Probably Not. Remember that insurance companies make money by taking in premiums and then not paying out claims (or at least minimizing their payouts). So, it is in their best interests after an accident to place you in the most prejudicial situation possible, while at the same time giving themselves the largest advantage they can.
Most often, the first set of papers you’ll see from the insurance company after an accident are proposed medical record releases. These documents allow the adjuster to request your records from hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers. They often go much farther than just records relating to your accident and will sometimes allow the insurance company to get your private medical history from before the accident too. Notice that they don’t offer to provide you with medical releases for the other driver – so what does that tell you about signing these documents?
Next, they may want you to sign other releases such as permission to get a copy of your employment file, Medicare file, or obtain other confidential documents. Like the medical releases, it is usually unwise to sign these without first consulting your attorney. The insurance company may also seek to obtain your statement (either in writing or audio recording), and you should be very careful about giving any statements as they will often use these against you later in the case. Even the most honest, forthright person will often mix up a key fact given early on in a recorded statement, only to have it haunt them later after a claim is made. While the law (and the insurance contract) does require you to “cooperate” with your own insurance company, the adverse driver’s insurance company is usually not extended the same protection.
In sum, I would highly recommend consulting an attorney prior to signing any insurance company documents or giving any statements after an accident. At the very least, you’ll have piece of mind and know that your rights are being protected.
If you have any questions regarding papers you’ve received after an accident, call the Sansbury Law Firm at 843-315-9945 or visit www.SansburyLaw.com for more information.
Disclaimer: every case is different, you should consult an attorney regarding the specific facts of your case. Any advice contained in this article is intended to be merely informational in nature.