How To Talk to An Insurance Claim Adjuster
Being involved in a vehicle accident can be a confusing and scary experience. After the dust settles and the initial emergency is over, you will be left dealing with insurance carriers in order to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage. Unfortunately, dealing with insurance claims adjusters can be complicated. These individuals work for the insurance carriers, and their goal is to limit the amount of money they pay you in a settlement. Regardless of which insurance carrier a claims adjuster works for, you need to be guarded when speaking to them. Here, we want to discuss some things that you should remember when speaking to an insurance claims adjuster after a crash.
The first call with an insurance claims adjuster
In the hours or days following a car accident, or any other type of incident that results in property damage or an injury, you are likely going to be contacted by an insurance claims adjuster. First, we want to point out that insurance claims adjusters are very good at their job (which is to limit the amount of money they pay you), and they will seem very polite. Do not let your guard down when speaking to an insurance claims adjuster, even if they sound like your favorite aunt.
- Remain calm and polite. You may have mixed emotions or even be angry about the accident and your injuries, but speaking harshly to the insurance claims adjuster is not going to help you get the settlement you need. Stay calm and remain polite.
- Do not give a recorded statement. It is very likely that the insurance claims adjuster will ask you to give a recorded statement. They may even make it seem like this is necessary. You do not have to give a recorded statement under California’s insurance laws, and you should not do so, even if you do not think you were at fault for the incident.
- Identify the person speaking. Get the name, address, and phone number of the person you were speaking with, and make sure they identify what insurance company they are with.
- Give limited personal information. You need to give the insurance claims adjuster your name, address, and phone number. You can tell them what type of work you do and where you are employed, but you do not need to go into any detail about your income, your work schedule, or your daily life activities. Additionally, do not agree to sign over an authorization form giving an insurance claims adjuster access to your complete medical records.
- Give no details about the accident. An insurance claims adjuster may ask you to give a statement about how the accident happened, or they may even engage you in polite conversation in which they subtly bring up the accident to try to get you to discuss it. You do not need to go over any information other than the basic facts of the case (where, when, the type of collision, the vehicles involved, the identity of witnesses). The insurance claims adjuster will be conducting their own investigation into the incident and will have access to all the reports necessary.
- Give no details about your injuries. Do not give a detailed description of your injuries, particularly soon after a collision occurs. You might not yet know the full extent of your injuries, and the signs and symptoms of many injuries do not occur until hours or days after a collision occurs. Wait until your doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement before discussing any information about your injuries.
Resist the urge for a quick settlement. Insurance claims adjusters often push for a quick settlement, which can seem enticing when you have incoming medical bills or vehicle repairs that need to be paid. You need to understand that most early settlement offers are far below what you should be receiving, and the first offer should be a starting point for your counteroffer. Never accept a settlement until after you have reached maximum medical improvement, speak with our bad faith insurance attorneys in San Diego if you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith.