After a car accident, an adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company may call you to go over your claim. At the time, it may seem innocent enough. However, you have to handle this call very carefully or it could end up costing you in damages you can recover. Don’t be fooled by a friendly, helpful demeanor. The adjuster is like a double agent, seemingly concerned about you but secretly trying to gather information that the insurance company can use to deny your claim.
It may be better that you not engage in conversation with the adjuster at all until after you speak with an attorney. However, if you do choose to take the call, here are some tips on how to handle it.
1. Do Not Allow the Adjuster To Record the Call
Pay attention if the adjuster says something like the call will be recorded for “quality purposes.” The real purpose is to have a record of what you’ve said that can be played back in court. You do not have to consent to being recorded, but you do have to speak up and inform the adjuster that you do not give permission.
2. Confine Yourself to the Essential Facts
These include the current location of your vehicle and the facts of the accident. Do not give any opinions. Do not self-diagnose your own injuries. If in doubt about whether what you have to say is appropriate, err on the side of caution and do not express it.
3. Don’t Apologize
In fact, do not say anything that could be construed as accepting responsibility for the accident. A generic expression of regret could be twisted into something you did not mean. It is the adjuster’s job to determine fault for the accident. Do not make it easier.
4. Don’t Say You’re Fine
The adjuster may start the conversation by asking, “how are you?” You may be in the habit of automatically responding “fine” to this question regardless of how you are actually doing. The adjuster knows this, but this is one of the dirty tricks that adjusters can pull out of their bag and use against you. If you answer “fine,” the adjuster can twist this to mean that you are not as hurt as you claim to be. Do not answer any questions that do not relate to the accident, and confine yourself to the literal truth.
An attorney, like an auto accident lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates, can act as a buffer and shield between you and the insurance company. They would be happy to discuss how they can serve you when you contact a law office.