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Five Things You Should Never Say When Dealing With an Insurance Adjuster

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You will be dealing with insurance companies if you suffer injuries in a car crash. Whether you file claims with your PIP coverage, the at-fault driver’s insurer, or both, you should know what not to say if you speak with insurance adjusters.

Insurance adjusters have rules they must follow to process your car insurance claim. Their job is to settle your case with as little hassle and payment as possible. They have to protect their company’s bottom line, after all. They might say they are on your side and offering you the best they can, but this is usually not the case, even if it is your own insurance company.

Adjusters use every communication to update your claim file, seeking possible reasons to reduce or deny your settlement. It is too easy for injured claimants to say something wrong and jeopardize their claims.

An attorney can be a big help when dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident. Car accident lawyers work with insurance adjusters daily, and they know how adjusters work. Adjusters might be nice people, but at the end of the day, they’re still under orders from the insurance company.

The best move is to have a car accident attorney handle all communications with insurance companies, including your own. You can refer the adjuster to your attorney, who will field all questions and present evidence for you. This protects your claim and also relieves the stress of possibly saying the wrong thing.

If you speak with an adjuster, be sure to know what you should never say. To discuss your specific situation, immediately reach out to a car accident lawyer for a free case evaluation.

Five Things Not to Say

Five Things You Should Never Say When Dealing With an Insurance Adjuster

Whether your adjuster came straight to the accident scene or you are on a phone conference days later, you need to be on guard when giving information. What might seem like a harmless comment can come back to haunt your claim, and it can be difficult to overcome such obstacles.

Below are five things you should avoid saying when speaking with insurance representatives. There are additional dos and don’ts regarding insurance communications, and you should discuss those with your lawyer in light of your specific case.

1. Don’t admit you were at fault.

Admitting fault in an insurance claim is telling the insurance company that your injuries stemmed from your own negligence. The adjuster can use this admission as a reason to deny your claim.

When you file a claim against an at-fault party’s insurer, you are responsible for proving their liability. The insurer will expect you to present evidence that the policyholder was negligent and caused your accident. If liability is in question, the insurance company will deny or significantly reduce your settlement offer.

Sometimes, people do not even realize they might be admitting fault. You might say, “I looked down for a second and didn’t see the car slam into me.” You might assume that because the other driver hit you, they will be to blame. However, the adjuster might note that you were distracted because you looked down for a moment. They might claim that your distracted driving contributed to the crash enough that you do not have a valid claim.

Even apologizing at the accident scene or on the phone can be enough for an adjuster to challenge liability. Many people instinctively say they are “sorry” when something bad happens. However, adjusters can misconstrue this and allege you were apologizing for your part in the accident.

Anything they can interpret as an admission of fault, they will. Be careful when discussing the accident, and always stick to the facts, not how you feel about what happened.

2. Don’t agree to sign a medical release.

You should be suspicious when insurance adjusters ask you to sign a form to allow access to your medical records. Accessing your medical history may allow adjusters to find old injuries or conditions that they claim are causing your current suffering rather than the accident.

Of course, adjusters will need your records regarding the injuries from your car accident. However, they can obtain your full history when you sign a blanket release. If you previously had a back injury years ago, they might allege that your current back pain is a flare-up of a previous injury and has nothing to do with the crash. They might try to reduce your settlement if they think the accident aggravated a pre-existing injury instead of causing a new injury altogether.

There is no reason why adjusters need to access your medical history, so you should not sign a release form. Instead, allow your lawyer to present only the medical records they need to assess your claim.

3. Don’t say you’ll give a recorded statement without talking to an attorney.

Insurance adjusters often use misleading questions when speaking with claimants. They may try to get you to admit your injuries weren’t serious or that you were more responsible for the accident than the other driver. They also want to record your answers, so they have proof of what you said.

You have no obligation to agree to a recorded statement. Doing so can hurt your claim. You might think you can give a statement without saying anything wrong, but insurance adjusters can easily trip you up with their questions. Once you say something on a recording, the adjuster might misinterpret your statements and use them against you.

What might seem like a friendly conversation can quickly turn into evidence they use to deny your claim. If an adjuster requests a recorded statement, politely decline and tell them you are hiring an attorney.

4. Don’t badmouth the other party at fault.

Ranting and raving about “the jerk that caused my car accident” will not do you any good. Getting heated about the accident may cause you to slip up and say something you didn’t mean to, which can ruin your case.

Instead, always remain calm when speaking with insurance companies. You might be upset when remembering what happened or how severe your injuries are, but you should not let it show. You can maintain better control over what you say – or don’t – by keeping your cool during every communication with adjusters.

Adjusters might say things that are false, such as you contributed to the accident or your injuries do not seem that serious. Even if you get frustrated by their statements, calmly correct them. Better yet, if an adjuster makes an untrue statement about the accident or your injuries, end the conversation and immediately report everything to an attorney. This is a sign that the adjuster plans to play hardball with your claim, and you should have legal representation as soon as possible.

5. Don’t say you’ll take the first settlement offer.

When you have medical bills and other injury-related losses, getting a settlement right away and without much hassle might seem ideal. However, always beware when an insurance adjuster makes a quick settlement offer for your claim.

The initial settlement offer is often the bare minimum. Adjusters offer low initial settlements hoping you’re desperate enough for compensation that you’ll take anything without considering it. Accepting this offer is often the biggest mistake you can make, however.

Once you accept a settlement offer, you sign an agreement with the insurance company. This agreement includes a waiver of your future rights to seek additional compensation. The settlement acceptance ends your claim, and you give up the right to take additional legal action regarding the accident and injuries in question.

The insurance company will underestimate your losses. The adjuster might fail to factor future losses or compensation for pain and suffering into your initial settlement offer. If you accept less than you deserve, you will be responsible for covering any remaining losses.

If you need future medical care or will miss work due to your injuries after your claim, you must ensure your settlement covers your losses. You also must ensure the adjuster properly calculates your pain and suffering compensation.

Unfortunately, many people believe the adjuster when they say the initial settlement is the best they can do. They trust that the adjuster is a professional, and they might seem friendly and sympathetic. The claimant might accept an offer and not realize it was inadequate until it is too late. This is a situation you always want to avoid.

Your best bet is never to accept a settlement offer without first speaking with a car accident lawyer. An attorney can review your losses and assess the true value of your claim. Then, you know what you should and should not accept from an insurance company.

Adjusters Treat Attorneys Differently

It might seem unfair that insurance adjusters act differently toward claimants than attorneys, but this is our reality. Adjusters know that injured claimants often have little experience with insurance claims. They can take advantage of the situation and convince claimants to say the wrong thing or accept an insufficient offer. All of this saves the insurance company money, and some adjusters even have incentives for minimizing claim payouts.

Adjusters also know they cannot use their usual tricks and tactics on attorneys. They realize that car accident lawyers handle insurance communications and negotiations daily and know how adjusters try to reduce claims. Once you have a lawyer handling the process for you, they take over communications, and you can let go of concerns about what to say or not say.

Attorneys can provide many other benefits during the insurance process, including:

  • Accurately calculating your current, future, and intangible losses
  • Obtaining and presenting evidence to prove liability and to support your damages
  • Advising you when to reject an inadequate settlement offer
  • Negotiate for higher amounts
  • File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court if the insurance adjuster does not make a fair offer

Having a lawyer shows the insurance adjuster that they cannot take advantage of you. You are ready to fight for the full compensation you deserve and will not back down. A lawyer also means the possibility of litigation is real, which often leads an adjuster to be fair during your claim to avoid going to court.

In short, while there are many things you should not say or do during your insurance claim, there is one thing you always should do – hire a trusted car accident lawyer near you immediately.

Stay Calm, Stick to the Facts, and a Car Accident Attorney Can Help

Five Things You Should Never Say When Dealing With an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance Attorney, Michael T. Gibson

When talking to the insurance adjusters, always remain calm and stick to pure facts. If you find yourself answering their questions with “I think,” stop and rephrase to provide only factual information. Better yet, tell them you want to continue the conversation later, as you plan to hire a car accident attorney.

Contact a lawyer who can assist injured drivers who are in the process of dealing with an insurance adjuster. No matter where you are in the process, you can seek legal help, and your attorney will take over insurance communications and negotiations. This is the best way to protect your rights to full compensation for your losses.

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