It’s important to understand that insurance adjusters are generally seeking a way to lower the amount of compensation you receive.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you will likely receive a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance will ask a few questions about the accident and your wellbeing, and it’s important to understand that your answers can influence your claim. The adjuster may make it look like a casual conversation, but they will pay close attention to every word you say and look for any opportunity to lower your settlement.
With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to speak with an insurance adjuster after a car accident.
Identify the Person You Are Speaking with
Politely ask for the adjuster’s name, phone number, email address, the name of the insurance company they are working for, or the person/business they represent. At this point, it’s generally wise to speak with an experienced car accident attorney before providing them with information.
Don’t Offer Too Much Information about Yourself
The adjuster may ask for a lot of personal information and mask everything as a casual conversation. Please note that you don’t really have to give the adjuster too many details about yourself except for your name, address, and telephone number. You can also tell them your occupation or the company you are working for, but you don’t have to go into details.
Discuss Only the Basic Facts About the Accident
The adjuster may ask you to give a statement about what happened. Although they might make it seem like you are required to do so, the law generally doesn’t oblige you in any way to give this kind of statement.
Some adjusters will engage you in a friendly conversation during which they will ask you details about the accident. They might say something like, “Oh, it sounds like you were having a busy day. You were probably very tired, weren’t you?” to which you may feel inclined to answer yes. They may then use this statement to argue that you were distracted and share some of the blame for the accident.
If you decide to continue the conversation without first speaking with an attorney, pay attention to the questions they ask and only discuss the basic facts about your accident: when, where, the type of the accident, the type of the vehicle, and the name of the witnesses.
Don’t Discuss Your Injuries
The adjuster will also ask questions about your injuries and well-being. Don’t give any details, and don’t make any assumptions. Saying something like “I think it will get better in a few weeks” will likely affect your settlement.
Leave the Negotiations to An Experienced Lawyer
It’s not unusual to be offered a quick settlement by the insurance company. It can be tempting to accept it, especially if you are pressed by piling medical bills. However, more often than not, it’s a low ball offer that doesn’t really cover the true extent of your injuries and damages. Politely decline to discuss the case any further and let your St. Louis car accident lawyer take over the negotiations.
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