Insurance adjusters are individuals who are trained to investigate car accidents involving a party with insurance coverage provided by the company the adjuster works for. Claims adjusters’ job duties require them to evaluate claims and conduct investigations to determine liability and negotiate settlements. An insurance adjuster will use information gathered through your statement (usually recorded), police and accident reports, medical records, and other evidence to make a liability determination.
But the goals of an insurance adjuster and the goals of a person injured in a car accident that wasn’t their fault are usually very different. The ability of an insurance adjuster to be successful in their position is dependent upon how much money they can save the insurance company they work for. A good insurance adjuster is skilled in protecting their employer from substantial monetary payouts. That’s why you may need the help of an experienced attorney after you’ve been been involved in a car crash.
Let’s take a look at the job and goals of an insurance adjuster to get a better understanding of what they can and cannot do. You should never be taken advantage of by an insurance adjuster who just wants to make sure they are protecting their company’s bottom line.
Your Insurance Company Will Contact You After a Crash
It may be surprising to find that you are contacted by your insurance company within 24 hours of an accident, but this is to be expected when dealing with car insurance companies. The problem is that most people are not in the ideal condition to give an accurate statement so soon after a traumatic event, and it is even less likely that you have had time to learn how severe your injuries and auto damage are.
While the insurance adjuster has the right to contact you, you also have the right to tell them you need to speak with your lawyer before giving a statement. It is unwise to try to explain your story without your lawyer’s guidance.
Exercise Caution When Speaking with an Insurance Adjuster
In no uncertain terms, an insurance company is a business. Because their ultimate objective is profit, companies train employees in effective methods of reducing payout. Success in the language of an insurance company is paying the ultimate minimum to accident victims.
In order to do this, insurance adjusters are careful examiners of all evidence related to the accident, the most important of which is often your recorded statement. The story you give them can be used to rationalize an unfairly low settlement offer. When speaking with an insurance adjuster, keep in mind that these things can be used against you:
- Vague Words and Language. There is no rule stating that insurance adjusters cannot use confusing language and misleading questions to try to trap an accident victim into saying something they don’t really mean. Phrases we commonly use in everyday language like “I’m fine,” “I guess so,” or “It’s ok,” are often taken to mean anything the insurance company wants them to mean.
- Distraction. Most people are confused, disoriented, emotional, and upset for several hours, days, weeks, or longer after an accident. There may also be pain and prescription medications which can lead to additional confusion and distraction. Do not give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster if this is the case; they have no right to demand that you do so under these conditions.
- Undiscovered Injuries. In the time period after the crash, you should be on the lookout for any symptoms that your condition may be changing or getting worse. It is very common to notice injuries and complications much longer than 24 hours after an initial injury. Make sure your doctor understands your condition completely before telling an insurance adjuster about your injuries. It is not within their rights to demand you give a health statement immediately after the fact without full information yet available.
Dealing with an insurance company is unquestionably intimidating, particularly when you consider how much depends on the outcome of your case. At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm we know your financial stability, ability to pay medical expenses and the cost of repairing your vehicle, and emotional wellbeing are all impacted by the compensation you receive after an accident you did not cause.
Having a trusted legal advisor with experience dealing with insurance adjustors can completely change your experience during a car accident claim. If you are in need of a lawyer you know will be on your side, call our office today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.