Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Four Things Never to Say to an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident

For most people, "insurance company" means the agent who sold them their home, life, auto, or health insurance policy; a salt-of-the-earth family man with a ready smile, genuinely interested in your life and family, and whom, after you signed the policy application, let you keep the pen! 

After an auto accident, you'll meet another insurance company representative: the adjuster.  While pleasant and charismatic, she acts on behalf of the other driver’s insurance company when he negligently injured you.  She’s matter-of-fact and businesslike, and, because insurance companies are in the business of making money, her primary goal is to minimize your claim.  

To receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage, there are four types of statements you should never make to an insurance adjuster. 

1. “In My Opinion” or “I Think”
An adjuster may ask you several things in several ways, and all your answers will be used to prevent you from getting your claim's maximum value.  If you do not know the answer to a question, say nothing and only state the facts.  Don’t guess or estimate anything.

 2. “I’m Sorry” or “It Was My Fault”
Apologize for nothing.  Apologies can be interpreted as admitting fault, you did not witness the accident and everything you say will be used against you.  Even if you feel you are at fault, the other driver may have caused the accident or have just as much responsibility for it as you do.  These statements should never be made to any insurance adjuster, police officer, or other driver.

3.“I’m Not Hurt
Volunteer nothing.  Just because you may not have any visible injuries, it does not mean you are fine.  Some injuries may not show up right away and the initial shock's adrenalin may prevent you from feeling the pain you may experience in the ensuing days.  Have a doctor document any pain you may be feeling and avoid signing a medical release without speaking to an experienced accident attorney.

4. Recorded Statements
You have no obligation to give a recorded statement.  Because what you say to an insurance adjuster can be taken out of context, never agree to provide a recorded statement.

 Many accident victims are not aware of their claim's value and may be tempted to accept the insurance company's first offer.  Do not rush into a settlement without consulting an attorney able to calculate your claim's value, taking into consideration immediate and future injuries and expenses such as medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the impact an injury may have on your life.