Whenever someone intends to file a personal injury claim for compensation after an accident that was not their fault, the arrival of the insurance adjusters is sure to follow. Notorious for trying to save insurance companies money in any way possible – it is their job description, after all – insurance adjusters generally attempt to cut down compensation and coverage amounts as much as possible. The fastest and easiest way to reduce or eliminate the coverage given to an accident victim is to find a way to pin liability on that said victim.
How To Talk To An Insurance Adjuster
Whether you realize it or not, what you say to an insurance adjuster can make or break your chances at a proper recovery. The most valuable evidence to use against someone filing an injury claim is often the words that come directly out of their mouths, or in the digital age from their fingertips. If you need to speak to an insurance adjuster as part of filing your injury claim, it can pay – almost literally – to know what to expect, what to say, and, most importantly, what not to say.
When talking to an insurance adjuster, especially for the first time for a claim, you should:
- Identify Upfront:
Insurance adjusters are often not directly employed by an insurance provider but instead act somewhat like an independent contractor, getting jobs on a case-by-case basis. In case something goes sideways, you need to know who can be held accountable for the adjuster’s mistake. At the start of the conversation, get the insurance adjuster’s name, business address and name, contact information, and the insurance company he or she is representing. This might seem intrusive but it is crucial for your claim and should be willingly given to you.
- Discuss Politely:
Insurance adjusters are instructed to get information relative to an accident as soon as possible. This means that you might get a call from one while you are in a hospital bed and only starting your recovery. As understandably difficult as it might be, it is important that you keep calm whenever talking with an insurance adjuster, don’t blame them for your accident or even their role in your claim, and never use abusive language. The goal is to give nothing to the insurance adjuster, or any potential opposition in your claim, that suggests you are ill-tempered or unreasonable, as this could hurt your own claim in unexpected ways, such as losing a judge’s favor on split decisions.
- Limit Personal Information:
Remember why the insurance adjuster is calling you in the first place? It isn’t a friendly checkup. They want you to tell them something that puts liability onto you. During your initial conversation with an insurance adjuster, the only personal information need to tell them your name, address, and typical contact number – nothing more! Anything else you tell them is optional, no matter what the adjuster says. To be safe, don’t disclose where you work, your usual schedule, and other things that could be used to identify you. With just your name, number, and address, they should be able to look up your policy information without any trouble.
- Detailing the Accident:
This is the point where an insurance claim following an accident gets particularly tricky. If you are speaking with your own insurance company’s adjuster, you might have to provide details – but still back things up with “I am not sure.” If you are being contacted by the insurance adjuster working for the other party’s insurance company, you basically have to provide zero details in the first conversation. You should provide the basic, inarguable facts like where and when you were hurt, but other intricacies can be saved for later. The simplest response is to say you are in the middle of conducting your own investigation and that you will be able to provide the requested details when it concludes.
- Injury Severity:
Of course, the insurance adjuster is going to want to know how you were injured and to what extent. This is information you shouldn’t give out in the first conversation, no matter what insurance adjuster is talking to you. Designate what areas of your body have been injured but try not to get too specific. You should follow up each statement with something along the lines of, “That is not a medical opinion. My injuries could be much worse. I am still seeking medical treatment for a final diagnosis of the extent of my injuries.” If the adjuster asks which doctor is helping you, this is also not information they need.
Dealing with Insurance Adjusters with Our Help
Just the thought of talking with insurance adjusters might be enough to give you a headache, or at the very least make you uneasy. What if you say the wrong thing or give out too much information? It could feasibly be twisted to be used against you and hurt your coverage or compensation amount.
Berthold Law Firm, PLLC and our attorneys help our clients manage their claims from start to finish. Some clients choose to retain our legal services the moment after an accident so we can be the ones who talk to their insurance adjusters. With our 40+ years of legal practice and knowledge, we know what needs to be said and how to keep your case at its full potential.
Want to know more? Call 304.605.2040 and ask for a free consultation!