You expect help from your insurance provider after an accident. But insurance companies don’t protect your best interests; they protect theirs.
Insurance companies charge a lot for coverage and hope you never use it. If you do, they’ll try to pay as little as possible or deny your claim altogether.
They do this by using insurance or claims adjusters. Insurance adjusters are well-trained negotiators. They move your case in a direction that costs the insurance company as little money possible.
They may try to get you to compromise your case by saying or doing something you shouldn’t; allowing them to deny or reduce the value of your claim.
That means you and your family could suffer financially and physically. It’s a sad scenario, but its reality. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to hire a personal injury attorney who knows how to deal with them.
Talking to Insurance Adjusters
If you decide to speak to one on your own, remember this: never volunteer any information.
Only answer the questions you are asked, sticking to short yes and no answers whenever possible. Never lie or make anything up. If you don’t know the answer to a question simply say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.”
As you are speaking to the adjuster, keep the following in mind. These are things you should never say to an insurance adjuster:
- Don’t admit fault. This will compromise your settlement. Don’t comment on who was responsible. Even saying “I’m sorry” could be seen as an admission of guilt.
- Don’t talk about your injuries. Don’t discuss the extent or severity of your injuries. That information only concerns you, your doctor, and your lawyer.
- Don’t let them make you feel rushed. Some insurance adjusters pretend to be in a hurry to make you nervous or flustered.
- Don’t give your opinion. It’s not your job to speculate about what caused the accident or who was at fault.
- Don’t lie. This will destroy your integrity and your case. Tell the truth and keep your answers short and sweet.
- Don’t give out your social security number. Insurance companies don’t need this, no matter what they say. Providing your social security number may give them an opportunity to use your past against you.
- Don’t talk about pre-existing injuries. Injuries that occurred before your accident are not relevant to your claim. Bringing them up gives the insurance company an opportunity to say your injuries were not caused by the accident.
- Don’t give references. They aren’t needed for your claim and the insurance adjuster may harass your family and friends.
- Don’t consent to being recorded. Never give a recorded statement without speaking to your attorney first.
- Don’t say you feel “fine.” It’s a habit when asked how you’re doing to reply “fine.” Unfortunately, an insurance adjuster can use this to demonstrate that you aren’t suffering or in pain.
- Don’t be too friendly. Insurance adjusters will make small talk with you to make you feel relaxed. Be polite but not chatty and remember: insurance adjusters are not your friend.
Click here to download the “7 Tips For Speaking To Insurance Adjusters” infographic.
Common Insurance Adjuster Tricks
If you speak to an insurance adjuster, you should know there are certain tricks they might use to get you to compromise your case. Some of the most common tricks are:
- Convincing you to use their “preferred” body shop. There is no such thing as “preferred” body shop. By law, all insurance companies are required to negotiate with any body shop after a car accident. When an insurance adjuster wants you to use a certain body shop, it’s because the insurance company has a deal with the shop to keep repair costs low. But this could result in the body shop doing a poor job or “missing” repairs that should have been found.
- Persuading you to use a “preferred” doctor. A “preferred” doctor probably made a deal with your insurer. The insurance company sends business to the doctor and they agree to keep treatment costs low. These physicians may not be invested in your long-term health and recovery.
- Convincing you not to hire an attorney. Insurance adjusters know attorneys make their jobs harder. In reality, hiring an attorney is the best way to make sure you’re being treated fairly.
- Talking you into signing a general release. Some insurance adjusters will offer you a small sum of money if you sign a general release. General releases are used to release all claims for your accident, including repairs, rental vehicles, and medical bills. If you sign a general release, you waive your right to further compensation. That’s why you should never sign anything without speaking to an experienced personal injury attorney
- Telling you a recorded statement is mandatory. This is not true. You don’t have to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. They record statements hoping you’ll compromise your case. After an accident, you may not be in the right state of mind to give a recorded statement. If you hire a personal injury attorney, they will handle communications with the insurance company so you don’t have to.
- Persuading you to accept a settlement before your medical treatment is finished. Some injuries take months or years to heal. If you accept a settlement before you’re fully healed, you may be missing out on compensation. The insurance company knows this and may try to get you to settle quickly and for less than you deserve. Never accept a settlement without consulting an attorney, especially if you’re still being treated.
There are plenty of reasons you should never consider an insurance adjuster to be your friend. That’s why it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident.
If you need help dealing with aggressive insurance adjusters, call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo. We’re here 24/7 to answer your questions and help you. Call us for a free consultation at 877-529-1222.