When you have been in a car accident, there are many issues that are thrust upon you. The most obvious one is physical injury, but there is also emotional trauma. There are a lot of unanswered questions running through your mind and that can be stressful. “Where do I get me car fixed?” and “Who will pay for this?” The last thing on your mind is speaking with an insurance adjuster.
The do's and don'ts with insurance adjusters
Talking with an insurance adjuster, whether your own or the other party's, is necessary, but it can be tricky. One of the most important things to remember is that while the adjusters are acting sympathetic, they may not really be. They are working for the insurance company, and one of their primary goals is to lessen the amount their company has to pay. In fact, they are looking for reasons not to pay. Seemingly harmless answers to simple questions can actually be harmful to your case. Here are some tips to help you better understand what you should and shouldn't do when talking with an insurance adjuster:
- Prepare – speak with your attorney. Take the time to fully understand the process and take advantage of your attorney’s years of experience.
- Write down the name, address and phone number of the insurance adjuster and insurance company.
- Provide your full name, address and telephone number.
- Tape the conversation. If you can’t tape it then take good notes of the conversation.
- Ask the adjuster if they are aware of any witnesses.
- Be as detailed as possible in describing your injuries. Tell the adjuster everything that you have experienced. When asked “if that is all” tell the adjuster that it is all that you can think of right now, but you are sure that there are other things you may have told your doctors.
- Tell the truth. It is imperative that you are truthful at all times. Lying or exaggerating can be harmful to your case.
- Pause before answering the question. This will give you time to think about the question and the answer you are about to give.
- You are not being timed. Take as much time as you need to answer a question.
- It is okay to answer “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand.”
- Treat the adjuster with respect.
- Answer questions with “yes” or “no” when appropriate. Sometimes too many details can harm your case.
- Do not agree to an audio tape recording by the insurance adjuster unless your attorney is present.
- Be aware that the insurance adjuster will try to start up an informal conversation with you. They do this to get you to relax and get as many details about the accident as possible.
- You do not need to provide details about your work, such as income, schedule or details of what you do unless you have a lost wage claim.
- Do not agree to anything.
- DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING!
- Don’t answer family questions. You are under no obligation to give any information about your family.
- When you report the accident, give general information. You should speak with your attorney prior to giving a formal recorded statement.
- Do not argue with or get angry at the adjuster. If you do then you have made it more difficult to obtain a fair settlement of your case.
- Do not guess the meaning of any question. If you do not understand a question, have the adjuster repeat or clarify the question.
- Do not volunteer information. Make sure you fully answer the adjuster’s question and then stop speaking. Although it is important to always tell the truth, it is also important not to give more information in your answer than the question asked for.
- Do not give long narrative answers.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I know how important it is to be prepared to talk with an insurance adjuster. It's unfortunate but some adjusters will try and trick you into give more information than you intended to give. They may also pressure you into answering a question that you don't need to answer at that time. Please always talk with your attorney first before you talk with an adjuster, whether it's your own insurance adjuster or the other party's. Your attorney will help you prepare for the meeting so you will know what you should and should not say.