Any time you suffer an injury as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, you can bet on the fact that an insurance adjuster will be contacting you. It is important to remember that no matter how nice an insurance adjuster sounds over the phone, it is not an adjuster’s job to protect your interests. In fact, adjusters are trained to give out as little money as possible. This is why it is very important to the outcome of your personal injury claim that you know what to say and not to say to an insurance adjuster.
How to Deal With an Insurance Adjuster on Your Own
Insurance adjusters have a knack for asking leading questions and using people’s words against them. They do this to limit the company’s liability. Because of this, talking to an insurance adjuster can be tricky, which is why we have created the following list of tips to help you deal with an insurance adjuster when handling your own injury claim:
- Gather information before talking with an insurance adjuster. It is important to your injury claim outcome that you have evidence and can make your case as strong as possible. For this reason, it is in your best interest to take pictures of the accident or hazard that caused your injuries. Also, you should obtain a copy of any police report or incident report. Make notes while everything is still fresh in your mind; however, you don’t want to share all of your documentation with the insurance adjuster just yet. Only do this once you know the full extent of your injuries and have reached maximum medical improvement.
- Seek medical attention for your injuries. Whether you take a ride in an ambulance and are treated in the ER or you wait until the next day to see your primary physician, it is wise to get your injuries looked at as soon as possible following a car accident, slip and fall accident, or other type of personal injury accident. Insurance adjusters will be looking at this fact and will notice if there is a gap in seeking medical treatment following an accident. If there is, you can bet they will ask you about it and will assume your injuries weren’t significant since you waited to see a doctor. If this is the case, be prepared to deal with this question and make sure the adjuster understands how your injuries have negatively affected your life.
- Don’t accept any money or sign any paperwork at the beginning of a claim. An insurance adjuster may provide you with a check right after your accident. If you cash the check, you may have lost your rights to negotiate for further compensation. Also, adjusters are notorious for getting people to sign medical authorizations so they can go back through old medical records, hoping to blame your current injury on an injury you had in the past in order to pay you less money. Make sure you read all the fine print and understand what you are signing before signing any paperwork.
- Don’t give the adjuster a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters can harm your injury claim by trying to get you to say something that can ruin your case in a recorded statement. They often make you believe that you have a duty to provide them with a recorded statement in a certain window of time. It is best to wait until the full extent of your injuries are known before going on the record to make any statements.
- Don’t let an insurance adjuster pressure you into moving too quickly. Insurance adjusters know that if they move quickly on your case, some of your injuries may not have been revealed, you will have less time to think things through, and you may have had no time to speak with a lawyer to learn about your rights. Never let an insurance adjuster pressure you with a time frame. Instead, try and slow things down, but always know there are time limitations (known as statute of limitations) for every case.
Although you can talk with an insurance adjuster on your own and handle your own personal injury claim, never forget that adjusters deal with claimants every day and this might be your first experience dealing with an adjuster. For this reason, it may be best to have an accident attorney handle your injury claim.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Will Handle an Insurance Adjuster on Your Behalf
An attorney can do the following for you:
- Handle all the calls and communication between you and the insurance company. Once you hire an attorney to represent you in your injury claim, the insurance company will be notified to direct all calls and correspondence to the law firm. If you do get a call or letter in the mail, you can notify your lawyer and he or she will respond to the insurance adjuster. This will save you time and reduce your stress.
- Prepare a settlement package or demand package to strengthen your case. Your lawyer will write a letter to the insurance company explaining the accident and how you have been adversely affected due to your accident-related injuries. Although you can create a demand letter, an attorney will know how to make it supportive and authoritative as well as include the full dollar amount your case is worth.
- Negotiate with the insurance adjuster to get you the top dollar for your injury claim. After the insurance company reviews your demand package, they will send a response letter. Typically, they don’t agree to the dollar amount in demand letters, and they may even say they don’t owe you a dime. When this happens, your attorney will get to work negotiating for the highest dollar amount possible in your case. In some cases, this involves a lot of back and forth communication between the insurance adjuster and the attorney.
- Represent you in trial. If the insurance adjuster is not willing to negotiate or is standing firm on a settlement figure that is not adequate, your lawyer can take your case all the way to court and let a judge and jury decide. Sometimes just the threat of taking a case to court will get the insurance adjuster to come around and offer a fair amount.
If you would like to find out how our personal injury lawyers can help you through your personal injury claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, feel free to fill out our contact form online or call us at (703) 721-4233 for a free consultation.