insurance agent.
Contacting the insurance company as soon as possible after an accident is a smart idea. Consumer advocates recommend that policyholders take notes whenever they speak to the insurance company, including names, job titles and phone numbers of those with whom they correspond. Documenting the claim is also important. This includes taking pictures and keeping careful records of the mounting expenses following the accident.
While it is important for an accident victim to be straightforward and honest with the insurance company, it is never a good idea to offer a written or recorded statement or to sign any release forms without obtaining legal advice. Neither is it wise for accident victims to accept a settlement check until they have a complete picture of their injuries and future expenses. Wise policyholders will also review their policies to fully understand their coverage so they will recognize when an agent is treating them unfairly.
Since dealing with insurance companies can be risky and confusing, many leave it up to a skilled California attorney. Recovering from injuries should be the primary focus of an accident victim. Leaving the red tape and negotiations to an experienced attorney has helped many obtain the compensation they deserve.