When you have been in an auto accident that is someone else’s fault, it is a bad idea to talk to the other side’s insurance adjuster. Doing so can cause real problems for your claim outcome. Insurance adjusters know how to get information from plaintiffs filing auto accident claims that can lead to a low payout and they will try to get this information from you. It is always best to gain representation by an experienced vehicle collision lawyer for your person injury case. That attorney can handle all communications and will not jeopardize your case’s outcome, in the process.
Process of Personal Injury Cases
Who is legally liable for your accident is the first big question when someone is injured in a multi-vehicle collision. The responsible party’s insurance company will work hard to protect their own interests by denying your claim or working to negotiate the lowest possible amount for settlement.
As soon as an insurance company is notified that one of its insureds has been in an accident, that company will open an investigation to reveal who is at fault. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to work the case and make an offer for settlement if the victim claims damages. In many cases, the adjuster will offer the victim less than his or her damages actually were, to rush a decision and close the case at an amount that is advantageous for the insurance company. Since the insurance adjuster does not work for the victim, that adjuster’s interests are solely in the company that employs him or her.
There is no incentive for the insurance adjuster to treat the victim in a particularly positive manner. But the adjuster may act with compassion around the victim, even showing concern over the victim’s damages. Do not let this fool you. This compassion is generally a facade to gain the victim’s trust so he or she will answer questions and say something that can affect the case in the insurance company’s favor.
Risks of Saying Too Much to an Adjuster
Insurance adjusters have a job to do. That job is centered on keeping the insurance company profitable. They will try to extract details of the accident from the victim to better the insurance company’s position. Most people do not realize that a “friendly adjuster” is merely trying to use certain tactics to gain the victim’s trust. Victims often feel that it is okay to communicate with the adjuster because he or she seems like a “good person.” But soon they may realize that information they have provided in the past is being used against them in their claim.
Many people go into an auto accident claim believing they have a very good case. This is often not the reality of claims. There are many steps to ensuring that a victim is paid as they should be for their damages. These steps often include potential pitfalls for a victim.
One such pitfall is an insurance adjuster asking the victim to make a recorded statement about their accident. In doing so, the victim may not catch the nuances of questions and how they phrase their answers in ways that help the defendant’s case. These recordings are also often used in trials as evidence of inconsistency in the victim’s claims. Such inconsistencies, however small, are often used to prove to the jury that the victim is not credible and does not deserve the amount they are seeking in the claim.
Rules of Thumb in Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
The bottom line of your situation is that you should never speak to an insurance adjuster on your own. You need a skilled vehicle collision lawyer to do this for you, to keep your case safe from tactics used by insurance adjusters. An exception to this may be in dealing with your own insurance company, such as when the defendant does not have insurance and you must file a claim on your own policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
Another tactic you should watch for when dealing with insurance adjusters is their request for you to sign a medical release form. These forms often provide the insurance company with broad access to your medical records, giving them insight into your health and personal situation at a much higher degree than they should be provided. The insurance company will often use information found in your health files against you in the claims process. They may even deny your claim, saying that your injuries are the result of past medical issues, not their insured’s fault in the auto accident.
Help Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
When it comes to dealing with insurance adjusters after an auto accident, you have the upper hand as long as you have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner. The attorney will handle communications for you, keeping you at the advantage in your legal claim. Otherwise, you may fall victim to the insurance company’s tactics, just as much as others have in the past.