The aftermath of a New York collision can be stressful, especially if you or someone you love has suffered injuries. At the scene, you may have spoken with police officers, paramedics, other witnesses, etc., who may have asked questions, as well as provided support. Someone you should avoid giving a statement to after a car accident, however, is anyone from the other driver’s insurance company.
While it’s important to exchange contact information and at least the name and phone number of the respective insurance companies, you’re under no obligation to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance carrier. In fact, there are several reasons why it’s best to avoid this.
You might develop delayed symptoms of injury after a car accident
The force of impact in a collision might cause you to suffer broken bones, lacerations or contusions. Such injuries are typically immediately apparent. However, if you have a traumatic brain injury, herniated disc or torn meniscus, symptoms might not be present until hours, even days, later.
In order to collect the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled, it is crucial to first know the full extent of your injuries. You have no way of knowing what type of treatment is necessary or what your medical diagnosis will be if you don’t even realize (because of delayed symptoms) that you have suffered a severe injury.
If your case goes through a claims process or trial
By making a statement to the other driver’s insurance agent after a car accident, you run the risk of your own words being used against you if your case goes to trial. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try to minimize or deny claims. If you’ve provided a statement, a claim handler might use it in an attempt to prove that your claim has little or no value.
For instance, if you’ve said something to a police officer or in a deposition that is different from what you told the insurance company, they might point out the inconsistency as a basis to weaken your claim.
Be ready to stand your ground
There have been cases in the past where an insurance company tries to convince a person to give a statement by stating that it’s necessary in order to process a claim. This isn’t true. You are never obligated to provide an official statement to the other driver’s insurance carrier following a car accident.
It is important to note that you will not give up your rights to bring a case in New York if you decline to give a statement.
If the other party involved in the collision was at fault
If you suffered injuries because of another driver’s negligence, you will no doubt want to file a claim with the insurance company. The best way to do this is to contact a knowledgeable New York Personal Injury Lawyer, who can guide you through your rights and responsibilities. This is especially true if the other person’s insurance company is trying to coerce you into giving a statement.