What To Say To An Insurance Claims Adjuster After a Car Accident
Were you involved in a car accident and you’re wondering what you should say and shouldn’t say to an insurance adjuster? Check out the blog below for some valuable information.
You were probably just in an accident and you’re wondering what you should say, what you shouldn’t say to an insurance company. So, I’m going to give you a few tips about ways to go about dealing with an insurance adjuster.
Never Admit Fault to an Insurance Claims Adjuster
The first thing you should never say to an adjuster is you never admit fault. Now you’re probably thinking that you already know that. However, there are a lot of different ways to admit fault other than just saying “I caused the accident.”
For example, if you’re talking to an insurance adjuster and you tell them that you were going 35 in a 25 mile an hour zone, you’re admitting that you’re partially at fault for that accident because you were speeding.
That’s a big mistake because the insurance company will us that information to put a percentage of fault on you for that accident or to deny liability altogether. So, try to avoid making any kind of incriminating statement when you talk to an insurance claims adjuster.
Never Give an Insurance Claims Adjuster a Recorded Statement
The second thing you should never say or agree to do with an insurance adjuster is give a recorded statement. Why? Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.
You just got in an accident and the insurance adjuster is asking you questions about your injuries. It’s not in your best interest to give them this information upfront anyways (talk to a personal injury attorney before speaking with an insurance adjuster). The reason is that you probably don’t know what your injuries are yet.
If you agree to a recorded statement and during the process of explaining your injuries, you forgot to tell them about your injured shoulder (or perhaps your shoulder hasn’t even started to hurt at the time of the recording), it will be very difficult to recover for the injury to your shoulder later on down the line. The insurance company will be sure to point out that you did not tell them about your shoulder at the time of the recording and will try and allege you did not suffer a shoulder injury in the accident.
An Exception to the No-Recorded Statement Rule
One big exception to the recorded statement rule is that if you’re dealing with your own insurance company, you’ll probably have to give a recorded statement. The reason being that in your insurance contract, you agreed to work with your insurance company in the event that you were involved in an accident.
Remember though that if you’re making a claim uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage, that your own insurance company becomes adverse, they’re now your opponent. And their goal is to limit your recovery the same way the defendant’s insurance company wanted to. So be careful what you say.
Do Not Accept a First Offer or Quick Settlement
The third thing you shouldn’t do with an insurance adjuster is accept their first offer. You’re going to find that right after you get into an accident, the insurance adjuster will tell you just to send them your medical bills and they’ll offer to pay the bills and give you $500 or a $1,000 etc. for your pain and suffering.
Don’t just accept that first offer. This is a trick insurance companies use. I get calls from people all the time who agreed to a smaller amount only to find out they had bigger injuries later on.
There is no need to settle your case right away. They’re not going to pull the offer. You’ve got plenty of time in most states to file a lawsuit. I strongly recommend talking to a personal injury attorney about what the value of your case really is.
Do Not Get Mad at the Insurance Adjuster
The fourth tip I have for you is something that you really just shouldn’t do with an insurance adjuster. And that is get mad. A lot of people become very acrimonious with insurance adjusters and insurance companies. They can be very difficult to deal with. Their interest in saving money on behalf of the insurance company, does not jive with your interests of getting compensated as much as you can.
However, getting mad and screaming at an insurance adjuster is not going to help. Instead, what I suggest you do is document everything you do with an insurance company in writing, if possible, by email or fax.
That’s the way you can build your case that the insurance company wasn’t working with you the right way. Not by screaming at an adjuster.
Do Not Trust an Insurance Adjuster
The fifth thing you should not do with an insurance adjuster is trust them. Here’s the reason why – an insurance adjuster is just a tool of an insurance company, which is a multi-billion dollar business. Their goal is to pay you as little as possible. Why? Because it contributes to their bottom line. They’re a for-profit company.
In the beginning, the insurance adjuster may be really nice. You might think – Hey, this person’s really going to work with me. I’ve seen it so many times where nine months later, accident victims are shocked and will say “he was so nice at the beginning and now he’s offering me $500 for my injuries.”
Don’t fall for it. Don’t make nice with the insurance company. And certainly don’t trust that your interests are their interests.
Get the Insurance Adjuster the Location of the Vehicle
A sixth thing that you should do right away with an insurance adjuster is don’t delay getting them the location of your vehicle. A lot of people after an accident will let their car sit in a tow yard for six weeks without doing anything.
The insurance company, if they ultimately pay those tow fees and those storage fees, is going to take it out of your property damage settlement. So, don’t delay get them the location of your vehicle right away so that the clock is running on them and not on you.
Always Get the Insurance Claim Number and Adjuster Contact Information
A seventh thing you should do with an insurance company – when you call the first time, you may just talk to an operator. Always ask whoever you’re talking to what your claim number is and if an adjuster has been assigned to the case. If so, get their contact information.
A lot of people just sit around waiting for insurance companies to contact them. You need to be proactive. Again, their interests are not your interests. You need to advocate for yourself. So, getting this information up front is a really good idea.
When You SHOULD Work with the Insurance Adjuster
Having said all of that, there are a couple of situations where some of this might not apply. First, if you’re only dealing with property damage, then a lot of this might not apply to you.
I’m a Chicago personal injury attorney so a lot of the things that I talk about are related to people who have suffered significant injuries.
If you’ve only got property damage, it may behoove you to work a little bit more with the insurance adjuster and to trust them a little bit more to get your property damage resolved.
Second, again, just a reminder that if you’re going after your own uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage from your own insurance company, they become adverse. They become your opponent. And then their goal is the same as if you filed a claim against the guy who caused the accident. They want to pay you as little and you want to recover as much as you can.
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