After being involved in an auto accident, there is a high probability that you will be contacted by an insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster may work for your insurance company or they may represent other people involved in the accident. If they work for the insurance companies of other drivers, there are right and wrong ways to handle what happens next.
The Dos and Don’ts of Handling Claims Adjusters
- Never agree to be recorded: Claims adjusters may ask you to give a recorded statement. Anything you say on a recorded statement can be used against you later. Remember, claims adjusters have to ask for your permission before recording you. If you admit fault (or even partial fault) for the accident and it is on record, it could seriously jeopardize your ability to recover a settlement.
- Avoid giving too many details: Claims adjusters are going to want to know about property damage and any injuries you have sustained so they can make an offer. Injuries can be more severe than you immediately realize. For example, brain injuries may have complications that persist for months, years or even permanently. Symptoms may not be noticeable right away. If you were to tell an insurance adjuster that your injuries were not severe, and you happened to be wrong, it could impact how much you receive from a claim.
- If you talk at all, give them very basic contact information: It is safe to confirm your name, address, phone number and employer. Keep it short and simple, and avoid going into detail.
- Contact an attorney: An attorney can help negotiate your claim with insurance adjusters so you receive a larger settlement. Insurance adjusters may try to push you into accepting the first offer, which may be far less than you need to recover.
The best way to protect your claim is to avoid talking to the other side’s insurance company until you have retained an attorney. Not all insurance adjusters are bad, but their bottom line is to save their companies money.