How should I report a car accident claim to the insurance company?

Herb: The best way I’ve found, usually is to have a family member that wasn’t in the wreck call and file the claim.  Generally, you don’t want the person injured doing that.  It’s not going to help.  The only thing it can do is hurt in case they say the wrong thing or the person on the phone happens to be the claims adjuster and says, you know, this person doesn’t sound hurt or misinterprets what they say.


It is better to have someone else in the family do that.  If you do call and report the claim, be very general in your answers, be brief, and do not give a recorded statement.  Especially if you haven’t been prepared by an attorney to go over the facts of the case.  They’ll ask you questions in a certain way.  They’ll ask you speed, distance, and a lot of people will guess, instead of saying that they don’t know.

A sample exchange goes like this:  They ask you how far were you from the other car when you first saw it?  You might not know, but you tell them you were ten feet away.  They ask, how far did you travel from the time that you first saw the other car to the time of impact?  Two minutes.  How fast were you going?  Thirty miles an hour.  Well, you don’t travel ten feet in three minutes at 35 miles an hour.   So usually the numbers don’t match up and the insurance company will use this against you.  It is better to say “I don’t know.”

So the way you answer questions and how you phrase them is important.  That’s why we sit down with our clients and explain that and prep them.  The insurance adjusters are prepped.  They know how to ask the questions.  They’re trained.  They know how to get someone, how to get it on tape and recording and hurt their case.  That’s their job.

Have more questions? Read more at Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers’ FAQs here.