Q: Should I give a statement to an insurance company after a car wreck?
Michelle, Florence, AL
A: The short answer is no.
Unless the accident was one where you were stopped at a light and hit from the rear, please don’t give a statement without talking to a personal injury lawyer. This is not a business that lends itself well to high volume. Any accident that involves speed, time, and distance can be presented incorrectly in a statement.
How far away from the other car were you when you first saw it? 75-feet.
How fast were you going? 45 miles-an-hour.
How long was it before you saw the other car before the impact? 10 seconds.
There is no way that can be true. 45 mph is about 60 feet per second. If you saw the other car for 10 seconds then you traveled about 600 feet or two football fields, but you said they were 75 feet away. There is just no way to get it right unless you go to the scene with your lawyer and measure and pace and make sure that your answers are the truth.
Face facts, insurance companies do not want to pay claims. If they can dispute liability, you’re in for a long ride. If they can’t dispute liability, every single time they will dispute the extent or cause of your injuries. I have literally had insurance defense lawyers say that a meniscal tear to a knee is like “lopping off a mole” and that they could probably do it.
A vast majority of claims are evaluated by ICE (injury claims evaluator) or other computer-driven claims programs. The insurance adjuster that you speak with doesn’t have the authority to override the amount of money dictated by a computer. At the end of the day, personal injury law is personal to the individual who was injured. Don’t give a statement unless and until you can do it accurately.
Buckle up, wash your hands, and as always, your referrals are appreciated!