Yes, you should talk to the insurance adjuster about vehicle repairs only, but you should not talk to the insurance adjuster about how the accident happened (liability) or injuries or damages to your body.
If your phone starts ringing shortly after getting into a crash, it might be an insurance adjuster calling to collect information. You may be totally caught off guard, and still feeling the shock of the accident. You may also be wondering when is the best time to talk to an insurance adjuster after the car accident.
What Information Can I Share With An Insurance Adjuster After A Car Accident?
It can also be hard to figure out what information should be shared with, or not shared with, an insurance adjuster, especially if you are not yet represented by an attorney. Knowing how to handle an adjuster contacting you after an accident could protect you and any legal injury claim that you might file later.
After a collision, all drivers involved have to contact their auto insurance companies to let them know–no matter who’s fault it was. This means there will be more than one insurance company involved in the claims process after an accident: yours, and the other driver’s.
Once they are notified, insurance companies will typically launch their own investigations of the accident and how it happened. This is where adjusters will begin to step in as representatives of the insurance companies to contact the parties involved in the collision.
Adjusters typically work to collect information about accident claims to resolve them and handle payments.
What Should I Say If An Adjuster Contacts Me?
If you are contacted by a claims adjuster, they may try to push you to provide them with details about the accident. However, in the hours or days after the crash, you may not know the full extent of your injuries or know the actual cause of the crash. Therefore, we recommend discussing only the property damage to the vehicle and where you want to take the vehicle to be repaired.
For these reasons, it is best to limit the information you give an adjuster as much as possible until you hire a lawyer. This can protect you from having to guess or giving inaccurate information that could work against you later.
Remember to be calm and polite in your tone. It is understandable to be upset about having been in an accident, but letting your emotions get the best of you may not help if they are the ones handling your claim.
You should always speak with an attorney before an adjuster calls, but if the adjuster calls beforehand, get their full name, contact information, the name of their insurance company, and the claim number. Tell them you would like to call them back. At this point, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the details of your case before moving forward.
If you have already hired an attorney before an adjuster contacts you, you can explain that you are represented in this matter and would prefer that they reach out to your attorney. You could give them the attorney’s name and contact information as well. Afterward, it may help to let your attorney know that you were reached by an adjuster and provide their details.
What Kinds Of Tactics Should I Look Out For?
It is important for accident victims to remember that if or when an adjuster reaches out to you after the crash, they are not doing it to serve your best interests. They work for the interests of their insurance companies, with the goal of saving them money while resolving claims. Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making money, not spending it.
With that in mind, adjusters may use different approaches to see if you are willing to accept less money, or even drop your claim altogether. They may contact you before you have a chance to hire a lawyer, use a very friendly tone, engage you in polite conversation about the accident, ask you to make a recorded statement, and/or sign documents.
This may be why accident victims who hired an attorney get about three times more in compensation than those who do not. An experienced personal injury attorney can stand up to insurance companies and increase your chances of getting compensated. Call 813.755.9500 today or contact us online anytime to get started with your free consultation.
Keep in mind that an adjuster’s priority is to minimize payouts and resolve insurance claims for as little money as possible. Accepting a settlement offer when they contact you is tempting, because it is a fast way to get compensated and avoid the claims process.
However, once you have signed those claims documents, you lose your right to file a claim later. If your injuries turn out to be more serious than you thought they were, that could mean losing valuable compensation in the long run.
Should I Make A Recorded Statement?
Many claims adjusters will ask if they can record you making a statement about the accident, or ask if they can record your conversation. Remember that you are never legally required to be recorded and they cannot do so without your permission.
If you have not hired a personal injury attorney, it may be best to refuse making a recorded statement until you have spoken to one. Making this kind of statement may seem like something that would protect you later, but doing so could actually jeopardize your claim.
First, it’s common for a person to get nervous when they know they are being recorded. This could cause you to forget important details or explain yourself badly. The content of these recordings, no matter how limited, is also more or less final once it has been made, since it is practically impossible to elaborate on or correct things that you’ve said in a recording later.
Will I Ever Have To Talk To An Adjuster Directly?
Many policies have provisions that require you to cooperate with your insurance company. If cooperating does involve speaking directly with an insurance adjuster, hiring a personal injury attorney to advise you and/or be present during the conversation could help protect you and your claim.