If you haven't yet hired a personal injury lawyer, getting a call from an insurance company can catch you off guard. It's important to understand what you should do in this situation while you look for a personal injury attorney. Here are four things to do if an insurer reaches out to you.
More than anything, you want to know who you're talking to at this moment. Ask them for their name and the name of their company. Likewise, ask for their job title. They should also be able to provide a workday phone number and an email address. If they have a case number, they'll want to provide that, too.
Write all of this down and ask for correct spellings and numbers. Make a copy of what you write down so you can share it with a personal injury attorney when you start looking for counsel.
Request a Formal Letter
Whatever their intent is, they need to send it to you in writing. Until they do, there's nothing for you to discuss. If you've already hired a personal injury attorney, you're welcome to tell the insurer to mail the letter to the law office.
Avoid Discussing the Incident
An insurance official might want to discuss what happened. If you're still checking out personal injury attorneys at this time, then you need to wait until you've talked with a lawyer. Even if you have counsel, tell the insurance person to contact your attorney.
You don't want to answer any of their questions without the benefit of a lawyer's advice. An attorney can tell you which questions to answer. In many cases, the insurer can handle the job by mailing their questions to your counsel. You and your lawyer can meet, discuss the questions, and decide how to answer.
Always assume there's more going on than a friendly inquiry. You have the right to counsel when you talk with the insurance company's representative, and you should invoke it.
Keep Settlement Offers off the Table
It can be tempting to settle the case right there, especially if the insurer seems motivated to get it done. However, your case is almost certainly not to that point if you're surprised to get a call from the insurance company. If the defendant's insurer wants to make a settlement offer, tell them to send it to you or your attorney in writing. There's no need to continue beyond this point so politely let them know you have all the information you need and then end the conversation. If an insurance company has contacted you, reach out to a personal injury firm like Siben & Siben LLP.