How do I Handle the Insurance Company After a Fatal Car Accident?
Posted in Car Accidents on October 24, 2023
If you or somebody you love has been in a car accident that also involved a fatality, there will undoubtedly be insurance carriers involved. In some cases, there may be a wrongful death claim that involves legal teams for various parties. Inevitably, those involved in a fatal vehicle accident will have to speak to insurance claims adjusters.
Here, we want to examine how to handle these interactions. We strongly encourage you or your loved one to reach out to a skilled vehicle accident attorney for assistance.
General Guidelines for Communicating With Insurance Carriers
One of the first steps after a vehicle accident will be reporting the incident to your insurance carrier. In general, this should be done on the same day of the incident, if possible. However, we strongly encourage you to contact an attorney and let them handle communication with the attorney as soon as possible. A skilled car accident lawyer will have experience handling communication with insurance carriers and will help maintain the integrity of your claim.
Some pointers to keep in mind when communicating with insurance carriers include:
- Do not go into much detail right away. Even though you need to let the insurance carrier know about the incident quickly, you do not need to go into much detail at first. Likely, you have no idea about the extent of the property damage or other injuries, and if there is a fatality involved, there will be an extensive investigation. The less information you give the insurance carriers up front, the better. Any early information is likely to be mostly or partially incorrect as it is.
- Do not admit fault. Even if you are 100% sure you are at fault for a fatal car accident, do not admit this. An investigation will uncover liability issues, and there may be certain things you are unaware of that point fault towards more than one party. Do not admit anything when you talk to your insurance carrier. Acknowledge that the accident occurred, let them know you are seeking proper medical attention, and contact your attorney.
- Be wary of early settlement offers. If the insurance carriers quickly determine that another party was at fault, you may receive an early settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Be wary of any quick settlement offers. First offers are often far below what they should be, and your attorney needs to review any offer made by the carrier.
Are You Suspected of Being At Fault?
If you are suspected of being at fault for a fatal car accident, you need to reach out to an attorney immediately. These claims are incredibly challenging, but an attorney can help you work through this process.
An accusation of causing a fatal accident is, in many cases, par for the course. Insurance carriers typically try to shift some or all of the blame away from their client onto other parties involved in order to limit how much compensation they pay out or to deny the claim altogether.
Even if you do share some fault for a fatal car accident, Washington is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that individuals who are partially at fault can still recover compensation for their losses, even if they are up to 99% at fault for the incident.
Did You Lose a Loved One in a Crash?
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident caused by the negligent actions of another party, you should reach out to a wrongful death lawyer in Seattle as soon as possible. You may be able to recover compensation for your losses, but wrongful death claims are different than traditional personal injury claims after a vehicle accident. Your attorney can help walk you and your family through this process.