After an accident that involves personal injury and property damage, the other party's insurance adjuster or agent will probably contact you directly. This may be before you have had a chance to speak with an attorney. There are some simple principles to understand and a few standards to work to when talking with an insurance adjuster or agent.
The Insurance Adjuster's Role
The adjuster and agent are responsible to the insurance company, not to you. Quite simply, their role is to:
- - Learn the details from both parties' points of view.
- - Compare the current accident with previous, similar accidents and their legal or compensation outcomes.
- - Justify paying out as little compensation as possible.
- That last point is critical; they owe it to the insurance provider to pay out as little compensation as possible. It is essential, therefore, that you follow some rules when you do speak, and it is wise to hire your own representative.
Some Simple Rules When Talking to an Adjuster
1. Stay Calm and Be Polite
Adjusters and agents are human beings doing their job. The easier it is and the sooner they can get the facts, the sooner they can begin processing the case. It is never a good idea to make an enemy of someone by being angry or impolite.
2. Get Their Details
Before you do anything else, write down their name, job title, address, phone number, email address, company name, and the name of the person or company they represent. The adjuster may work for a third-party, not the insurance provider.
3. Give Only Your Personal Details
Name, contact details, and your work details, if appropriate. Do not discuss the type of work you do, how much you earn, or how much pressure you may be under.
4. Do Not Agree to a Recorded Conversation
Adjusters cannot record your conversations without your permission, so do not give it. You do not want your spoken words to be used against you. What we say in conversations is rarely as precise, clear, or complete as a carefully-worded claim letter.
5. Do Not Give any Details About the Accident, Property Damage, or Injuries
What, to you, may be a simple comment such as, "It was raining, I was a little pushed for time, and the truck just came out of nowhere," can indicate, you could not see properly, your mind was on other things, so you were not paying attention to the road surface, traffic volume, or your speed.
You may state, simply, the time and place of the accident, the vehicles involved, and that you have witness details. Do not share any other information; you do not want the adjuster speaking with the witnesses. You may say you are discussing details with your own representative, if you have one, and that they will contact the adjuster on your behalf. If you intend representing yourself, say that you intend submitting a demand for compensation when the time is right.
Do not discuss your injuries. There are several reasons for this:
- You may not list all your injuries correctly.
- Your doctor(s) may not have finished the examinations and prognosis.
- You may describe an injury in a less severe form than it is or may become.
- Trying to add further injuries or possible future problems arising from the injuries may be difficult.
6. Do Not Agree to the Adjuster's Timetable or Suggestions
The adjuster works for the insurance provider. The sooner the case can be closed and the less paid out, the better as far as they are concerned. Any suggestion the adjuster makes about settling quickly or that they have everything they need to process the claim should be answered with something like,"We are still working on it, so cannot comment," or, "You must speak with my attorney about that."
7. Take Notes
Note down as much as you can from the conversation. Tell the adjuster you are going to take notes, and, if you need to, tell them to wait a moment, while you write something down. If you are polite with them, they will be polite with you.
Insurance adjusters and their agents are not working for you. They are experts and are used to having conversations with accident victims. They will probably be polite, friendly, and professional, so be polite yourself. But protect yourself from missteps by following these seven points. And, to fully protect yourself and to get the highest claim you are due, hire a law firm which specializes in personal injury cases. To that end, simply click this link to contact us.