People want to know:
“Should I talk with my insurance company about my personal injury or long term disability case“.
The answer to this question may surprise you.
You may hear some personal injury lawyers tell you that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should an injured accident victim or disability claimant ever speak with an insurance adjuster about their case.
There is nothing wrong with this school of thought. What you don’t say, cannot hurt you. What you don’t say also can’t be recorded and used against you down the road to defeat your claim and credibility. Silence is golden.
But what happens in the situation where you can’t lawyer up in a timely manner? What happens if the insurance company calls you and has a few very simple and basic questions to ask of you which you can certainly answer (address, location of accident, date of birth, what hospital you are currently staying at, whether or not you’re employed or retired). Keep it very simple and basic. You should not share any further details with the insurer without a lawyer, as you will read below.
Your claim, personal injury or long term disability has to get opened so that the benefits can begin to flow. The longer you wait, the longer it will take for the insurer to open their file, assign an adjuster, and hopefully pay for the attendant care, med/rehab and income replacement benefits you need. If you wait to retain a lawyer, this may delay you getting the benefits you need. There is nothing wrong with you calling the insurance company to simply open up a claim and get things started. But when doing so, be cautious of the amount of information which you disclose. Keep things simple and short.
To report your claim, it’s very important to have a copy of your policy number handy (from your pink slip of insurance or benefits booklet).
The magic words after a serious car accident are that you are reporting the car accident and that you would like to make a claim for accident benefits. That’s it! Most car insurance companies (not long term disability insurers) have 24/7 claims hotlines to report car accident claims. The people on the other line are generally NOT insurance adjusters. Rather they collect data for the initial intake so that they can open and assign a file to somebody who knows how your policy works (like and experienced adjuster).
If the insurer presses you for more information, you don’t have to respond. Just tell them that you’re not comfortable discussing further details without a lawyer; and that you would like for the insurer to open an accident benefit claim, assign an adjuster to the file, and for them to send you an accident benefit package.
If they ask you specifics about how the accident happened, you don’t need to answer. You can just say that you wish to make an accident benefit claim.
If they ask you what you were wearing at the time of the accident, you don’t need to answer. Just remind them that you wish to make an accident benefit claim and ask that they send the package to you.
Any other questions about the accident itself, your income, your injuries etc? Don’t feel the need to answer. Just tell them that you wish to make an accident benefit claim.
Your goal in making this initial call is simply to open a claim and get the ball rolling so that benefits can flow in a timely manner. That’s it.
Your lawyers will take care of the rest so that your rights are protected and so that your case won’t get off to the wrong start.
In the context of a long term disability claim, the intake person may have a variety of more detailed questions for you about your work history, vocational training, number of hours you worked before the disability, what medication you are taking, what treatment you are receiving etc. You are under no obligation to share this information with the insurer if you don’t want to or aren’t comfortable. Our lawyers would recommend against it. Those calls are recorded and will be used against you down the line.
Keep things simple. You wish to report the claim and wish for an adjuster to be assigned. Beyond that, the paperwork for your long term disability claim will do all of the talking so that you don’t have to.
Remember: benefits won’t begin flow until a claim has been opened and you have applied for the benefit. Money does not just fall from the sky. The client must take a few affirmative steps to get the ball rolling like reporting the car accident or reporting the long term disability and advising the insurer that you wish to make a claim.
A personal injury lawyer can certainly do this for you, or assist you in this regard. But this is not to say that an individual or a loved one with non legal experience cannot take these basic steps of reporting to claim to get the ball rolling.
If the insurance company’s adjusters call you beyond that initial call to open a claim, you are under no obligation to speak with them. Remember that silence is golden. You can always tell them to “Talk to my lawyer“. Our clients LOVE using that line. It makes them feel like the boss. Go ahead. Try it! “Talk to my lawyer“. Sounds good doesn’t it. Just rolls of the tongue. You can certainly use that line should the insurer begin pestering you for more information which you’re not comfortable or incapable of disclosing.
Enough law talk? Sure. We here at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers are sending out our positive vibes and well wishes to Toronto FC as they embark on an Eastern Conference Championship Final tonight. One win will guarantee their spot in the MLS Cup, which is no small accomplishment. Given the state of Toronto FC’s roster at the start of the season, this playoff run has come as a pleasant surprise to soccer fans across Toronto and Ontario for that matter.