When you have been injured in a car wreck, you will have a thousand things on your mind. How will I get to work tomorrow without a vehicle? How will I pay for these medical bills? Can I even go to work with these injuries? The last thing you expect is an insurance adjuster calling to take a recorded statement. Are you prepared?
First of all, the adjuster may ask to record the conversation, or she may not. It is legal in several states for one party to a conversation to record it. The adjuster will be polite and courteous, a professional, specifically trained to get certain information out of you. She will try to limit your damages. She will try to get you to admit your share of fault. She will intentionally call one or two days after the crash, before you even feel the extent of your injuries.
How do they trip you up, you ask? They will ask you leading questions such as “you are feeling better today than you did after the accident, right?” or “you have told me everything that is wrong with you, haven’t you?” Even though you may try to answer these questions honestly, you may say things that they will use against you later. You may feel okay, but soft-tissue injuries don’t fully develop until over 72 hours after an auto accident. If you tell the adjuster that you feel healthy, and you later develop chronic back pain, the insurer will use your statement as evidence that you said you were fine after the accident.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid these dangers:
- Know your legal rights. You are not obligated to speak with anyone.
- You do not have to give them any information until you are ready to pursue a claim.
- DO NOT SIGN any documents they send you without consulting with an experienced auto accident attorney.
- If you answer the phone or the door and it’s an adjuster, simply inform them that you are hiring an attorney and do not wish to be contacted directly.
- Schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney so that you will know your legal rights before you lose them.
Remember that these adjusters are trained professionals, so do not be afraid to ask for help from a professional to put the negotiating power back on your side. The insurance adjuster’s only job is to settle the claim for as little money as possible. Knowing their motivation before speaking to them can save you a lot of trouble later.