Don’t make the mistake of speaking to an insurance adjuster without the representation of a car accident attorney.
One of the biggest mistakes car accident attorneys see clients make is speaking with an insurance claim adjuster before they have legal representation.
An insurance adjuster’s role is to investigate claims against their company to determine whether the claims are legitimate. On the surface, insurance adjusters seem like neutral parties between you and the insurance company, but this is not true. They are employees of that insurance company. Their livelihood depends on how well they do their jobs. To be clear, their job is to save their company as much money as possible. So how does an insurance company save money? It’s by paying injury victims the least amount possible or by not paying anything at all.
This does not mean that you should never speak to any insurance company after a car accident. It means you should be cautious who you speak to and what you tell them, and we would highly recommend consulting with an accident lawyer first. You are much safer letting your attorney handle communications with insurance carriers from day one to avoid any mistakes.
However, after you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle collision, providing basic information about the incident to your own insurance company is okay. It is perfectly fine to share where and when the accident happened as well as details about the people who were involved.
However, you do not want to get too detailed about injuries or who was at fault. Speaking to an insurance adjuster about your injuries or describing how the accident happened could jeopardize your case.
This is especially true when it comes to speaking with the other party’s insurance adjusters. In fact, it is in your best interest to avoid direct communication with the opposing insurance company altogether.
If you were injured because of a car accident, you should always seek an attorney’s advice as soon as possible. Most if not all car accident attorneys offer a free consultation for this very reason.
Never Speak to the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
You should never speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company because their goal is to pay out as little money as possible. Unfortunately, their company’s profit comes at your expense.
Insurance adjusters, just like all employees, are valued for how well they do their job. In this case, doing their job well means saving their company as much money as possible. That turns a conversation with you into an opportunity to fish for information that will allow them to deny, delay, or undervalue your personal injury claim.
Insurance Adjusters Will be Friendly at First Contact
Insurance adjusters will initially appear as friendly as possible to gain your trust. They will seem patient, helpful, and concerned about your well-being. When they’re friendly and sympathetic, you’re less likely to question the information you give them.
This means that you could be talked into admitting something that isn’t true or convinced that they’re offering a reasonable settlement when they are in fact giving you the least amount possible.
Additionally, insurance companies contact you as fast as possible in hopes that you haven’t had a chance to speak to an attorney. They act fast because it is a proven tactic for diminishing valid personal injury compensation claims.
Adjusters may make it seem like they’re doing you a favor by handling your claim so that you don’t have to spend money on a lawyer. However, most insurance adjusters are aware that most people who have an attorney end up with far more money in their pocket, even after attorney fees. That’s because attorneys know the true cost of injuries and they know how to advocate for proper compensation for their clients.
The Insurance Company Will Want to Get You on Record
Insurance adjusters want to get you on the record (either through a phone conversation or in writing) so that they can lock you into one version of how an accident happened and how serious your injuries are. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to remember all the details after an accident.
Very often, the evidence that tells a different story can be uncovered after the fact. A personal injury attorney has the experience and resources to discover the evidence to support your case.
Surveillance footage of the accident scene may reveal new information. And medical evaluations can prove the severity of your injuries. However, insurance companies will resist accepting new information if it increases the value of your claim.
Imagine a player injures their ankle while playing soccer. If you asked them how the incident happened and how severe their injury was one minute after the injury, one day after the injury, and one year after the injury, would you get different results? If you were able to go back and watch the video of the soccer game, or look at an MRI scan of their ankle, would you reveal new information? The obvious answer here is yes. But most insurance adjusters will ask you what happened and how bad your injuries are only once and then expect you to stick to that answer.
Insurance Companies Can Record Conversations Without Your Consent
In Arizona, an insurance company can legally record your conversation without explicitly telling you. This is because Arizona has a one-party consent law. They may let you know they’re recording as a courtesy. However, they are not required to announce this fact.
Insurance adjusters are aware that you are frazzled and stressed following an injury. They know you’re not in the best frame of mind to give a recorded statement. Quite simply, they use this to their advantage.
This is another reason hiring an attorney helps to level the playing field. Your attorney is not emotionally involved. So when your attorney contacts the insurance company on your behalf, they will make sure the facts that are shared are objective and paint a clear picture of the incident, your injuries, and your damages.
You May be Offered Quick Cash
When insurance adjusters offer quick cash, they’re more than likely trying to shortchange the accident victim. If they are offering any money at all it’s because they are trying to lock in a low settlement amount as quickly as possible.
They understand that as the injured party, you are overwhelmed by your medical bills, lost wages, and other financial stressors due to an accident. Any financial relief may seem enticing to a personal injury victim.
What adjusters won’t mention is that once you’ve accepted a settlement, you’re locked into that decision for good. The settlement will usually require that you sign a settlement agreement, which means you waive the right to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. It is almost always impossible to file a subsequent claim if you later discover that your injuries are more serious and costly than you had imagined.
This is why we always strongly encourage accident victims to speak to an attorney before they accept a settlement offer. Also, personal injury attorneys use a contingency fee agreement. This means there’s no money up front, no fee unless you win your case. Further, the more money a lawyer gets their client, the more they make.
Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Hire an Attorney
Insurance companies may not want you to hire an attorney because they know that you don’t fully understand the law. Their experience shows that attorneys will fight for the compensation their client is entitled to and won’t take anything less.
If their client is blatantly at-fault, insurance adjusters will offer the bare minimum to cover your immediate medical expenses. But that doesn’t include all other damages a personal injury victim may incur.
Experienced attorneys take a comprehensive look at how your injuries will impact you in the long run. You may need a surgery in the future or your earning capacity may be reduced. These costs will likely not be considered by an insurance company when they offer you a quick payout.
An attorney will also consider the value of your pain and suffering. If a car accident causes you to never be able to pick up your grandchild again or to lose the ability to do your favorite hobby, what is that worth? No quick offer from an insurance company is going to consider this.
Hire an Attorney and Let Them Speak to Adjusters on Your Behalf
Having your own legal representative to speak to the insurance company for you is one of the many benefits of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone’s negligence, Abels & Annes can protect you from the insurance company’s tactics. As your personal injury attorneys, we will strategize to secure maximum compensation for your injuries. For a free initial consultation, call us at 855-749-5299 or contact us online.