An insurance adjuster’s main goal is to settle a claim for as little payout as possible. With that in mind, you need to approach your claim with a firm idea of what your damages are and how much your claim is worth.
Negotiating without knowing the extent of your damages or value of your claim will likely result in below-value settlement. Adjusters always have a limit on settlement authority, or a maximum amount they are authorized to pay on a given claim. They will try to settle the claim for less than the maximum.
Therefore, never accept the first few offers they make because they can likely offer more. An attorney can help you negotiate to try to receive the maximum amount an insurance company can give you for your claim.
Understanding An Insurance Adjuster’s Role
The insurance adjuster might convince you that he or she has your interest in mind, especially if he or she works for your insurance company. However, the insurance company makes a profit by reducing the amount it pays out. That means that the insurance adjuster’s job is to pay you as little as possible for your injuries.
To accomplish that task, insurance adjusters use methods aimed at weakening your claim, trying to get you to settle for a lower compensation amount than you deserve. To navigate these unsavory tactics, you should watch what you say to the insurance adjuster and avoid falling into common traps.
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What Should You Not Say To An Insurance Adjuster?
Avoid Suggesting You Are to Blame
One way an insurance adjuster may try to weaken your claim is by getting you to admit that you are at fault for the accident.
Fault is the central component of most personal injury cases, since the person who was at fault for the accident is liable for the damages that arise from the accident. Even when you are the victim of the accident, the defendant’s insurance company will probably not admit that the defendant should be held liable for the accident.
If the defendant’s insurance company were to admit that the defendant should be liable, then the company would almost have to pay the full compensation amount. Instead, most insurance adjusters will try to make you accept at least some liability for the accident by asking seemingly innocent questions with severe consequences.
For example, even if the defendant is blatantly at fault, the insurance adjuster could ask you if there was anything you could have done to lessen or avoid the accident. You might think you would never fall for such questions, but imagine there was ice on the road when the accident occurred and the insurance adjuster asks you, “did the ice on the road affect the way you drove?” The insurance adjuster could lead you down a series of questions and answers that they can later interpret as you admitting fault.
To ensure this does not happen, do not engage in any conversations with an insurance adjuster that go down this road of fault and liability. If you do accidentally accept blame for the accident, the insurance adjuster can reduce the amount of compensation available to you.
Let an attorney speak with the insurance adjuster instead to keep your claim as strong as possible.
Avoid Making Statements About Your Injury
Sometimes, immediately following a car accident, the victim experiences an adrenaline rush that prevents them from feeling the extent of their injuries. If the insurance adjuster speaks with you before you have a chance to visit the doctor and receive a medical diagnosis of your injuries, they might downplay the seriousness of the injury. Insurance adjusters downplay injuries to reduce the amount of money they pay victims.
Therefore, visit the doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you do not think your injuries are very serious. If you wait to visit the doctor, the insurance adjuster can use that to show that your injuries are minor and that you are not experiencing pain and suffering. You might think you have merely suffered some scrapes and bruises, but over time it might become apparent that you have suffered a back injury that will take a while to heal.
Do not talk to the insurance adjuster about your injury, and do not tell the insurance adjuster how you are feeling on a given day. The insurance adjuster will have access to your medical records, which provide most of the information the insurance adjuster needs about your injuries.
Avoid Giving Details About The Accident
After the accident, you might be all too ready and willing to tell your side of the story. You know you were not at fault, and you want to let the insurance adjuster know this. The insurance adjuster might also seem friendly and helpful, encouraging you to relay the events of the accident.
However, when the insurance adjuster asks for your statement about how the accident occurred, they are listening for any indication that you were at fault for the accident. They might take any small mistake you made and blow it out of proportion in comparison to the other driver’s negligence.
The insurance adjuster might also ask you to guess or approximate facts from the accident. Also, do not embellish or make up facts about the accident. Do not oblige the adjuster with conversations about the accident without first speaking with your attorney.
Do Not Settle on the First Offer
Insurance adjusters usually make their first offer purposefully low in hopes that you will accept it and quickly move on. While it might be tempting to get the process over with as soon as possible, you might miss out on a large portion of the compensation available to you.
How Do I Challenge an Insurance Adjuster?
It is much harder for an insurance company to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about the settlement process when you have an attorney at your side. Insurance companies know this, which is why the insurance adjuster might try to discourage you from speaking with a lawyer.
Hiring an attorney significantly reduces your chances of making one of the mistakes mentioned above. If you do not have to speak with an insurance adjuster at all, you will not accidentally give them information that they can use against you.
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Speak to an Attorney at Zinda Law Group Today
Handling an insurance adjuster is a foreign and complicated task for many accident victims. However, you do not need to go through the process alone.
Have your free consultation with an experienced attorney at Zinda Law Group by calling 888-541-6041. Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.