Being involved in an accident is incredibly stressful and traumatic and, unfortunately, the trouble does not end there. One of the first calls you will receive in the aftermath will be from the insurance adjuster that represents the at-fault party’s insurance company. It is important to understand that this person is not your friend and is not interested in helping you. Instead, the insurance adjuster’s goal is to reduce or eliminate the amount of compensation you receive. To accomplish this, what you say can potentially be taken out of context or twisted and turned against you.
Below is a list of some mistakes you should avoid making when speaking to the insurance adjuster in order to ensure your chances of obtaining compensation are not irreparably damaged:
- Never agree to provide a recorded statement: The insurance adjuster will likely be eager to obtain a recorded statement from you regarding the accident. It is crucial that you politely decline to provide this, unless your personal injury attorney is present to advise you. Insurance adjusters are trained to frame their questions in a way that will elicit an answer from you that will harm your claim.
- Be honest with the insurance company: While you should refrain from providing a recorded statement or volunteering any information, it is still imperative that you never lie to the insurance company. If you do not want to answer a question or you are unsure of what to say, simply decline to answer instead of guessing or outright lying.
- Do not give them access to your medical records: Eventually, the insurance company will obtain your medical records, but initially, you should not grant them access to this information. The fact is that your medical condition is going to change with time and you will want to ensure that the adjuster has the most complete and accurate picture of your medical condition. Once you have a clearer picture of the extent of your injuries, you and your attorney can draft a more effective demand letter.
- Do not mention pre-existing injuries: When you speak with the insurance adjuster, make sure that you do not discuss any pre-existing injuries. Otherwise, he or she might deny your claim or offer you a lower settlement. Only your doctor has the knowledge necessary to evaluate your injuries and determine how or if they relate to one another, so leave it to an expert.
- Never exaggerate your injuries: While you certainly do not want to downplay your injuries, you should also avoid exaggerating the nature of them. Insurance adjusters have heard it all and can generally tell when someone is not being truthful regarding the extent of their injuries.
- Avoid letting your guard down: The insurance adjuster might seem very personable and charming, but this does not mean you should let your guard down. Be polite, of course, but stay on your guard and do not volunteer any information.
- You do not have to answer every question: The insurance adjuster might make you feel as though you are obligated to answer every question he or she asks, but you are actually under no such obligation. You can provide basic information, including where the accident took place, the make and model of your car, and the time of day it occurred, but at this stage, you do not need to answer much more than that, especially without an attorney present.
- Do not use loaded terms: There are certain words that carry a lot of baggage, such as “whiplash,” which tend to raise a red flag for insurance adjusters. Again, stick to the facts and the basics without editorializing or making any assumptions.
- Do not give any unnecessary personal information: The insurance adjuster is going to try to get as much information as possible for you. Make sure you politely decline to give any personal information, such as your social security number.
You should also keep in mind that, no matter how straightforward your case might seem, assuming it will settle is a big mistake. Make sure you hire an attorney who is prepared to negotiate and, if necessary, take your case to trial.
Personal Injury Attorney in Marysville
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by another party’s negligent actions, you have a right to pursue fair and just compensation. At Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC in Marysville, our team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to fighting on behalf of the wrongfully injured and will do what it takes to ensure the responsible parties are held accountable.