If you’ve been in an accident, the chances are good that you’ll need to communicate with an insurance company at some point during the recovery process. It is incredibly important that you keep a few basic guidelines in mind when speaking with adjusters, no matter honest they seem. Let’s take a look at seven tips to help make the process a fairer one for victims.
The Adjuster is Not Your Friend
The number one thing to keep in mind is that the adjuster is not your friend. That might not be immediately clear. You might end up with an adjuster who is incredibly friendly and seems very honest and kind, for example, especially if the claim in question is a particularly expensive one. The primary goal that adjusters have in this situation is to build a rapport with the victim to make their recommendations and offers seem more authentic and beneficial than they are.
It is an adjuster’s job to settle for as little as possible to minimize the financial loss experienced by the insurance company in question. Never forget this, no matter how nice they seem on the phone. They’ll probably even tell you that your case is pretty clear and there’s no real reason to hire an attorney – that the agency accepts responsibility and will settle. And they might, indeed, be willing to settle. But it will most likely be for [Steve Hanagan] far less than what you are entitled to receive. That’s why an attorney is vital in these cases! They can help communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Everything You Say Can Be Used Against You
Do not give a recorded statement to an adjuster, especially not when you’re still coming to terms with the accident and recovering from any injuries suffered. Much as insurance adjusters are not your friends, many are also not above manipulating you however they can to make your case seem as weak as possible. They have received training devoted to how to interview injury victims and will ask you loaded questions that seem innocuous but are designed to trip you up.
Don’t speak with an adjuster at all if you can avoid it, and don’t talk with them right after the accident. You have time to receive medical treatment and diagnoses – you don’t need to give an immediate statement. You can also reach out to an experienced attorney who can communicate with adjusters on your behalf.
Ignore Minimizing Statements
In addition to encouraging you to give a statement before you are ready and discouraging you from seeking legal help, adjusters will often make little remarks about the worth of your property, your medical bills, or their responsibility to issue compensation. This might be one subtle comment per conversation, perhaps about how they have “determined” you to be partially at fault for the accident and that it will impact your sentiment. These statements are designed to lower your expectations so that you end up happy with whatever the insurance company offers you, regardless of whether it’s actually the compensation you deserve.
Or, perhaps more accurately, don’t settle right away. Injuries are complicated, and it’s not unusual for the full extent of the damage done to take months to be revealed. That means that if you settle right after the accident takes place, you could find yourself with expensive medical bills to pay and no compensation left to cover them. No matter how much the insurance adjuster pushes you to settle right away, take your time and wait to receive the full information regarding your damages and your health. You can’t go back in time and retroactively increase your settlement amount, so it’s best to wait until you have a good handle on exactly how much money you’re going to end up spending as a result of the accident.
Don’t Delay Treatment
If you have been in an accident, you need to seek medical treatment right away. Waiting can hurt your ability to recover compensation from the insurance adjuster because it not only complicates treatment and makes it harder to definitively say what injuries were caused by the accident and what happened later, but also because it will make people question why you waited so long for help. If you were “really” hurt, then why didn’t you seek attention immediately? Even if you aren’t sure you need treatment, take the time to be seen. If injuries should emerge after the accident, you’ll have a record of seeking treatment that can be tied directly to the accident.
Don’t Volunteer Information
Don’t offer information to the claims adjuster. Those details should be shared with your attorney only and giving the insurance company more information only serves to lower your chances of receiving appropriate compensation.
Get a Free Consolation
You might not be sure that you need an attorney after an accident, and maybe you don’t. But many consultations are free, and there’s no harm in getting a professional opinion. These cost you nothing but could end up saving you a lot of stress while increasing your compensation at the same time.
For more information about insurance claims and whether you could benefit from an attorney’s help, contact Hanagan and McGovern today!