Should you talk to an insurance adjuster after your accident? The short answer: No.
The longer answer: Speak with an insurance adjuster, but do not do so alone.
Why is it so bad to talk to an insurance adjuster?
When you speak with an insurance agent, even one who seems very friendly and ready to help, keep in mind that his or her job is to ensure that the company saves money. How do insurance companies save money? By getting you to accept a too low offer.
Even during informal conversations, it is possible that a representative of the insurance company will try and get you to admit fault, or minimize your injuries, your suffering, and your losses. If he or she can do this, the insurer wins. The insurer also wins if you sign anything — anything — from the company, as it could seriously limit your options, as well as your ability to get the money you need.
You are likely sitting there thinking that you would never do any of these things, never admit fault for something you did not do or sign anything you do not understand, but what you need to know is that insurance adjusters receive special training to get you to do all of those things.
Here is what an insurance claims adjuster can do:
- Trick you into not hiring a lawyer
- Get you to settle for way less than your claim is worth
- Settle your case for an amount that does not even pay all your medical bills or lost wages
- Twist your words and use them against you to hurt your case (e.g., an insurance adjuster can use you saying you are sorry or that you are okay to say that you were admitting fault or that you are not injured)
- Intimidate you to sign documents that take away your legal rights
- Have you settle your case before your medical treatment is complete
- Pressure you to settle your case before you know the full extent of your injuries
Okay, so who should I speak with after an accident?
- The police officer
- Emergency services and medical personnel
- Witnesses, to get their names and contact information
- Your doctor
- A personal injury lawyer
All of these people can help you recover evidence and bolster your case.
So what can I do?
Okay, I know who not to speak with, what can I do to get out of speaking with the insurer?
Let your personal injury attorney handle discussions with these people. The insurer can use anything you say against you later, in settlement negotiations or in court.
In the stress and emotion of an accident, people often say things they do not mean, or they express sympathy to others. These words can come to haunt you later, when insurers take them out of context.
The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC have years of experience dealing with adjusters and know what to say — and more importantly, what not to say. We will handle discussions and negotiations with the insurer so you do not inadvertently say or do something that will jeopardize your claim.
What should I never do?
Do not sign anything. Unless your lawyer has reviewed it and advised you to sign it, do not sign anything. Not a statement. Not a summary. And definitely not a waiver or an agreement.
Signing any of these things could reduce your settlement, bar you from recovering any compensation at all, or bar you from coming back to get more money if your injuries worsen over time.
How can an attorney help me?
A personal injury lawyer will work hard on your behalf. In order to trick you into not hiring a lawyer, some insurance adjusters will tell injured people that all the lawyer will do is make a couple phone calls, and then collect a big paycheck.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your lawyer will protect you from these people who are trying to pay you as little as they can for your injuries.
How will we do this? Here is a quick list of some of the many things our lawyers can do for you:
- Collect the evidence necessary to prove your case and maximize the amount of your settlement
- Calculate the amount of money to which you are entitled
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Read over all documents the insurer has asked you to sign, advise you on whether you should sign them
- Handle communications with the insurer
- Guide you through the complicated legal system
You may feel as if you are powerless when you have to deal with an insurance company. It is a big corporation, and you are just one person. You have been injured, and you are vulnerable.
So how can you take the power away from it, and be in control? Simple. Get a personal injury attorney to handle your case and take care of your claim.
Are you ready to take the power away from the insurance company? The car accident lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC are ready to help you today. Call us at 215-642-2335 to schedule your free consultation.