After being involved in a motor vehicle accident, one of the first calls you will likely receive is from the at-fault party’s insurance provider. While it might seem like the adjuster is trying to be helpful to you during this difficult situation, it is important to remember that he or she is not your friend and is simply looking out for the insurance company’s best interests. An insurance adjuster will do anything possible to deny liability and reduce or eliminate your chances at obtaining a fair settlement.
Here is what you need to know when dealing with insurance adjusters:
- The insurance adjuster is not your friend: Insurance adjusters are not going to seem too threatening when you speak to them. In fact, they might seem downright concerned and empathetic. Do not lose sight of the fact that their goal is to save their boss money, which means they absolutely need to keep you from being successful in your pursuit for compensation. Their job and future with their employer depend on how well they are able to do this, so never forget it.
- The insurance adjuster will want you to record a statement regarding the accident: Once the insurance adjuster has you on the phone, he or she is undoubtedly going to ask you to record a statement about the accident and imply that it is required by law. When asked for your permission to record your statement, politely refuse this request. Contrary to what insurance companies might want you to believe, you are not required by law to provide a recorded statement.
- The insurance adjuster will try to lure you into admitting partial fault for the accident: This is why you do not want to provide a recorded statement. The insurance adjuster will try to either twist your words or trick you into admitting fault for the accident. Even saying something as seemingly innocuous as “I’m sorry about the accident,” can land you in trouble and be perceived as an admission of fault. To avoid making these mistakes, it would be wise to hire a personal injury attorney to speak to the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
- The insurance adjuster will try to convince you not to hire an attorney: It is in the insurance company’s best interest for you to not hire an attorney. Without an attorney, it would be easier to take advantage of you by enticing you with a settlement that is too low to cover the costs of your injuries and property damage. To convince you that an attorney is unnecessary, insurance adjusters will tell you that doing so will cost you a percentage of your settlement. However, statistics show that injured victims who hire an attorney ultimately end up with more money in their pocket than they would had they decided to settle directly with the insurance company. A personal injury attorney will not only be skilled at negotiations, but will also be able to have your injuries evaluated to properly estimate the extent of your damages.
- The insurance adjuster will ask you to release your medical records: This probably sounds reasonable since you might assume they need to see how much you have suffered to offer a fair settlement. Unfortunately, that would be an incorrect assumption. The insurance adjuster’s intention is to find something, usually a pre-existing medical condition that could allow them to either deny or minimize your claim for damages.
- The insurance adjuster will offer you some money if you agree to sign a release: Your medical bills might be piling up and you are probably also missing time from work to recover. These expenses can be overwhelming and you might be tempted to accept an offer made to you by the adjuster. Of course, this offer will come with some strings attached – you will have to sign a release, which will effectively close your case. This means that even if you are still suffering from the injuries you sustained in the future, requiring more funds to take care of medical expenses, you will not be able to sue or ask for more money. If you have a soft tissue injury or a brain injury, your symptoms might not show up immediately, but they can become a major health issue later on. Do not accept an offer that will only harm you in the future.
- The insurance adjuster will delay action on your claim: Remember, insurance companies would not turn as much of a profit if they paid claims. Sometimes they resort to ignoring claimants, hoping you will go away or simply accept a low offer. Whenever you try to get a status update on your claim, you might be told that the adjuster will get back to you or that your paperwork is still being processed. This is something an attorney will be able to rectify on your behalf.
- The insurance company is secretly spying on you: It is common practice for insurers to hire investigators to try to catch you engaging in any kind of activity that is not consistent with the injuries you claimed to suffer. For example, if you claimed to have a severe back injury and are shown in a rock-climbing video, your claim would likely be denied.
- The insurance adjuster will try to minimize your injuries: Adjusters will often try to play doctor and claim that some of the medical treatment you received was unnecessary or that they will not approve it. Guess what? They are not the ones making decisions on your medical care. Only medical experts can evaluate and make recommendations for your injury, or determine what care you might need in the future and whether or not you will require rehabilitation.
- The insurance adjuster will claim the insured party was not liable for the accident: Even if you do not admit fault, insurers will still try to place the fault on you to avoid having to pay you the compensation you deserve. They might even say it was the fault of a third party.
Car Accident Attorney in New Orleans
Getting involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience that often leaves survivors shaken, overwhelmed, and frustrated. The last thing you want to deal with is handling car repairs and trying to seek compensation from the insurance company, which is why you need to hire a skilled New Orleans car accident attorney. At Cossé Law Firm, our legal team is experienced in assisting clients who have sustained injuries in car accidents caused by negligent and careless drivers. We will handle all the legal aspects of your car accident case so you can focus on healing and return to your normal life as soon as possible.
Contact us today at (504) 265-1600 to schedule a free case evaluation with a trusted member of our team.