After a car accident, you do not have to provide a statement to another person’s insurance company. You might have to provide a statement to your insurance company in the event of a car accident. Every insurance company’s job is to protect their customers with settlements in the event of a problem. Second to that, their job is to settle claims for as little money as possible.
Do you have to give one? Not necessarily right away, and you never have to do so under duress. Let’s have a look at how this works.
Insurance Companies Settlements in South Carolina
In 2019, South Carolina insurance companies paid out approximately $5.9 billion in direct property or casualty losses. You are not alone. They are paying out every day. In 2020, there were approximately 890 fatal car crashes that resulted in 992 fatalities.
That’s a lot of settlement money that South Carolina insurance companies are shelling out. They try to avoid the largest possible settlement, and they do that by conducting investigations into the collisions.
Part of those investigations involves getting statements from the drivers, passengers, and sometimes witnesses.
If you are worried about an insurance company demanding a statement, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer at McCravy Law for a free consultation, and we’ll help you with this one.
What Insurance Companies Can’t Do
After a car accident, most people try to do the right thing and explain how things happened. It’s human nature. You may feel like you have to tell the authorities and your insurance company everything so that this all gets settled and taken care of right away.
Insurance companies know this. Try not to speak to them too much if you don’t have to. And if you feel weird about being asked to provide a statement, talk to a lawyer right away.
You could hurt or delay the settlement of your claim if you talk too much. They know this. There are things they can and can’t do. They are looking for who is at fault and will do anything to lessen their liability.
They will try to interpret the things you say in a statement in a different way than you intended. They may ask leading questions that lead you to downplay the accident or trauma you are suffering. They may also ask about any pre-existing conditions you had before the accident. This is their way of trying to suggest that some of your current health problems after an accident are due to your pre-existing condition.
All of that is legal. It is also all tricky. This is why if you are asked to provide a statement or answer questions, it’s always best to consult with a lawyer first.
According to Title 38, the code for South Carolina insurance laws, here are the things an insurance company can not do:
- Knowingly misrepresent pertinent facts or policy clauses
- Provide deceptive or misleading information regarding coverages
- Fail to acknowledge with reasonable promptness communications regarding your claims
- Fail to act in good faith by failing to settle with you when you are entitled to it
- Offer to settle a claim for an amount that is less than what is reasonable because they are anticipating attorney’s fees to come into play
- Threaten to rescind the policy if you don’t do exactly what they say
- Knowingly perform any reasonable delay in settling.
To sum, South Carolina insurance companies are required to act swiftly and in good faith when a car accident claim comes up. They may delay settling to get you closer to the statute of limitations when it is too late to sue them. Or, they may threaten you to settle for less than what you are entitled to.
The statement issue is just one of many reasons why millions of car accident victims get a lawyer every year.
What to do If an Insurance Company Asks for a Statement
If an insurance company asks for a statement, you are permitted to decline politely. It’s not a bad idea to get a personal injury attorney or car accident attorney in South Carolina. Once you have a lawyer, all communication must go through your counsel, which will prevent you from saying anything that may hurt your case.
Generally speaking, you should not provide another person’s insurance company with a statement. That said, you may need to interact with them before you have a lawyer. Here are some of the things you should do if you are contacted by an insurance company representative:
- Put manners and courtesy first, but not at the cost of sacrificing your rights.
- You have the right to ask for your statement not to be recorded.
- Don’t give long answers. Be brief and to the point.
- Do not offer information that they do not ask.
- Do not admit fault.
- Do not downplay your injuries
- Tell them that you have injuries. Do not speak about them in detail
- Don’t take the first settlement that comes your way, especially if it feels a little rushed and unfair.
- Don’t sign anything until you have spoken with a lawyer.
- Don’t assume that the insurance company has your best interests in mind.
If you are concerned about making a statement to an insurance company, consult a lawyer. The South Carolina personal injury attorneys at McCravy Law handle insurance companies every day.
Book a Free Car Accident Attorney Consultation Today
When you have been in a car accident, the experience is traumatizing. This is true even for minor fender benders. You may give statements or say things when you don’t even realize that you are telling them.
Be very careful about how you approach statements with an insurance company after a car accident. You are not always obligated to give one, but there are times when you are.
Car accident attorneys handle insurance companies every day. Take the burden off and work with one that will fight for you to get what you deserve after a car accident.
Consult with a South Carolina car accident and personal injury attorney today at McCravy Law. You can call us at (864) 388-9100 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year to schedule a consultation.