It’s best not to talk to another driver’s insurance adjuster after a car accident, especially if you might have been injured. However, you are required to cooperate and talk to your own insurance company’s adjuster. If you do talk to an adjuster, stick to the absolute basics about when and where the accident happened, and don’t offer extra information or opinions.
Insurance adjusters can seem pleasant and helpful, but their job is to help their employer avoid paying out claims. Talking to an adjuster has many potential downsides. It’s much better to let a good car accident lawyer handle the insurance company for you.
Why shouldn’t I talk to an adjuster?
Insurance adjusters may say that they want to help you get your claim settled quickly, but that’s not their real goal. They will use what you say to deny your claim or pay you less than you should be getting. The adjuster may use several tactics:
- Calling right after the accident to ask how you are feeling. Adjusters know that many car accident injuries don’t show any symptoms for days, or even weeks. They hope you’ll say you’re feeling fine, and then when you develop symptoms they can claim you’re making them up.
- Asking you questions designed to get you to admit you might have been at fault. They may ask you the same question several times, for example, “Are you SURE you didn’t look away from the road?” They wear you down, and when you say, “Well, I guess I might have,” they use it to claim that you were partly at fault because you were distracted.
- Asking you to give a recorded statement. The adjuster will record your answers to a series of questions, and then will try to use those answers to deny your claim or reduce the amount they must pay you. For example, they may compare your answers to the police report and say you were lying if things don’t match up perfectly.
Anything you say can be used against you, and that alone is a good reason to avoid discussing the accident with an adjuster. Contact a car accident lawyer and let your lawyer talk to the insurance adjuster instead. A car accident lawyer’s statements can’t be used as an admission of fault – and a good lawyer knows the right thing to say to an insurance company.
If I do talk to the adjuster, what should I say?
If you were in a minor accident and you believe you weren’t injured, it may make sense to talk to the adjuster so you can get your car fixed as quickly as possible. But you should always be cautious about what you say. Here are some tips:
- Stick to the basic facts. Tell the adjuster basic details such as when and where the accident happened, and the type of vehicle involved. Don’t offer any extra information or opinions.
- Do not discuss your injuries, and do not say you weren’t hurt. This preserves your right to make an injury claim if you need to. You can tell the adjuster you are following up with your doctor.
- Do not say the accident was your fault. Don’t even apologize for what happened.
- Do not let the adjuster take a recorded statement. It is not required, and recorded statements almost always benefit the insurance company, not you.
If there is any possibility you were injured, it’s best not to speak with the adjuster at all. You can tell the adjuster that it’s not a good time to talk. Then set up an appointment with a car accident lawyer. Once you hire a lawyer, your lawyer will take over and deal with the insurance company for you. If it’s important for you to speak with the adjuster, your lawyer will let you know.
With a lawyer on your side, you can avoid the pitfalls of talking to another driver’s insurance company, while also improving your chances of getting all the money you need to pay for your injuries and the damage to your car.
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