7 Tips For Dealing With An Insurance Adjuster
Written by greg on October 30, 2014
1. Know the adjuster is not on your side!
The larger your personal injury claim the more likely it is that the adjuster who is contacting you will be nice and friendly. The smaller your claim appears to be to them, the more likely they may be rude and abrupt. If an insurance company perceives that they have a significant loss exposure, the adjuster is most likely going to try to establish rapport with you and will seem helpful and fair- until money is discussed!
One of the reasons on significant damage claims that the adjuster may be friendly and even appear helpful is that they may attempt to discourage you from hiring a car wreck attorney. Some adjusters have been known to say such things as “we accept responsibility“, or “you don’t really need to hire an attorney, they’ll just take part of your money”. There is a REASON why the insurance company discourages you from getting representation and its not to benefit you!
*Tip -Hire the best attorney you can as early as possible.
Frequently, it is only after the adjuster actually discusses compensation that the personal injury victim understands that they need an attorney. Unfortunately, that usually happens many months after the accident and the damage may have already been done to the case.
2. What you say can hurt you!
Insurance adjusters will want to take recorded statements from a personal injury victim as soon as possible after a car crash.
*Tip -We recommend that you do not give a recorded statement to an adverse adjuster.
However, if you do give a recorded statement to an adverse adjuster be very careful what you say.
Insurance adjusters have been trained in how to take statements from personal injury victims. Do not let them put words in your mouth. A question such as “when did you first see the other vehicle” is a loaded question in that it assumes that you did see the other victim vehicle prior to impact.
Another area of conversation that comes up and recorded statements is the extent of injuries. Sometimes, a victim may not know the extent of their injuries until a day or two or even later. Other times one area hurts so badly that other medical problems are not fully identified. Avoid giving statements while taking medicine.
3. Watch out for negative comments!
Adjusters often will seek to imply the claim is little value or is valued less than it maybe should be. The adjuster may try to imply they have problems with the medical or that they feel you are partly to blame. Subtle statements about a claim can serve to reduce the expectations of the victim. Don’t fall for it.
*Tip -Talk with an experienced attorney about your case not the adjuster!
4. Avoid settlement traps!
A few the most common settlement traps are:
- Quick settlements
- Estimated future medical settlements
- Pressured settlements
- Pre-diagnosis settlements
- Disregarding medical liens.
Some adjusters attempt to pressure a personal injury victim into settling early often before a clear diagnosis has been made on the injuries. Many a victim has fallen prey to this tactic and the consequences can be severe as the risk of a serious injury shifts from the insurance carrier to the victim.
It is a bad idea to settle before you know the extent of your injuries. Insurance companies do not pay medical bills while they are ongoing and attempts to entice you into a quick settlement so you can pay your medical bills is almost always a bad way to go.
If you are not sure of the nature or extent of your injuries, put off any attempts to settle until you are certain you have been diagnosed appropriately. Once you settle a case, if you find out your injury is more serious than you anticipated you are out of luck to get more money!
With big impacts such as with an 18-wheeler accident, make sure that you have been released by your doctor and are comfortable personally that you have completely healed before you consider a settlement.
*Tip -Always consider potential medical paybacks if health insurance paid some amount or a hospital filed a lien.
4. Delays can hurt your case!
Delay in seeking medical treatment can be very damaging to a personal injury claim. The longer you wait for medical treatment and large gaps in the treatment will make the potential for settling your case out of court much harder. Additionally, long delays between treatment can also make it very much more difficult to recover money from a jury.
*Tip- Follow your doctors orders and do not delay in getting treatment.
5. Take advantage of free consultations
Most reputable personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to personal injury victims. Whether you hire an attorney or are considering handling a car accident claim yourself, taking advantage of a free consultation is a good idea and there really is not a downside to taking advantage of it.
*Tip- Speak with several attorneys to find one you are comfortable with.
6. The more serious your injury the more likely you need a lawyer
Personal injury claims include more than just negotiating a number with the insurance company. The more serious your injuries and the larger your medical bills, the more likely it is that you will need a personal injury attorney to assist you. If you have health insurance, your health insurance company probably will have their hand out and want to be paid back for the medical bills they paid.
If your hospital bill hasn’t been paid there probably is a hospital lien that will take the first money out of any settlement. Retaining an experienced and successful personal injury attorney for a more serious injury is a better choice. Insurance adjusters attempt to discourage you from getting an attorney for a reason- to save money. Studies have shown those represented by competent counsel net more money.
*Tip- The larger the case, the more your choice of attorney matters, always research attorneys before you hire one.
7. Do not volunteer information to the adjuster but tell your attorney everything
Causal talk with any adjuster should be avoided. This includes talk about you, your injuries, your background, prior claims or injuries and how the accident happened. The most innocent of comments can open up issues and come back to bite you if you are not careful. If you hire a lawyer to handle your case, tell them everything and let the attorney do the talking for you. Do not make the mistake of thinking keeping something from your lawyer will help you, it will not and will hurt or kill your claim if your lawyer is unaware.
*Tip- Tell your attorney everything because it is the only way they can effectively help you.