You need to be cautious about what you say after you have been involved in a North Carolina highway collision. Your words at the crash scene will be remembered by witnesses, who may be called to testify against you in a lawsuit. After you have returned home, you may be contacted by a claim adjuster from the insurance company, who may ask you to make a recorded statement for her records.
As Wilmington traffic accident attorneys, we advise all our clients to limit their conversations about the accident as much as possible. Saying the wrong thing or talking to the wrong person can be seriously harmful to your prospects of recovering what you deserve.
Below, we consider whether you should talk openly to various groups of people.
- Your doctor. Yes, you should talk openly to your personal doctor or emergency room personnel about the accident and your injuries. Confidentiality rules require that your doctor cannot be called to testify against you.
- The insurance company doctor. If an uninsured motorist in North Carolina caused the accident, you may be eligible for compensation from your own uninsured motorist insurance coverage. Your insurance policy may require that you be examined by a doctor chosen by the insurance company, and confidentiality may not fully apply. If you are required to submit to this examination, it’s best if you talk about factual matters about your medical condition. For instance, don’t speculate about how well your injury may be healing.
- Bystanders and witnesses at the crash scene. Limit your conversation to obtaining the names and contact phone numbers of any witnesses. Write down this information. Your lawyer will want to know who saw the accident and what they observed.
- Law enforcement officials. You are required to respond fully to any questions asked by police or sheriff’s deputies. Don’t volunteer opinions.
- The insurance adjuster. You are not obligated to answer the adjuster’s questions. You do not have to agree to have your answers recorded. Insurance adjusters are not your buddies. They want to come up with reasons to deny your claim or minimize the amount the company pays you. It’s usually best if you refer the adjusters to your North Carolina accident injury lawyer for answers to their questions.
- Your lawyers. You should be prepared to discuss your case in complete detail with your own lawyers. They need to know everything if they are to advise you reliably.
- Lawyers representing the insurance company or the person you are suing. You may be required to provide the opposing lawyer with answers to his questions in a deposition. The questions and your answers will be recorded. Your lawyer can accompany you to this questioning session and can give you advice before you answer. Limit your answers to brief, factual content; don’t say more than the question requires of you. Tell the truth.
- Your friends and neighbors. It’s best that you tell them you cannot talk about the accident until the legal case is settled or the trial concludes.
- The Internet. It’s surprising how many clients can be very careful about what they say directly to people, but then post Facebook comments that could damage their cases if quoted out of context. Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are public communication sources that insurance company adjusters and lawyers can access. The text, videos, and pictures you upload can become evidence in your lawsuit that could damage your case.
When you have been injured in a North Carolina car accident or truck collision through the fault of someone else, you may be entitled to a financial recovery for your lost time from work, medical bills, your pain, and other losses. Hiring an experienced Wilmington personal injury attorney from Speaks Law Firm can free you to concentrate on healing while we work to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call 910-341-7570 or 877-593-4233 to connect with Speaks Law Firm and schedule a free conference about your case. To introduce our firm, we will also send you a FREE copy of our book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book.