The aftermath of an car accident can involve anger, frustration, and even chaos. You’re angry because you know the accident wasn’t your fault and frustrated because your expenses continue to accumulate. The chaos caused by insurance company harassment can make your situation unbearable.
What can you say to the adjuster when they call? What should you not say? You’ll learn about both in this article. You’ll also learn how a Henderson car accident attorney allows you to avoid dealing with insurance hassles.
Understand the Insurance Company’s Agenda
Most of us want to think an insurance company is there to help us when things go wrong. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. The insurer’s primary goal after a personal injury accident is always to minimize payouts, even though insurance companies wrote more than $1.48 trillion in policies in the US in 2022.
But if you understand the dynamics, you’ll be better positioned to deal with insurance company tactics. Insurers pay adjusters to assess liability and determine the compensation the company is willing to offer. If you know this beforehand, you can approach conversations with a heightened awareness of the potential impact of your statements.
Always Be Mindful With Your Words
Empowering yourself means being mindful of your words during conversations with insurance adjusters. Avoid unnecessary admissions or assumptions an insurer can use to minimize payouts.
While it's natural to trust that your insurance company is there to support you, it is essential to strike a balance between cooperation and safeguarding your interests. Recognizing the inherent tension between your needs and the company's financial interests lets you approach conversations strategically.
Avoid Unnecessary Admissions
During discussions with insurance representatives, always avoid unnecessary admissions the insurer can exploit to minimize payouts. For example, don't make statements that imply acceptance of partial fault or downplay the extent of damages.
By carefully choosing your words, you contribute to shaping a narrative that accurately reflects the circumstances without unintentionally providing openings for the insurance company to reduce compensation.
Never Admit Fault
When emotions are raw, you might have the urge to explain or assign blame. That’s particularly true if you’re severely injured, and your accident recollections may be cloudy. But resisting the temptation to make statements that may indicate you’re taking blame is essential.
Regardless of your perception of the situation, admitting guilt or responsibility without understanding the facts can significantly hurt your claim. Instead, focus on providing factual information about the accident without making assumptions about responsibility.
Stick to the basics: only provide the time and location of the accident and give a brief description of what transpired.
The adjuster might pressure you into providing immediate answers. However, we can’t overstate the lasting consequences of admitting guilt or responsibility.
It’s crucial to remember that fault determination is a complex process involving various factors. Immediate admissions may limit your legal options and impact the outcome of your claim. Prioritize factual information over subjective assessments to avoid potential complications down the line.
Try to provide a clear and concise account of what transpired, avoiding unnecessary details the adjuster might misinterpret. Emphasize observable facts. If your injury occurred due to a car accident, for instance, only mention facts such as traffic conditions, signals, and events leading up to the collision.
This approach helps establish a solid foundation for your version of the events without introducing elements the insurance company can use against you during the claims process.
Don’t Speculate About Your Injury
One of the critical aspects of handling post-accident discussions with an insurance company involves injuries. Don’t make premature statements or speculate about the extent of your injury.
Seeking prompt medical attention is essential because injuries may not always be immediately apparent. A comprehensive medical assessment is crucial for accurately understanding their nature and severity.
Don’t Downplay or Exaggerate Injuries
Don’t try to act tough and say you’re not hurt that badly. Don’t seek sympathy by saying your injury is worse than it really is.
Both extremes can complicate the claims process. Instead, focus on objectively describing your injuries, the medical treatments received, and any ongoing care requirements.
Providing Details of the Accident
Cooperation with your insurance company is crucial, of course. However, providing excessive details can inadvertently lead to admitting fault or liability. Striking the right balance between cooperation and caution is vital to protecting your interests.
Remember the insurer’s agenda even when speaking with your insurance company. Don’t assume your company’s adjuster will be on your side. You might be a policyholder, but the adjuster’s job will still be to help the insurer minimize their payout.
While you should be forthcoming, unnecessary elaboration can create opportunities for misinterpretation. Focus on sharing essential details that contribute to a clear understanding of the accident without giving excessive information.
Balance Cooperation With Caution
Some accident victims fall into the trap of being too eager to cooperate with the insurance company after an accident. But try to always keep a balance of cooperation and caution in mind.
Your objective should be to provide a clear and accurate account of the accident. Avoid creating unnecessary complexities the insurer can use to reduce your claim. Share the relevant details, but don’t give an exhaustive account of what you think happened.
Be Aware of the Dangers of Recorded Statements
Insurance adjusters may request recorded statements to document your account of the accident. It's crucial to exercise caution before agreeing to such statements.
While you may intend to provide an accurate record, the insurer can use your recorded statement against you later in the claims process. You can unintentionally say something the adjuster can manipulate.
You should only agree to participate in a recorded interview with a personal injury attorney by your side. Your lawyer will protect your rights and ensure you fully understand the implications of your statements.
Legal representation provides a layer of guidance that prevents potential pitfalls. With a lawyer by your side, you can confidently navigate the process.
You should clearly understand the implications of making a recorded statement. A personal injury lawyer will make sure you know the potential risks. They’ll also make sure your statements align with your legal strategy. Protecting your rights during recorded interviews is integral to safeguarding your interests throughout the claims process.
Social Media Concerns
In the age of social media, what you share online can directly impact your insurance claim. Insurance adjusters actively scour social media platforms for information related to accidents and injuries. Avoid sharing details about the accident or injuries online to protect your claim’s integrity.
How Insurers Capitalize on Social Media Content
Insurance companies may use social media content to dispute the severity of injuries or challenge your account of the accident. They can take even seemingly innocuous posts or comments out of context. Being mindful of the potential consequences of online disclosure is essential, and exercising caution when sharing information about the incident is a proactive step toward protecting your claim.
Privacy and Control
By avoiding social media disclosure, you retain control over the narrative surrounding the accident. Privacy is a critical aspect of the claims process. Changing your privacy settings will allow you to share information selectively and in a manner that won’t damage your case.
Dealing with Ambiguous Questions from an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters often pose ambiguous or unclear questions during their investigations. The purpose is to get an accident victim to make a mistake that can damage their claim.
If you answer an adjuster’s questions, you must respond carefully to avoid providing misleading information. Here are a few tips to help.
Ambiguity in questions can lead to misinterpretation, making it crucial to seek clarification before formulating a response. Rather than making assumptions about the intent behind the questions, ask for details so you know exactly what the adjuster is asking. Doing so will help you provide accurate, relevant information and avoid potential pitfalls.
Understand the Potential Consequences of Misleading Information
Providing misleading information, even unintentionally, can complicate your claim. Ambiguous questions may create opportunities for misunderstandings, underscoring the importance of responding thoughtfully. Taking your time to understand the questions and responding precisely ensures that your statements accurately reflect the accident’s circumstances.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Consulting with a personal injury attorney before speaking to an insurance company representative can be essential to protecting your rights. A lawyer can guide you on what to say and what not to say, ensuring that your statements align with your best interests.
Legal representation offers protection throughout the claims process, minimizing the risk of inadvertently compromising your case during communications with the insurance company.
Pitfalls to Avoid When an Insurance Company Offers a Settlement
Accepting an initial settlement offer can be a decision that haunts you for years to come. Since the insurer knows you don’t have a personal injury attorney, they will try and take advantage of the fact that you likely don’t know the total value of your financial losses, known as "damages" in legal terms.
Potential Expenses You Might Not Have Considered
For example, you probably don’t know how much your treatment will eventually cost. Even though you have medical bills, those only cover the treatment you’ve received so far. You might need another surgery, which will require another hospital stay.
If you have a severe traumatic brain injury, your lifetime costs might be in the millions. A severe spinal cord injury can cost $1 million or more during the first year after an accident.
Also, if you’re severely injured, you probably won’t be able to work for a long time. You’re probably facing lost income because you’ve exhausted your sick time and vacation days. But what if you can’t ever return to your job? What if you have to take a lower-paying position because you can’t physically perform the work you used to do?
When demanding money from the insurance company, a personal injury attorney will consider your medical expenses (now and in the future), lost income, and future lost earnings. They’ll also factor in other damages, such as your pain and suffering and lost quality of life.
Please don’t accept a settlement offer without first hiring a lawyer. If you take that offer and it doesn’t cover all of your expenses (and it won’t), you’ll be responsible for paying for the rest.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Protect You from Insurance Company Tactics
Legal professionals are well-versed in insurance company tactics and have the experience to safeguard your interests. A personal injury attorney can:
- Provide legal experience – A personal injury attorney regularly navigates the complexities of personal injury law. They understand the nuances of insurance claims and can provide reliable advice tailored to your situation.
- Communicate with the insurance company – An attorney can manage all communication with the insurance company, alleviating the stress and ensuring that your statements are carefully crafted to support your case.
- Negotiate fair settlements – Seasoned personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators working to secure fair settlements on behalf of their clients. They know how to convince the insurer to offer a settlement that reflects the actual value of your claim.
Please contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so they can seek what you deserve from the insurance company.