Tips for Talking With Insurance Adjusters After a Car Accident
If you've been in a car accident, it won't be long before you are contacted by an insurance adjuster. The adjuster will call you to find out more about the accident, determine whether you have coverage, and ultimately estimate the value of your claim. We recommend you seek legal advice as soon as possible after you've been hurt in an accident, so that your attorney can help you with this process and protect your legal rights. But if you do find yourself on the phone with an adjuster before you get a chance to get a lawyer, here are some tips to help you.
Remember that The Insurance Adjuster Works for the Insurance Company
The main thing to keep in mind as you have these conversations is that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. They will try to settle you claim quickly, sometimes before you are aware of the severity of your injuries or have time to figure out what your claim is worth. You should be respectful and polite when you speak with them, but be careful of giving them too much information about your case.
Information the Adjuster Will Ask For
The adjuster will need to know the names of each person and vehicle involved in the accident, what was damaged, and who was injured. They will be looking for photos of your vehicle, an estimate of damages, a copy of your police report, and names and contact information for any witnesses. The adjuster will ask detailed questions to get at the facts, and you should be prepared to provide the basics: where, when, the type of accident, the vehicles involved, and the identity of any witnesses. But avoid giving too many details that could later be used against you. If the adjuster continues to ask questions or tries to engage you in a more detailed conversation about how and why the accident happened, just say that you are waiting to speak to an attorney before answering more detailed questions.
You will also get questions about your injuries. They will ask what part of your body was injured, whether you've had medical treatment to that part of your body before, when the last time you had treatment, and what the diagnosis was a that time. You really need to be careful about what you say here. For example, if you tell them that you injured your back at work ten years ago they may argue that your current back issues are due to an aggravation of a prior injury and minimize the value of your claim. If you have injuries, we recommend you discuss your case with an attorney before you have any conversation with an adjuster. Don't give a detailed description of your injuries in the initial call, as you may inadvertently leave out things or underestimate the extent of your injuries. Tell the adjuster you are still in treatment and that the full extent of your injuries is not yet known.
Don't Give a Recorded Statement
The adjuster may ask for a recorded statement from you as part of his or her investigation. Just say no. The main purpose of recording you is to try to get you to say something that may undermine your claim. This is not required to file a claim and our advice is to politely decline that request. Tell them that you would like to get legal advice before discussing anything on the record.
Don't Sign a Medical Release Form
As part of your claim, you will be required to present certain medical records to establish the nature and extent of your injuries. However, if you sign a medical release form, the insurance company will have access to all of your medical records, not just those relevant to the accident. This is an unnecessary invasion of your privacy and could lead to the insurance company trying to argue that your injuries where not caused by the accident, but are a result of some prior medical issue in your history.
Get Legal Advice As Soon as Possible After Your Accident
Talking with insurance adjusters after a car accident can be hazardous to your claim. Our best advice is to discuss your accident with an attorney before you talk with the adjuster. We offer a free consultation, and you don't have to pay any legal fees until we win your case. Our attorneys will sit down with you to discuss your case, answer all of your questions, and give you the guidance you need to make sure you are fairly compensated. To schedule your free consultation, click the button below or call us at (225) 925-9368.