When a person is in a car accident in California, they will have to deal with the insurance company. Being contacted by an insurance adjuster is an eventuality. This interaction will have a major impact on how a person’s claim is handled. The goal of an insurance adjuster is to gather information from the claimant that can lead to a reduction or even denial of their claim.
There are things a person should never say to an insurance adjuster. A personal injury attorney will advise car accident victims that saying the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster can make it difficult to get the best possible result for their insurance claim.
When asked about their accident, an accident victim should never simply provide an opinion. Should they not know the facts enough to answer a question, they should not answer it. An accident victim can expect to be asked one question in several different ways. The insurance adjuster is trying to get an answer that will justify a decrease in the settlement offer.
I’m Not Hurt
It is always a mistake for an accident victim to tell an insurance adjuster they’re not hurt. Injuries don’t always make themselves immediately apparent. This is because the initial response of a person’s body in an accident is to increase adrenaline, which can mask pain. When the adrenaline in a person’s body begins to decrease, injuries make themselves known. Almost always, it’s best to suppose that you’ve been hurt and seek medical attention. Doing otherwise may result in you losing out on much needed compensation for medical bills and other damages.
The Light Was Green
Insurance adjusters love to hear this statement. It implies that the victim did not look for all possible dangers before entering an intersection. They may try and say that the victim had a chance to avoid the collision if they would have just been more careful when entering the intersection.
It Was My Fault
A personal injury lawyer will always advise an accident victim to never make this statement. Immediately after an accident, they may not know all the details associated with their accident. This is a statement that should not be made to the other driver, witness, police officer and especially an insurance adjuster. When an accident victim apologizes for something, they’ve basically admitted guilt.
The Other Driver Must Have Been Speeding
This is another common statement that insurance adjusters love to hear from claimants. It can imply a lack of vigilance and good judgment. The adjuster may ask, if the other driver was speeding and got close enough to cause an accident, then why did the accident victim pull out? An insurance adjuster will try and show that the victim was at least partially at fault because they supposedly weren’t paying full attention to their surroundings.
My Damages Are Worth…
Most accident victims are unable to properly analyze their damages. They are not aware of all the costs associated with their accident. Economic as well non-economic damages are a consideration. Emotional distress, as well as loss of earning capacity and more, are a consideration. It can be a near-impossible challenge for any person without professional legal experience to properly calculate their damages. It’s best to leave that work to a qualified personal injury attorney.
I Never Saw the Other Driver
When an accident victim claims they never saw the other driver, an insurance adjuster will hear they were negligent. This is especially important to an insurance adjuster if a police report says the accident victim was not liable. In this situation, an insurance adjuster may be able to twist the accident victim’s words as an admission that they contributed to the accident.
General Rule of Thumb: Don’t Give Too Much Information
In short, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. When they interview an accident victim, they are looking for reasons to decrease a settlement amount. You should always be honest with your responses, but keep them curt and direct. Any extra, unnecessary details can be used against you.
Many car accident victims do not know or understand the insurance claims process. It is a situation where the services of a personal injury attorney are essential. A lack of insurance claims experience can cause an accident victim to say something that will harm their settlement. A personal injury attorney will know what an accident victim should say and, most importantly, what not to say to the insurance adjuster.