At what point do I need a lawyer, if an auto insurance claim that has been filed is being investigated?

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2011

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At what point do I need a lawyer, if an auto insurance claim that has been filed is being investigated?

My car got stolen in the beginning of this month. After filling out an affidavit, the claim is going to a Special Investigations Unit and now they want to question my husband and I separately and record it. We have been completely honest with them, yet they continue to question and investigate the claim. Should we start looking to obtain an auto accident attorney? We’re in Washington, OR.

Asked on October 22, 2011 under Insurance Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should get an attorney now, for two reasons:

1) It appears that the insurer has doubts about your claim. An attorney will help you negotiate with them and, if necessary, can sue them under the policy for the coverage you paid for and deserve. A lawyer will increase you odds of being paid.

2) Whether you committed a crime or not, it seems that the insurer may think that you have. It's pretty easy for innocent answers to trip you up, especially if you and your husband agree to be questioned separately and your answers simply don't quite match (which can happen: you don't remember things quite the same way, you describe the same event differently, etc.). A lawyer can advise you of your rights, sit in on any questions, and help you protect your interests. Remember: while the insurer is not the police, anything you say to them could be shared with the police; you want to make sure you  treat this as a "pre-criminal" investigation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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