How to Deal with an Insurance Adjuster After a Car Accident
- Personal Injury
If you’ve ever been involved in a car accident, you’ve probably dealt with an insurance adjuster. They are insurance company employees assigned to investigate a claim, determine who is at fault (in the case of a car accident), and estimate how much the insurance should pay out.
What you say to an insurance adjuster can have significant consequences and affect what compensation, if any, you receive. Here are a few tips for dealing with an adjuster after a car accident.
Remember Their Motivation
The most important thing to remember when dealing with an insurance adjuster is that they are not on your side. They are not impartial judges. They work for an insurance company that is faced with the prospect of paying you money, and their job is to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. If they estimate your case is potentially worth $100,000 and get you to settle for $10,000, they’ve done their job well.
Get Names and Take Notes
Identifying who you’re talking to and who they work for is always a good idea. Write down anything that you tell them and what they ask of you. You never know when this information will be useful, and taking notes may help you be more intentional with what you say.
Tell Them as Little as Possible
There’s not much to gain by providing information to an insurance adjuster, but there is potentially a lot to lose. They will be looking for anything to use later as leverage to pay you less money, so it is better to simply not tell them anything beyond basic details such as your name, the model of your car, where the accident occurred, etc.
Do not discuss the details of the accident or your injuries. You may inadvertently leave something out or discover more injuries later, and these statements can be used against you as evidence that you were partly at fault or not as injured as you claim.
One of the best ways to get out of the conversation if they are pushing for details (and they will push for more information) is to tell them you are meeting with an attorney and you’ve been advised not to discuss the case. Even if that’s not the case, it’s a good excuse to stop talking.
Be Polite, But Be Firm
Maybe you are stressed, or your nerves are frayed, but it’s best not to antagonize or insult the insurance adjuster. They are professionals but still human; if you make them mad, they may take an interest in making your case more difficult.
On the other hand, insurance adjusters will take advantage of your politeness if they can. If you try to set boundaries, they may ignore that and ask you probing questions. Many people will answer direct questions out of fear of seeming rude.
Again, a great way to end the conversation is to say that you are meeting with an attorney and have been advised not to discuss the case.
Resist the Pressure to Settle Quickly
Insurance adjusters are trained to settle cases quickly, but that’s rarely in your best interest. If you settle before the full extent of your injuries is known, you will lose all claims to compensation for those additional injuries, and that’s a big win for insurance companies.
The other big reason adjusters want to settle right away is that they know the longer they wait, the more likely you are to hire an attorney. Victims who are represented by attorneys almost always get higher settlements, so adjusters may try to subtly dissuade you from that path and push you to sign a release.
Talk to an Attorney and Get the Adjuster off Your Back
The number one way to improve your dealings with an insurance company is to hire an attorney. Not only are outcomes usually significantly better for people with legal representation, but it also takes a lot of pressure off of you. As soon as you hire a lawyer from JBP, we will send out letters of representation and you won’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing.
Our attorneys always work on a contingency fee basis. So you have no up-front costs.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys to discuss your case. We can evaluate your case, negotiate on your behalf, and get you the compensation you deserve.