Common Mistakes to Avoid When Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2022 at 5:15 pm
After suffering injuries in an accident, you may find yourself in a state of shock that can last for hours or even days. The injuries you have suffered, the steps you need to take to recover, and the adjustments you need to make to your schedule will absorb all your attention. Insurance adjusters view these vulnerable moments as a perfect time to give you a “courtesy call.”
When an insurance representative approaches you, they may appear to demonstrate concern for your well-being. However, their goal is to avoid paying out a large settlement. Their communications with you serve solely as a way of gathering information they can later use to devalue or dispute your claim.
Having a personal injury attorney on your side who will handle all communication with the insurance company is your best choice. However, knowing what to expect from insurance adjusters can help you understand how to handle any conversation you have with them. What you say and what you keep to yourself can influence your chances of recovering the full compensation you deserve for your losses.
1. Never Admit Fault
Many people unwittingly use apologetic language as a habit. Saying “sorry” might seem like a polite thing to do, but you must never use this word when speaking to an insurance adjuster. They will interpret this language as an admission of fault for the incident, which can diminish or negate the value of your claim.
Even if you believe that the accident might have been your fault, wait for the police report and your injury attorney’s evaluation of who is liable before taking any of the blame.
2. Avoid Answering Questions about the Accident
The insurance adjuster will ask you to describe the events that led up to the accident. However, you should avoid offering your version of events before speaking with your lawyer. You do not need to provide more than your name and contact information. Any further details they request can wait. Tell the adjuster that your attorney will answer any other questions they may have.
Offering your opinion or speculating about what happened before the facts become clear might later allow the insurance company to argue that you have changed your story. Say as little as possible to protect your claim.
3. Don’t Speak about Your Physical or Emotional Condition
Many conversations begin with simple questions such as “how are you?” Most people’s automatic response is “fine” or “okay.” Yet this is precisely what an insurance adjuster wants to hear when they ask you this question. If you tell them that you are doing “fine” at any point in the conversation, they can later argue that you must not have been suffering as much as you have claimed.
Furthermore, accidents usually cause adrenaline to course through the body, which can initially mask the pain of your injuries. If you speak to an insurance adjuster in the immediate aftermath of an accident, you might genuinely feel as though you are fine. Nevertheless, you should avoid answering their queries about your condition. Politely inform them that your lawyer will provide them with any necessary information.
4. Do Not Accept an Initial Settlement Offer
Insurance adjusters often make an early settlement offer to vulnerable injury victims. They may even claim that this first offer is their “final offer.” They are hoping that your lack of experience with personal injury law will lead you to believe that the amount is substantial. In reality, it is probably far less than what you need to address your losses.
Always consult with a personal injury lawyer before you accept a settlement. They will assess the extent of your medical bills, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity to determine the financial losses you have incurred. Your attorney will also estimate the compensation you could pursue for the pain and suffering you have experienced due to the accident. The full compensation you deserve is usually substantially more than the insurance company’s initial offer.
Contact an Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered injuries in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you need an experienced Fort Smith personal injury attorney to fight for your best interests. The skilled and knowledgeable legal team at McCutchen Napurano - The Law Firm knows what it takes to handle insurance adjusters’ tactics. We can protect you when they are not operating in good faith. Our lawyers will do everything in our power to help you recover the full compensation you deserve for your losses.
Call us now at (479) 783-0036 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.