If you’ve been in a car accident, you will likely have to talk to an insurance claims adjuster. Though speaking with them may sound simple, this process is often deceptive, challenging, and daunting.
Navigating this process alone could mean missing out on tens of thousands of dollars — or even hundreds of thousands — in economic and non-economic damages that you may be entitled to by law.
Fortunately, our personal injury attorneys can guide you through this process. Our top priorities in working with our car accident clients are building a comprehensive claim, avoiding common pitfalls set by claims adjusters, and pursuing a fair settlement for your case.
The auto insurance companies should be notified of the location of your car as soon as possible. We recommend that someone immediately tell the auto insurance companies where your car is located so that the damage can be inspected as soon as possible. This means that you, your lawyer, or a family member should provide the location of your car to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own auto insurance company. However, you should never give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Continue reading to learn more on how to talk to insurance claims adjusters and what they are looking for in a car accident claim.
What are Insurance Adjusters?
An insurance claims adjuster is a professional who works for an insurance company. Their job is to review car accident claims and determine how much money the company should pay out. They will also be your primary contact working with you to settle your claim. You may have several different adjusters to deal with; one for the damage to your vehicle, one for your bodily injury claim, and even another one for your medical payments coverage claim. You must be very careful in dealing with all of them.
Initially, insurance adjusters will make it sound like they have your best interests in mind. To you, it may seem like they are working with you to ensure you get a full and fair settlement that accounts for the economic losses, expenses, pain, and suffering caused by your accident.
However, insurance claims adjusters are not out for your best interests.
In fact, their job is the exact opposite. They are out for the best interests of their employer, the insurance company, and it is in the best interests of the insurance company to pay you as little as possible.
Their “script” will include things like:
- “There’s no need to contact an attorney.”
- “We will pay your medical bills.”
- “As your insurance provider, we’ll handle everything for you.”
Meanwhile, they’ll put your bills in a file and opt for inaction during the claims process, as your lost wages, medical expenses, therapy, and rehabilitation bills start piling up.
What Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Look For?
Insurance claims adjusters actively listen for anything they can use to
- Create doubt in your injury claim, and;
- Reduce your total settlement.
Even the smallest details can affect your ability to get full and fair compensation for your car accident injury or personal injury claim.
For example: Say you mention to the insurance adjuster that your treatment seems to be helping and you are starting to feel better. However, after you get back to all of your normal activities, your condition declines because you still aren’t fully healed.
The insurance adjuster will use your comments about getting better as evidence that your accident injury had healed and that something else was now causing it to get worse. This seemingly innocuous bit of information can often be enough for them to either substantially lessen your claim or throw it out entirely.
What Should You Not Say to an Insurance Adjuster?
Do Not Sign Any Medical Authorization Forms for the Insurance Company
One of the worst things you can do is give medical authorizations to an insurance claims adjuster. Signing a medical authorization gives the insurance agency full access to all your medical records, even those not related to your injury claim.
Again, they will use anything they can find in your records to cast doubt on whether or not the accident was the sole source of your injury and trauma in an attempt to reduce the cost of your settlement.
Instead, contact our personal injury attorneys immediately, even before your initial conversation with a claims adjuster.
Our attorneys can guide you through this process and away from the common pitfalls that car accident victims fall prey to when speaking with insurance adjusters on their own. Once you hire one of our personal injury attorneys, more often than not, you won’t even have to talk to an insurance claims adjuster. We do the talking for you.
Do Not Share Details About Your Injuries with the Claims Adjuster
Mentioning anything related to your health or injury is a huge risk. Remember: sharing the smallest detail with the claims adjuster can weaken your claim and decrease your settlement amount.
Do Not Share Details About Your Prior Medical Conditions or Old Injuries
You may have seen your primary care physician or other doctors before the accident for numerous medical conditions that have nothing to do with the car accident. Do not share this information with the claims adjuster. The claims adjuster will use any information that you provide about medical treatments you had before the accident to undermine your injury case.
Do Not Tell the Adjuster Details About the Accident
Do not share any information about the accident, either. In some cases, sharing too much information (or any information) about the accident itself may result in the insurance company claiming you’re the at-fault driver when that may not be the case.
For example: You mention to the insurance adjuster that, as you approached an intersection with a green light, you noticed the at-fault driver in the opposite direction, in the left turning lane, waiting to turn left. You then say you continued to proceed toward and through the intersection because you had the right of way, and all of a sudden, the at-fault driver turned left in front of you, causing the collision.
Believe it or not, a slick insurance adjuster will use your “admission” that you saw the other vehicle getting ready to turn as an admission that you failed to keep a proper lookout and, therefore, the wreck is partially your fault. Yes, that is ridiculous, but it is used all of the time by insurance companies to devalue your claim.
What Should I Say to My Insurance Adjuster?
Before speaking with an insurance adjuster, you should contact our office first for information. Insurance adjusters handle claims all day every day. Level the playing field by finding out how to protect yourself rather than falling victim to traps you otherwise wouldn’t be able to avoid. If you decide to hire one of our attorneys, you won’t have to speak to an adjuster at all.
Our attorneys will take your insurance claims adjuster’s contact information, and serve as their direct point of contact as we guide you through the claims process.
How Do You Negotiate with a Claims Adjuster?
There’s a saying that goes, “A person who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer.” This directly applies to personal injury claims and cases.
Don’t get taken advantage of by insurance adjusters. A seasoned personal injury attorney or firm are the only parties qualified to negotiate with an adjuster and formally handle your claim or case.
In addition, trying to negotiate with an insurance adjuster on your own is, in itself, another common mistake that can quickly devalue your claim. In circumstances like this, we see insurance adjusters fall back on, “If your accident was so injurious or traumatic, how are you healthy and able to represent yourself?”
Our injury attorneys have decades of experience in avoiding these pitfalls, speaking with insurance adjusters, and representing clients through the injury claims process. We know what to look out for and will fight for our clients and the settlement they deserve.
How Do I Get the Most Out of My Insurance Claim?
To get the most out of your insurance claim, contact GBM Law today.