After a car accident, you should focus on healing physical and emotional trauma, repairing your car, and completing any appropriate forms that may require your attention. While those are the areas that should require your attention, you may also receive a phone call from someone from the insurance company covering the other person in the accident.
In this instance, you should remember the importance message: Never talk to strangers.
The main reason why only your lawyer should talk to an insurance adjuster is the fact, without experience speaking to and understanding insurance adjustors, too many things can go wrong.
Never give a statement to an insurance adjuster
After an accident, you will have to deal with at least two insurance companies. You will have your insurance company and that of the other person—or people—involved. After an accident, you must call your insurance company and inform them about your accident as soon as possible. Share with your insurance company all the facts from the event, including the location, the date, the time, a list of other people involved, and even the conditions of the road.
Even with your own insurance company, you do not need to discuss any injuries that occurred from the accident, especially before you meet with an expert personal injury attorney who can guide you through the appropriate process. In many accidents, especially minor incidents, signs of physical or emotional trauma may not present themselves immediately but could still be present.
For example, symptoms of whiplash may not develop until a few days after the accident and can last for several weeks and can take anywhere from six weeks to six months to heal.
After a motor-vehicle accident, the other insurance company will most likely reach out to you quickly and try to make friendly contact. You are never under any obligation to speak with the other insurance company and, in most situations, you should not do so.
The friendly tone and understanding atmosphere the other insurance company creates is really more of a tactic to make you feel comfortable. The job of an insurance adjuster is to find all the legal ways to limit payouts. That means, they are looking for reasons or ways for their company to pay you less than what you may deserve for your pain and suffering.
Why only your lawyer should talk to an insurance adjuster
An insurance adjustor doesn't want you to hire an attorney. They would much rather deal with you in the hope that you do not know your rights, understand your accident, or understand the nature of the law. They want to take advantage of their knowledge of the situation in order to limit possible payouts.
An insurance company must apply value every injury case. No matter what your injuries may be, you have no control over some of the factors the company may use in assessing that value, which include things like:
- Your injuries
- The defendant's insurance policy
- The Value of an automobile
- Proof of pain and suffering
An experienced personal injury attorney not only understands how an insurance adjuster works but also looks at the big picture of your case. For example, will your injury cause lifelong issues that require consistent medical attention? Does an offer cover vehicle repairs and medical expenses? These, and more, are the kinds of important questions your personal injury attorney considers when dealing with insurance adjusters. This is also one of the reasons why negotiating a settlement is very important, rather than taking the first offer the insurance company provides.
Can insurance adjusters lie to you?
An insurance adjuster can lie to you and may be encouraged by their company to do so. This is one of the reasons why, no matter how friendly they may seem, they are not your friend. Their first priority is to protect the company and their company's interests.
By speaking with an insurance adjuster without your personal injury attorney, the adjuster will try to use your conversation in some manner to deny or reduce your claim, or even intimidate you. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to accurately calculate your pain, your suffering, and the trauma you may have experienced due to the incident.
For example: your medical bills may have cost $10,000. But you also may have lost $5,000 of income because you were unable to work after the accident. $15,000 is a considerable value but you must also consider the emotional damage involved with the incident, as well as the cost of any vehicle damage that occurred. Your attorney will understand that the actual value in situation is far more than just the coverage of the tangible bills. It must also cover the intangible, which refers to the pain and suffering the accident caused.
What should I do and what shouldn't do?
After a personal injury, an insurance adjuster will try however they can to get you on the record. They may attempt to get you to sign documents, agree to having your conversation recorded, or ask leading questions designed to either confuse you or place fault on you. In these moments, anything you say can and will be used against you.
Get the information you need and the help you deserve
If you need help filing a claim, understanding California law, or simply need more information on a deposition, contact I.Donald Weissmantoday.