If you’ve recently been involved in an accident and filed an insurance claim, you will almost certainly get a call from an insurance adjuster. This person is responsible for getting more details from you about your accident in order to judge their client’s culpability and any settlement amount.
These adjusters can be from third-party companies, government entities, or the corporation itself. While they may seem kind and helpful, they are also always looking out for the best interests of their companies. Insurance adjusters have dozens of cases to close, and they would like to close yours as quickly and cheaply as possible. You must be careful when talking to insurance company adjusters since a statement you may believe to be innocuous can have heavy repercussions down the line.
If you can, you should hire a personal injury lawyer before you receive a call from your claims adjuster. You are entirely within your right to speak to an attorney, and we encourage you to talk through the possible series of questions with them. Attorney Freddy Saavedra offers free consultations, so you can talk to us before you even begin.
Of course, you should always speak candidly and honestly about your car accident or injury. Insurance fraud is a serious business, and we would never recommend you do anything but tell the whole truth about the events leading up to your car accident. However, adjusters can sometimes twist your words or read between the lines to make what you say seem false or disingenuous, so it’s essential to be prepared with your statement.
It is important that you do not accidentally admit fault when speaking to an insurance adjuster. Often, unrepresented or uninformed clients will make offhand remarks that come back to haunt them when it comes to getting a settlement.
Your personal injury lawyer will help you speak to your insurance adjuster. Car insurance companies will often try to get a recorded statement over the phone. This kind of statement is much more difficult to control, as they can ask leading questions or make inferences you never meant to imply.
Stay as courteous as possible over the phone without being overly polite or deferential. If there were witnesses, refrain from identifying them if possible. You can even counter by requesting their information, as they may be bluffing and trying to get witness information out of you. Your witness may be far less careful than you about what they say to an insurance company, so you must keep their official contributions as concise as possible.
It’s much better to give a written statement to the car accident insurance company if possible. It is legal to decline a recorded interview and ask where to send a written record of the accident as it occurred. A personal injury lawyer will also help you know which questions to answer from the insurance company, as well as which questions to avoid. You are also allowed to schedule your recorded interview with the insurance company adjuster in the presence of your lawyer, which we recommend if you plan on speaking over the phone.
Auto insurance adjusters are looking for any factors that could limit the amount you could claim for damages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering. Insurance companies look for ways to minimize their client’s culpability or dispute your case to reduce the payment amount.
Claims adjusters will already have certain documents available to them, like eyewitness reports, medical bills, or police reports. They will go through these documents carefully and may also try to find anything sketchy in your history, especially if your claim is closer to their maximum payout.
Insurance company adjusters are also looking for any vulnerability on your behalf, so make sure you stay firm, stay truthful, and stick to your words. Honesty is vital to this part of the process, but so is conciseness. Say exactly as much as you need to, but no more.
Auto insurance adjusters will also likely come to take a look at your vehicle or request pictures of the damage for which you’re claiming compensation. Some adjusters will require you to go to a specific repair shop and may ask you to shop around to find the lowest estimate and only pay that amount for repairs.
Strong negotiation skills are vital when working with adjusters. Their job is to protect the company’s money, and they are looking for anything that can allow them to lower a settlement offer even more.
We cannot stress enough how important having legal counsel is during this process. An underrepresented claimant is easy pickings for these professionals, and you may end up with an offer that ends up being far less than what you need. In general, clients with professional personal injury lawyers receive over three times the amount of unrepresented claimants.
There’s no need to hate or look down on insurance company adjusters. They’re just doing their job. But you also need to make sure you’re looking out for yourself. Trying to be nice or understanding to insurance companies is a habit that can hurt you in the long run, so be vigilant about your language and discuss it with your lawyer before speaking.
Your claims adjuster may also be lower on the rung than you might realize. They sometimes have a certain maximum amount that’s lower than the insurance company’s maximum. In these cases, they’ll have to consult with a higher-up to verify the amount payable to you, giving you more time to speak with your lawyer and cement your case.
They may try to rush you, but as long as you file a lawsuit on your claim within the statute of limitations, you have the right to take your time. Don’t just sit on your claim, of course, but don’t be fooled by their claims of “limited time.” You have as much time as you need.
Remember, you are the one who got in the accident. You are always the expert in the room, and holding firm to that knowledge will give you a world of advantage in negotiations. The claims process can make you feel helpless, which is where having an attorney at your back can be essential to keeping you motivated and giving you the legal jargon you may need to process your claim.
Most insurance companies start by requesting images of the car to assess the amount of property damage. However, some prefer to send out an adjuster in person to look at the car and decide whether it’s still drivable or completely totaled.
This process generally happens within days of the accident, so you should try and get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. You may even get a call the next day. Even if it happens earlier than expected, don’t panic. Your lawyer should be able to guide you through how to speak to them when they arrive. No matter what, it’s a great idea to call your lawyer as soon as you hear the insurance adjuster will come out.
When they come out, they will likely ask you questions about the car and the accident while they’re taking pictures. Just like over the phone, be courteous. Say no more than you need to. They are trained to be friendly to keep your guard down. A consultation with your legal counsel should help you avoid further pitfalls in their presence.
We cannot stress enough how helpful a personal injury lawyer can be in negotiations with claims adjusters and insurance companies. That’s why we at Saavedra Law Firm offer free consultations. We know that without us, your chances of receiving what you deserve can go down significantly.
You should use an injury lawyer, in particular, since this form of law is complex and relies on an intimate and extensive knowledge of types of damages and trends in settlement awards. An experienced attorney will keep you from sending extraneous offers when you’ve hit the limit and when to accept the amount offered with confidence.
The time directly after a car accident is often stressful and confusing. You may have significant physical or mental injuries, as well as have to deal with damage to your vehicle, all on top of your regular life. Having an attorney dedicated to this type of law can be your saving grace when it all becomes too much. They can take a second look to find things you might have missed or help you draft a letter to the adjuster that outlines every detail.
Attorney Freddy Saavedra is committed to serving his community in this way. Being a help to those in this difficult time is a top priority for all of us. As part of our commitment to aiding justice, we offer a completely free consultation you can book over the phone, 24/7. We also charge no fees unless you receive compensation.
Attorney Freddy Saavedra offers services in Spanish, as well.
Call us today at (602) 878-6625, and let us help you get what you deserve.
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