If you’ve been involved in a car accident, either as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, it is very likely that the insurance companies of the vehicles involved will be calling you to ask questions about the accident and whether you were injured. This can be very confusing and overwhelming. You may not be sure who you should or shouldn’t be talking to or what you should be disclosing. It is very important to understand the difference of which insurance company you’re talking to, and the reason that they’re looking to get information from you.
In a nutshell, the general rule is this – it is ok to share information with your own insurance company, and not ok to share information with the other driver’s insurance company.
Your own insurance company has what’s called a “duty of good faith” towards you, pursuant to your contract of insurance with them (also known as your insurance policy). This means they are required by contract to act in your best interests. After an accident, you will open what’s known as a Section B claim with your own insurance company, which provides for your treatment benefits after an accident (such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, and so on). You should contact your own insurance company immediately after an accident to open a claim for treatment benefits. It is important to cooperate with your own insurance company in an injury claim in order to get the best treatment possible.
Unlike your own insurer, the other driver’s insurance company does not owe you a duty of good faith. You do not have a contract of insurance with them. Their duty is to their shareholders, which means they will generally try to avoid paying you fair compensation. Bringing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company is known as a Section A Claim. If they call you after an accident to ask questions, you do not have to talk to them and you should never sign any authorizations or consent forms they send you. Anything you do tell them they may try to use against your interests as you go forward in a personal injury claim.
However, if you are bringing an injury claim forward, the other driver’s insurance company will at some point need to know certain information about the accident and your injuries. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you what kind of information is necessary to support your claim and when/how it should be disclosed. You should never discuss your accident or injuries with the other driver’s insurance company without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer.