Blogs by PROD: Admissions Against Interest
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IntroYou may have heard the term “admissions against interest” if you have ever been in a car accident or some other type of incident wherein there are damages and who is at fault to consider. An admission against interest is basically exactly what it sounds like; it refers to admitting to some fact or circumstance that actually places the fault, and with it the liability for covering the damages, on you as opposed to your insurance or the other side/their insurance.
Admissions Against InterestThe first thing to be aware of when avoiding these costly slip ups is that the insurance agent/claim adjuster who goes over the accident with you is not on your side. Over 2 million people are injured in auto accidents on American roadways each year, racking up over $260 billion in crash-related costs. The majority of those billions of dollars will be paid out by insurance companies. Despite it being the purpose of these companies to assist when an incident happens, they don’t like to part with that kind of money. Claim adjusters are thus specifically trained to avoid large settlement payouts to claimants.
You must enter into your meeting with the adjuster knowing to be careful in every thing you say, and I do mean everything. Even very simple mistakes can be extremely costly and seemingly innocuous questions/leading statements made by the insurance agent can be an opportunity for you to screw your case.
I will provide a few examples. When they first enter, they will likely ask you how you are/have been doing. This may seem like the normal pleasantries and tempt you to respond with an automatic cheery, deflecting response, but you cannot give them that ammunition against you. If they ask how you are and say fine thank you, there is already one piece of evidence chipping away at your personal damages. A better response to ‘how are you today” would be, “ Good morning. I'm ready to discuss my claim.”
There are also more obvious mistakes to avoid, though they are very common. Here are some examples of excuses people may give in light of an accident, but that inadvertently point the blame on themselves: “ I looked down just for a second”, “I didn't see you”, “ I was distracted by speaking with a passenger”, “I've been meaning to replace my worn out tires”, “I was on the phone”, etc etc. First of all, never admit to anything you know is illegal (ie being on the phone, hello!?). Admitting any kind of fault is not advisable though. You claim agent may trying leading you into an admission saying something like “Its hard to see at our age, isn't it” etc etc. YOu need to be on the watch for these easy traps to fall into; excuses don't fly with your insurance.
It's not just about what you say in regards to your role in the accident either. If you want to be successful in seeking injury claims for example, what you say/request can affect things as well. Again, in the report after the incident you would not want to say that you are fine. Moreover, it isn't a good idea to insist that you don't need paramedics. While you may be trying to avoid ambulance costs, this is significant evidence that can be used to weaken your claim that you need damages for medical/personal injury related reasons.
In general, the safest policy is to say as little as possible. Avoid any statements wherein you assume any of the blame, even if you think you are giving a valid excuse. Also avoid any statements or actions that under sell the severity of your injuries/distress/damages in general.