An insurance claims adjuster is someone the insurance company hires to assess your claim. The claims adjuster will review the claim submitted, call you for more information after the accident and analyze submitted evidence. The adjuster will then give his or her opinion on whether the insurance company should accept or deny your claim.
It is extremely important to know how to handle conversations with an insurance claims adjuster after an accident. The claims adjuster is not on your side and will not protect your rights. Instead, it is up to you to protect yourself by knowing what to say and what not to say to the adjuster.
A cardinal mistake made by many injured accident victims is admitting fault for the accident. You might do this intentionally, without realizing its impact on your claim, or the adjuster may trick you into admitting fault. Be cautious not to say or imply that you were in any way to blame. This includes apologizing for the accident. Admitting any degree of fault for the accident can reduce or eliminate the compensation available. Instead of taking the blame, wait for an official investigation to determine who is liable.
It is important not to intentionally give the adjuster any misinformation. A misrepresentation of facts on your end could lead to an invalid insurance claim and even a criminal charge for insurance fraud. Always tell the truth when speaking to an insurance agent. It is also wise to keep your answers short and succinct. Do not give long, narrative answers or offer any information the insurance adjuster did not specifically request. Giving away too much information could allow the claims adjuster to twist your words around and use them against you.
Another common mistake claimants make is to quickly answer no when a claims adjuster asks if the victim has any injuries. While you may not feel like you are injured, a professional medical exam could show that you have a hidden injury, an injury with delayed symptoms or an injury with masked pain due to your adrenaline from the accident. It is important to always go to a hospital before answering a claims adjuster’s questions about your injuries. Telling an adjuster that you are not injured will make it harder to obtain insurance benefits if a doctor finds an injury later.
Insurance claims adjusters often call clients immediately after their accidents, before the client has the chance to fully understand what happened or receive an accident report from the police. This is an intentional strategy to try to obtain a recorded statement from the client before he or she knows the facts of the case.
Always say no to giving a recorded statement to a claims adjuster. Texas law does not require you to do so, and complying with the adjuster’s request could hurt your case. Getting you on record saying the wrong thing could paint you as an unreliable witness if further investigation finds it not to be the truth – even if you did not intentionally lie. The best way to protect yourself is by politely declining permission to record the conversation.
Insurance claims adjusters have training and experience in diminishing clients’ payouts. Insurance companies hire them with specific instructions to save the companies money by devaluing claimants’ injuries and losses. Protect yourself from common claims adjuster tactics by hiring a Houston personal injury lawyer to speak to the insurance representative for you.
Your lawyer can use aggressive negotiation strategies with the adjuster, avoid potential pitfalls and mistakes, and allow you to focus on your injuries with greater peace of mind. Your lawyer will not allow a claims adjuster to take advantage of you and will not say yes to a settlement that does not accurately reflect your losses. Talk to a lawyer in Houston for more advice about speaking to an insurance claims adjuster after an accident.