WHAT NOT TO SAY TO AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER
When you get into a vehicular accident, you will need to file an insurance claim for injuries, property damage, or both. In any of these situations, your insurance company – or the at-fault driver’s insurer, or both – will assign a claims adjuster to your case.
They will get in touch with you by phone to investigate what went on and then determine the settlement they’re going to offer you. Since claims adjusters work for the parent company, you can expect any first offer to be, basically, as low as they can go. Adjusters are paid to protect the insurer’s bottom line.
When the claims adjuster does call you, how should you deal with that person? The best advice is not to, but instead hire an experienced personal injury attorney to do the negotiations for you. A claims adjuster knows he or she cannot use the normal bag of tricks on an experienced attorney.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in or around Boca Raton, Florida, contact Steven J. Litvak P.A. today. I will deal directly with the insurance adjuster and press the case for the just settlement you deserve. You can recover from your injuries while I fight for your rights.
Insurance Adjuster’s Role
As briefly mentioned, claims adjusters work for the insurance company that is handling your claim, and they are thus responsible for keeping expenses down, which includes attempting to get you to accept a lowball settlement.
They are known for trying to get claimants to contradict themselves or admit some fault, so they can use what you say to justify making a smaller settlement offer or even denying your claim altogether.
Remember, insurance companies are for-profit enterprises, and increasing profits often entails denying or lowballing claims. That role falls to the insurance adjuster assigned to you.
When the Adjuster Requests a Statement From You
No good ever comes from trying to go it alone against an insurance adjuster. Instead, you should rely on an experienced attorney who knows how to handle their tactics. When they call to ask for a statement, just direct them to your attorney.
What happens if you do agree to a conversation?
If you have an injury claim, the adjuster may start the conversation by asking how you’re doing. If you answer “good” or “fine,” they can use that to assert you’re not as injured as you claim. That’s just one example of how the conversation is going to proceed. The adjuster will attempt to get you to contradict yourself or admit fault, either partial or full.
They may also ask that the conversation be recorded. Politely say no. You are under no legal obligation to have the conversation recorded, but they are legally required to obtain your consent before recording anything.
Keep your answers brief and to the point. Don’t start volunteering information that you somehow deem important. Don’t answer questions that you don’t know the answer to.
They may also try to mail you a medical release form, so they can dig around into your past to see if your injuries resulted from pre-existing conditions or accidents that occurred in the past. These forms can be overly broad, allowing them to go on a medical history fishing expedition. Don’t sign a medical release, but have your attorney review it.
The same goes if they make a settlement offer. Often, the amount will be what they consider to be just enough to keep you from filing a legal claim. In other words, it is calculated to be low enough to save the company money but high enough to keep you at bay. Don’t ever agree to the first settlement offered to you.
What Information Should You Provide?
You should start compiling documentation about your accident at the scene if you’re not too injured and don’t need immediate medical attention. Use your cell phone to take pictures of everything. If there are witnesses, get their statements and contact information if they’re willing. If the police come and investigate, try to get a copy of the report they file.
When you get a chance, document everything that happened in writing or via cell phone recording. Keep all medical invoices and medical records. Document lost work and lost wages.
Take these to your attorney to begin the claims process. If you go it alone against the insurance adjuster, these can also become evidence to bolster your claim, but again, be careful not to volunteer information that the adjuster can turn against you.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
An experienced personal injury attorney can not only relieve you of the frustration of dealing with the insurance adjuster but also negotiate to get you the highest settlement possible. An attorney knows when an offer is too low and will represent your interests to the fullest.
Call me immediately if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. I will handle everything for you while you recover.
Steven J. Litvak P.A. proudly serves clients in and around Boca Raton, Florida, including Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and throughout Palm Beach County.