Whether you have been in a car accident before or not, it is important to know how to deal with the insurance company before making mistakes that can destroy your personal injury claim and ruin any chance of getting fair compensation for your damages and losses. Because adjusters deal with car accident claims every day and are looking to minimize claim payouts, it is critical that you learn the basics of speaking with an insurance adjuster.
What You Can Say to an Insurance Adjuster
When speaking to a representative of an insurance company, limit yourself to the following topics of conversation:
- Accident facts. Report the facts and nothing more. You can give the insurance adjuster the date, time, and location of the crash. You can even report the weather conditions, but you shouldn’t offer too much more information about the collision. Insurance adjusters are trained to subtly get people to tell them more about accidents or provide them with recorded statements. The more information you give the insurance adjuster, the higher chance some of your words could harm your case. However, if you did see the other driver engaging in texting or if the other driver ran a red light, you can provide this information to your insurance adjuster. If the insurance adjuster is asking for a recorded statement, politely refuse at this time.
- Other party’s information. Provide your insurance adjuster with the other driver’s insurance information. You should always gather the other driver’s insurance policy number and whatever other information you have about the other driver, such as the make and model of his or her car, license plate number, and driver’s license number.
- Vehicle location. Let the insurance adjuster know where your vehicle is—body shop, auto dealership, or home—so that he or she can inspect your car for damage.
What You Should Not Say to an Insurance Adjuster
Refrain from using any of the following phrases when speaking to an insurance company representative, or anyone else for that matter:
- I’m sorry. Many people have a tendency to apologize for events that aren’t their fault. They do this out of habit or to be polite. If you have a habit of saying sorry, try and bite your tongue so that the police officer or the insurance adjuster won’t assume you are at fault for the crash.
- I’m fine. In the aftermath of car accidents, many people tell their loved ones and others—including insurance adjusters—they are fine. They do this because they honestly believe their pain will go away or because they don’t want others to worry about them. Never say “I’m fine” after a wreck until you receive a thorough medical examination and aren’t in any amount of pain.
- I think I have... Don’t self-diagnose your injuries. Wait until you see a doctor and know the full extent of your injuries before you just assume that you only suffered whiplash, for example. You never know whether your injury turns out to be worse than you thought or if other injuries will manifest in the days and weeks following a car crash.
Being in an auto accident can cause you to feel shaken up. Make sure you don’t make a phone call to your insurance adjuster while you feel like this. If you aren’t in the right frame of mind, you may say something that can hurt your potential personal injury claim. So that this doesn’t happen, you can have someone else call and report your auto accident; however, make sure that person only reports the facts and doesn’t speculate on the cause of the crash.
Unfortunately, having conversations with insurance adjusters is like walking on pins and needles. You never know what they are going to ask you in hopes of trying to get you to say something that would assign some type of fault on your part. If you hire our law firm, our accident attorneys will deal with the insurance adjuster on your behalf, or you can find more information and what you should and shouldn’t do after a car accident on our website.