5 Things to Never Say to an Insurance Claims Adjuster After an Accident
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Automobile insurance is required in most states to drive. Insurance is a way to protect you from financial costs in the event of a motor vehicle accident. When you are in a car accident, the moments immediately afterward can be crucial, both in your actions and in your words.
Adrenaline and shock may occur after a car accident, but it is important to be very careful of what you say when dealing with insurance claims adjusters. Speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible, preferably before speaking with a claims adjuster. This article will help you learn what not to say to a claims adjuster after an accident.
what should i say to the claims adjuster?
The only safe thing you can say to an insurance claims adjuster is that they should speak with your lawyer instead. You may wonder if you need an attorney after an accident, but if you are struggling to deal with claims adjusters and the process feels overwhelming to you, consider hiring an experienced injury attorney.
Many people may feel reluctant to hire an attorney, especially for what they may think is a minor car accident. However, insurance claims adjusters use many tactics to reduce the amount they pay you, but a personal injury lawyer will be well-versed in these tactics and how to combat them.
5 things never to say or do when dealing with insurance claims adjusters
Many people do not know that they are able to negotiate with claims adjusters and that many of the things they tell you are based on strategy tactics to get you to either admit fault or diminish fault on their behalf. These tactics will enable them to pay you less in a settlement. What you say to insurance claims adjusters is crucial as it could harm your ability to recover what you are entitled to. Be careful to never make the following statements:
1. Never Give a Recorded Statement
An insurance claims adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement of your version of the events from the car accident. They may make you believe that this is not optional and may pressure you for a statement. This is not true. You are allowed to deny them and should avoid admitting any fault.
Sometimes, insurance claims adjusters may visit you in the hospital following your injuries from a car accident and attempt to obtain a recorded statement while you are vulnerable. Do not give in to these coercive tactics. Giving a recorded statement will prevent you from making changes to what you said. If you recall something incorrectly, or misstate any detail, the claims adjuster could use this against you and release themselves from liability.
Never make guesses or speculations as to what happened. It is better to avoid giving a recorded statement at all so that you can provide the details on your own to your lawyer. Once you have retained a lawyer to assist you, the claims adjuster will have to speak directly to them instead.
2. Never State That You Are “Okay” or “Feel Fine”
It is not uncommon for claims adjusters to misinterpret your words to use them against you. If they ask you how you are feeling, and you respond that you are “okay” or “feel fine,” they may try to assert that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. Insurance claims adjusters are trained to be able to ask you questions that get you to say something that will negatively impact your claim. It is not unusual for them to try to make your statement sound like it is against your interests.
Be sure not to overexaggerate your injuries, but it is important not to allow them to diminish your injuries either. It is safest not to speak to them without your attorney present. If possible, do not speak with them at all once you have an attorney who is working on your case.
3. Do Not Post to Social Media
It is important not to talk about the car accident to too many people outside of those who were there and your attorney. Do not post pictures online or discuss your injuries online. Insurance claims adjusters may be able to access your social media accounts, especially if they are public. Anything that is posted can be used against you and may harm your claim or prevent your from recovering the full compensation you could receive.
Even posting pictures such as you on vacation or enjoying time with friends could be used by claims adjusters to argue that you are not as injured as you say you are. It is safer to avoid posting anything that could be misconstrued by insurance companies until your claim is settled.
4. Do Not Consent to a Medical Release Waiver
Never consent to a medical release waiver requested by the insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster may request medical records and information that is beyond the scope of your car accident. While this may help to understand the extent of your injuries and evaluate the settlement amount, offering too much information that is not relevant could harm your claim.
For example, if you had an unrelated, preexisting injury, the claims adjuster may use it against you to weaken your claim. If you suffered only physical injuries and are not claiming any mental distress, a request for a psychological evaluation may be unreasonable. Your medical history is private, and you may not feel comfortable sharing all of it with an insurance claims adjuster. Be careful of consenting to physical examinations that seem outside the scope of your injuries that occurred because of the car accident.
5. Do Not Accept the First Settlement Offer
The first settlement offer might come quickly following the accident and might be much lower than you deserve. If the offer comes to you before you have had time to evaluate your injuries or any damages to your car, then you cannot be sure if the offer has factored in all your costs. Do not let the claims adjuster pressure you into believing that there is a rush to accept an offer; allow yourself time to seek medical treatment and determine the value of your car to estimate repair costs before you accept any offer.
Some of your injuries may require long-term treatment. You are entitled to recover for the full extent of your injuries, which includes any future costs. Waiting to understand if there will be any future costs is important to factor into your settlement amount.
Be wary of these other tactics
Insurance companies know that you may be under a lot of stress following a car accident and may use this vulnerability to their advantage. Insurance companies have a motive to pay you as little as possible and will not have your best interests in mind. Claims adjusters may employ a variety of tactics to accomplish their goal of avoiding a large payout.
A claims adjuster may tell you that you do not need a lawyer or that your claim is straightforward enough to proceed without representation. Do not allow them to convince you. It is extremely beneficial to have a lawyer represent you who has your best interests in mind. An experienced lawyer will know the relevant laws in your state and will be aware of the tactics that claims adjusters use. It is their job to get you the settlement award that you deserve.
Claims adjusters may also attempt to deflect liability by claiming another party is responsible. They may also try to arbitrarily delay your claim. Insurance companies know that you may need immediate payment following a car accident, especially if you had expenses related to medical treatment or car repairs. Creating arbitrary deadlines by which you must accept their offers or delaying the claim to create desperation or hopelessness are both tactics to avoid a fair negotiation.
It is for these reasons why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney after a car accident is beneficial. Your lawyer is there to represent you and be your advocate. If a claims adjuster knows that you are represented and that they must speak to your lawyer first, they may be less inclined to employ some of the tactics above.
Get Help from car accident lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims injured in car accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.