Richard S. Lundin
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Personal injury and family law attorney licensed to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia

Part Two in our "Common Mistakes" series.

Mistake #2 – Giving a Statement to the Insurance Company

Generally, there will be two insurance companies involved with your case: your insurance company and the insurance company for the other vehicle involved in the accident.

The insurance company for the other driver does NOT have a right to take your statement, but they will probably ask. Whether you should give a statement depends on the circumstances.  The other driver’s insurance company wants to take your statement to find out what happened and to see if you contributed to the accident.  If you say something that sounds like you contributed to the accident -- even just 1% -- then under the law of contributory negligence the insurance company can deny your claim entirely and offer you NOTHING for your damages.  While we don’t believe this is fair (and it’s not the law in most states), it is the law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Also, if you give a statement before you know the full extent of your injuries or property damage you could leave something out and the insurance company can claim that you made it up since you didn’t mention it in your recorded statement.  For this reason, you should not give a statement to the other company right away.  In fact, we recommend that you have your lawyer make the initial report to the insurance company. Or, if you don’t have a lawyer yet, have a family member or friend call in the claim.  This way you are not making a statement that can be used against you later.

Your insurance company does have the right to request a statement from you and you have the duty to give one within a reasonable time after its requested.  We recommend you have your lawyer present when you give the statement.  Our clients are prepared by us to know what to expect and how to respond. We also remain present during the statement to make sure nothing unfair happens.

To read about other big mistakes people make after a car accident, check these out:
Click to read about mistake #1: failing to go to the emergency room or a doctor right away.
Click to read about mistake #3: failing to obtain sufficient information at the scene.

If you have been involved in an auto accident, call or email us for a FREE, no-obligation consultation about your rights. We can help you even if you've already given statements to the insurance companies. We routinely help clients in these situations and can help you find a doctor who will help you recover and regain your health. We would be happy to talk to you about your case.
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