What to Say (and Not Say) After an Accident
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster After a Car Accident?
You can bank on it: within a very short time following your accident, you will hear from the other driver’s insurance company. Although it may seem like the natural thing to do, getting involved with an insurance adjuster is rarely in your best interest. If you want a fair settlement, never engage in any discussion with the insurance company’s representative. Instead look to getting a car accident insurance lawyer, who can guide you through this tricky process.
Insurance companies are in a tremendous hurry to get to you when you’ve been in an accident with their insured. Some insurance companies even dispatch an adjuster to the accident scene! Don’t make the mistake of believing that they’re in a hurry to pay you the value of your claim, because they’re not. What they are in a hurry to do is get to you before you have a lawyer.
Your Interests vs. the Insurance Company’s Interests
Insurance adjusters are usually a friendly bunch, personable and helpful—or so it seems. But before you even think of exchanging pleasantries with the adjuster, consider the insurance company’s reason for existing.
The insurance company is not in business to help the injured. It is not in business to help anyone—except its stockholders, and maybe the CEO who expects a multi-million dollar annual bonus. The insurance company exists for the benefit of its investors. That’s not to say that insurance is not beneficial to you—it is. Not only that, it’s required by law. But the true interest of the insurance company is not its insured and it is not the accident victim. Its true interest is making money.
As in any major corporation, profits rule. And insurance companies make profits by taking in more (much more) in premiums than they pay out on claims. So they love to sell you policies, but they hate to pay on claims. So in the interest of their own profits, they work very hard to avoid paying claims. And the adjuster is well trained and has an impressive repertoire of tricks up his sleeve to use on the unsuspecting.
The Adjuster’s Bag of Tricks
The adjuster will buddy up to you and promise to do his/her best to make things right for you, so you won’t need a lawyer. “Lawyer’ is the very last word the adjuster wants to hear. Remember what the adjuster’s goal is. The adjuster works for the insurance company and knows that once you have a car accident insurance lawyer, the company is going to have to pay you a lot more than if you could be persuaded to go it alone.
The adjuster will ask to record a statement from you about the accident and will then try to lead you into making a statement that will damage your case.
Adjuster: Good morning. How are you today?
You: Fine thanks.
Adjuster: Glad to hear it!
You bet the adjuster is glad. You just said you’re fine. Fine means not injured. Not injured means no payout. Enough said?
NEVER GIVE AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER A RECORDED STATEMENT!
The adjuster will give you medical authorizations and ask you to sign them, telling you that the law requires it. SIGN NOTHING! You haven’t even been treated yet, or your treatment is just beginning. Of course, you will eventually provide medical records, but at this point it’s premature. All the insurance company wants to do is rummage around in your medical history in the hope that something will pop up they can use against you. Sign authorizations only when your attorney tells you to.
The adjuster will offer you a quick settlement. All you have to do is sign a full release. If you do this and next week you discover you have a herniated disc, a slow brain bleed, or complex regional pain syndrome, there will be nothing you can do to get any more compensation for the newly discovered injuries. You’ve signed that right away. And you can be certain the amount being offered won’t be close to fair.
So when the insurance adjuster comes to call, don’t engage. To protect your right to a fair settlement, all you need to tell the adjuster is, “I’ll be happy to take your card and get back to you with the name of my attorney.”
Call an Attorney Now!
Call the Birmingham offices of attorneys Wettermark Keith today. We will throw the full force of our years of experience and success behind your claim. We will fight hard for your right to a recovery that compensates you for all of your injuries. Our consultation is free, and you won’t pay legal fees or expenses until the day you receive your settlement check. If we don’t win (a rare occurrence), you owe us absolutely nothing. Call Wettermark Keith now for your free consultation.