Speaking with an insurance adjuster after a car accident can be a nerve-wracking experience. And with good reason! The insurance company adjuster is not your friend, not on your side, and looking for ways to deny your car accident claim (or at least reduce its value). Letting your guard down is the last thing you want to do.
So what’s the best thing to say to the insurance company adjuster? Our recommendation is that you say nothing to them. Let an experienced personal injury attorney handle these tough discussions. It’s the best way to protect your legal rights.
In this blog post, we’ll explain why you should be cautious when dealing with insurance adjusters—even those from your own insurance company. We’ll also provide some tips to help avoid costly mistakes if you do decide to speak with one and talk about how a car accident lawyer can help.
Insurance adjusters are there to do a job: saving the insurance company money. Their job is not to get you a fair settlement.
While insurance adjusters do serve an important role in the process (such as catching fraud, which helps keep insurance premiums lower for everyone), they are incentivized to limit insurance claim payouts as much as possible. That often means car accident victims who have done nothing wrong get their claims denied or devalued.
You’re also at a disadvantage when talking with the adjuster. They don’t have to share with you all the evidence they’ve uncovered about the car accident (in particular, evidence that is bad for their policyholder). They also probably won’t tell you the maximum amount they’ve been authorized to pay your injury claim.
But what makes these conversations especially dangerous is that it might only take one small mistake to do significant damage to your legal case.
For example, let’s say you forget to mention you experienced shoulder pain after the crash. Later, when you try to get compensation for medical care on your shoulder, the insurance company might refuse, saying your shoulder injury wasn’t caused by the accident.
Or worse, suppose that, in the heat of the moment, you say something that sounds like you’re admitting fault (at least partially) for the crash, or misremember a detail that turns out not to be true. The insurance company can use your words against you to deny their driver’s liability or question your integrity.
Before we go on, one more reminder: the safest way to deal with an insurance adjuster is to let an experienced personal injury lawyer handle it. These are often emotionally charged conversations and you’re at a disadvantage.
However, if you must talk to the insurance company on your own, without legal representation, keep these tips in mind.
Getting angry, overwhelmed, or frustrated can cause you to say things you later regret. Keep your emotions in check as best you can.
Provide necessary basic information such as your name, contact details, policy number, the location where the accident occurred, and who was involved. Avoid sharing opinions about what might have happened, who you think was at fault, or why. Keep to the facts.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, say that you don’t know. If you guess or speculate, then later turn out to be incorrect, it reflects badly on your judgment or even your honesty.
This includes things like saying you’re sorry or that you could have avoided the accident. It’s human nature to want to apologize for things, even if we have nothing to apologize for. But you should let the evidence show who was at fault. Don’t give the other driver’s insurance company an easy out.
It’s human nature for most of us to put a positive spin on how we’re feeling. You might say you’re doing “all right” today when really you’re still in a lot of pain. You might also be embarrassed about certain injuries and how they’re affecting your life. But if you underplay your injuries, the insurance company will argue you aren’t hurt as badly as you say you are and will probably offer you less in a settlement.
Always politely decline. It won’t help you. Insurance companies only want it so that, if you say anything harmful to your case (even if it was an innocent mistake or misstatement), they have it on record and can use it against you.
This reduces the risk of miscommunication and makes it harder for the insurance company representative to misrepresent you or take your words out of context.
Listen to what the adjuster is saying. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. If you don’t agree with something, ask them to explain their decision and tell you what evidence they’re basing their conclusion on. This can give you vital information about what evidence and arguments you’ll need to push back.
The insurance representative might try to pressure you into believing that your case isn’t worth what you claim, that you can’t win, or that you should take whatever settlement they’re offering. But you should always politely insist on fair compensation for your losses.
If the insurance company makes you an initial settlement offer, it will almost always be a lowball. They want your case to go away as quickly and cheaply as possible. Again, insist on fair compensation that accurately reflects your medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic losses (such as emotional trauma or loss of quality of life). A fair settlement is almost always better than a quick one.
If the insurance company still won’t budge and give you a fair offer, the only way to recover the compensation you truly deserve is by filing a lawsuit. If you haven’t already contacted an auto accident attorney by now, don’t wait any further. You shouldn’t (and don’t have to) handle this alone.
When a simple, innocent mistake could wreck your entire legal case and any chance of recovering compensation, it’s best to seek the advice of a qualified legal professional.
When you contact an attorney as soon as possible after your car accident, there are many steps they can take to help you. For example:
The Karl Truman Law Office has represented people injured in car accidents for more than 30 years. We understand the tricks and tactics that insurance company adjusters use to unfairly deny and reduce accident claims. And we aren’t afraid to take cases all the way to court if that’s what’s needed to get a fair result.
But that’s not all. We care about more than just “maximum compensation.” Car accidents are extremely stressful experiences. Our goal is always to put your needs first and make sure you always know that our team is looking out for you and supporting you. Whether that means answering your late-night questions, helping you find the right doctors, or talking through all your legal options so you can make an informed decision, we’re 100% there for you.
And all this service costs you nothing up front. We offer a 30-day guarantee, and we don’t get paid unless we recover compensation for you.
To request your free case review, give Truman Law Office a call today at (502) 222-2222 or complete our convenient contact form. We have offices in Louisville and Jeffersonville to serve you, but we can also come to you.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.