If you have been injured in an accident, it’s likely that the at-fault insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to your claim. Although this individual may act friendly, it is important to remember that the insurance company and their representatives are not on your side. Insurance companies hire adjusters to determine liability and to make sure they aren’t wasting money. It is the adjuster’s job to protect the insurance company by paying out as little to you as possible.
Ideally, you will have already contacted a personal injury lawyer to represent you before an adjuster speaks to you. Your lawyer can help you navigate through this difficult process and in most cases you can refer the adjuster directly to your attorney. If you have not had time to find a lawyer, it is vital to know what to say when an adjuster calls and make sure you don’t say anything that will hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation. In most all circumstances, it is recommended that you do not accept a settlement or sign anything without seeking the help of a skilled attorney.
Ask for Information from the Insurance Adjuster
First and foremost, when an adjuster calls you should ask for their information. You should know who you are speaking with, their phone number, and the company that they directly work for. Many agencies hire independent insurance adjusters so it is important to know the name of the adjusting company and the insurance company that hired them.
Remain calm with them and take good notes. Detailed notes about any conversation you have can ensure that your statements were not misrepresented. Beyond getting their contact information, you want to make sure that you document any information that you provided the adjuster and they provided you.
Only Give the Necessary Information
It is important to understand how claims adjusters work. Typically within a few days of your claim being filed, you will be contacted. While you may be eager to give “your side of the story,” it is better to proceed with caution. You cannot assume that the information you are giving will not hurt your case, and giving too much information could affect your settlement.
Only give the basics to the adjuster, and only do so with the guidance of your personal injury attorney. Do not tell them your opinions, only the facts of the case and details like when the accident occurred, where it occurred, and the type of accident. You should also give them any contact information you have for the other party, and anyone who was with you at the time. Another way to protect your claim is to mention that you have, or intend to hire a personal injury attorney to represent you.
It is common practice that during this process, the adjuster will ask you for a recorded statement. If they do, you should politely refuse as you are not legally required to do this and once it is given, it cannot be undone. If they are insistent and you wish to provide one, it is important to speak with your attorney who can help design a statement that will not affect your claim and that will help your case.
What Information Should You Not Give the Insurance Adjuster
Once you have covered the basics with the adjuster, it is important to know what information you do not give them. Again, insurance adjusters are working for the best interest of the firm that hired them, and knowing what not to say can help make sure your case settles in your favor and that you receive fair compensation.
You should never provide detailed information about your injuries to an adjuster. Many injuries have symptoms that show up days, weeks, or even months later so you do not want to give them information before you understand the extent of your injury and its treatment.
You also do not want to admit guilt, apologize, or give your opinion regarding your accident. Any of these as a statement can be interpreted in different ways and can be held against you. A simple “I’m sorry” can be taken as an admission of guilt.
Get Help Before Talking to the Insurance Company
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash, or are in the process of making another type of personal injury claim, our experienced lawyers can determine a strategy on how to deal with the insurance company. We will protect your rights during the claims process and get you the compensation you are due. Keep your contact with the insurance adjuster brief, and let us do the work for you.