After my accident, a claims adjuster for the other driver wants to talk to me. Should I cooperate?

Question

After my car accident, a claims adjuster for the other driver wants to talk to me. Should I cooperate?

Answer

If you have been in a car accident, there are probably at least two insurance companies involved: your own car insurance carrier and the insurance company for the other party. After the crash, one of the first things you should do is contact your car insurance company and let them know about the accident. As part of the terms of your policy, you’re under a legal obligation to co-operate with your own car insurance company, and that includes answering questions about the accident, making your damaged vehicle available for inspection, and providing relevant documentation related to the accident and your claim.

It’s a different story when it comes to the insurance company for the other driver -- both in terms of what you’re legally obligated to do, and what you should (and shouldn’t) do in order to protect your claim and your own best interests. And speaking of your best interests, always remember that the insurer for the other driver does not have them in mind when dealing with you. What they do hold very dear is the prospect of eliminating or reducing the other driver’s liability for causing the car accident, because doing so will get them off of the financial hook.

At every point in the claims process, be very careful about what you say to the other driver’s insurance company. Wherever possible, limit your communication to brief and professional letters, providing only necessary objective information (the date of the accident, your own insurance policy information, your contact information, the names of witnesses to the accident, etc.).

Don’t volunteer any information, and don’t speculate on any issue that you’re not sure about. Less is more when communicating with the other side’s insurance adjuster. Finally, you don’t have to (and you shouldn’t) give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.

If you have retained a lawyer to handle your car accident claim, your best and safest strategy is to decline to provide any information to the car insurance adjuster, and simply refer them to your attorney.

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