Questions to Expect from an Insurance Agency
When an insurance agent questions a car accident witness, it is important for the person who witnessed an accident to understand the position of the insurance company and its goals in asking for a statement. In general, regardless of the insurance company or how long its insured have been customers, the goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little money as possible. To be clear, the insurance company is never an advocate for the drivers it insures. Rather, the insurance company is interested in its own bottom line, and as such, an insurance agent often will ask questions that will provide evidence to prove the insurance company is not responsible for paying a claim.
In some cases, someone who witnessed an accident will be someone who was also involved in the crash. Whether you are an outside car accident witness helping write a witness report, or you are giving a statement to your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, you should have a sense of the types of questions that you will receive.
1. Is It OK With You If I Record This Interview?
Many insurance companies want to record interviews with witnesses as well as with insureds. If you have any stakes in the accident and the outcome of an insurance claim, it is extremely important to have a Las Vegas car accident attorney on your side before you agree to a recorded interview.
2. Can You Tell Me About the Accident?
Insurance agents often will ask witnesses more open-ended questions that allow the witness to provide his or her own narrative. In so doing, the insurance agent can learn information about the witness’s subjective opinion, and at the same time it can be easier to determine whether discrepancies might exist from one statement to another.
If you witnessed an accident, you may be required to speak with the insurance company based on the facts of the case. However, you are not required to provide a subjective narrative of the events leading up to the crash. Instead, you should focus on questions from the insurance company that are objective and require you to state the facts.
3. Where and When Did the Accident Occur?
An insurance agent, like other interested parties including top-rated attorneys and investigating police officers, will want you to state where and when the accident happened. You should only offer as much information as is necessary to answer the question factually. If you do not know the precise time when the accident happened, you can say so. Keep in mind that it is best to avoid any kind of lengthy narration with an insurance company and to keep your answers brief.
4. Do You Know Who Caused the Accident?
Insurance companies want to determine fault—or at least evidence to suggest fault—in order to avoid making a payment. If you have a financial interest in the case, it is essential that you avoid offering your opinion, especially if you believe that you may have played a role in causing the crash. Stick to the facts, and provide objective information and where and when the crash occurred.
If you did see another driver clearly run a red light or a stop sign, for instance, you can provide this information to the insurance agent.
5. Did Anyone File a Police Report?
You may know the answer to this question or you may not, but insurance companies typically want to know if the police were called to the scene and whether a report was filed.
Examples of different parties who will ask witness questions after a car accident include but may not be limited to: