You might get in a car accident, or you may injure yourself some other way. These things do happen all the time, and you never know when such an incident will blindside you.
If it happens, an insurance adjuster might enter your life for the first time. You may not know exactly what an insurance adjuster does or why you should conduct yourself carefully when you talk to them. We’ll cover all of that in the following article.
What Precisely Is an Insurance Adjuster, and What is Their Job?
If an insurance adjuster calls you, it might be just a few hours after a car accident. It’s not impossible that you might be in the hospital when one of these individuals shows up and starts interrogating you. They might ask you a bunch of bewildering questions, and you may not be sure about how to answer some of them, or even if you should be doing so.
An insurance adjuster is someone who works for an insurance company. They often show up after car accidents or call you on the phone because the other driver reported the collision.
The insurance adjuster’s job is to ascertain whether a claim is valid. They will also determine how much money to offer you as compensation.
There’s one critical thing about insurance adjusters that you should know, though. Their unspoken job is to give you as little money as they feel like they can get away with and still satisfy you. If they can give you a lot less than you feel like you deserve, their bosses are going to be very happy about that.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and the more of their money they get to keep, the more they can pay themselves. The bosses at the top make their bonuses every year because of the work that an insurance adjuster does.
Because of this, know that the insurance adjuster is not your friend. They’re not precisely your enemy, but they are never going to operate with your best interest at heart.
What Should You Not Say Around Claims Adjusters?
There are several things you should never say to a claims adjuster when they show up or when you are talking to them on the phone after an accident. First and foremost, you should not say you’re sorry about what happened. Saying you’re sorry is essentially a guilt admission, or a jury can think of it as one if you file a lawsuit that ever goes to court.
You should also never say what happened was your fault, even if you feel strongly that it was. You can avoid talking about guilt at all if you decide to speak to one of these individuals.
Don’t speculate about your physical, mental, or emotional condition either. Don’t say you’re fine or that’s you’re doing okay. The adjuster can use that against you in court as well.
Also, don’t agree to allow them to record a statement. If they call you on the phone, know that they will be recording the conversation, and they’ll try to get you to say something that they can use against you later. If they show up in person when you are at the hospital, they might have a smartphone recording in their pocket, even if you don’t see it.
Finally, don’t discuss any medical treatment that you’ve gotten so far or are thinking about getting. If they get you to the point where you’re starting to speculate about your condition, they might lock you into a story that you can’t change later. For instance, if you say there are one or two things wrong with you, but then later tests reveal more extensive damage, the adjuster will try to use what you said to invalidate those later findings.
Do You Have to Talk to a Claims Adjuster?
What most car accident victims don’t realize, or victims of other accidents, like slip-and-fall incidents, is that you don’t need to talk to an insurance adjuster at all. You can close your mouth when one approaches you, or you can hang up the phone when they call. You don’t have to be rude to them, but you can say something to the effect of “I’m not talking to you right now, thank you.”
You will need to give the other driver’s insurance company a statement eventually, but you can take time to collect yourself before you do so. During that time, you can figure out what condition you’re in mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Hire a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
You might feel like you can get along without hiring an attorney after a car crash or some other accident. It’s true that you have no legal obligation to hire one, but if you don’t, you’re going to have to navigate some murky legal territory on your own, and you’re probably not up for the challenge.
For one thing, you don’t know the law like an accident attorney does. For another, you might be hurting and confused after the accident. You may have PTSD. The last thing you want is to try to figure out how to move forward with no one to help you.
Once you find and contact a suitable accident lawyer, they can tell you how and if you should talk to an insurance adjuster. They can demand to be there when the interview happens, and they can also prep you on what to say beforehand. You can consult with them after each question to see whether you should answer it and how you should do so.
An insurance adjuster can intimidate you, and they know it. It’s part of their job. They will often talk fast or loudly to make you feel like you have to answer them, even when you don’t legally have to.
Once you know what you’re dealing with when one of these people shows up, you’ll understand how to defend yourself against their tactics.