If you’ve ever been in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, it won’t be long before you hear from your insurance company and the insurance company that represents the other person involved in the accident. Regardless of the type of incident – car accidents, defective products, dog bites, premises liability, or medical malpractice – you will get a call or letter from an adjuster who wants to discuss the incident with you.
Unfortunately, most of us have been taught that insurance companies are looking out for our best interests. Adjusters, however, are trained to catch you off guard knowing that you probably have not yet contacted an attorney to discuss the accident or a doctor to determine how extensive the injuries really are.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of an insurance adjuster, you may find him or her to be seemingly friendly and concerned. With the accident so fresh in your memory, it’s easy to talk about it, especially to someone who is so willing to listen and ask questions. Be careful, however, as the main objective of adjusters is to protect their employers, the insurance companies. Here are some of the tactics adjusters use to diminish the value of your claim or deny your case outright.
1.They’ll tell you that don’t need a lawyer.
Adjusters may tell you that you are wasting your money if you hire an attorney. If you listen too long, it can make sense, because who doesn’t want to save money? However, it is a proven fact that those who hire legal counsel almost always receive larger settlements. Your lack of experience in negotiating with insurance companies is reason enough to hire an attorney.
2. They’ll ask for a statement, either written or recorded.
Insurance adjusters want you to make statements that can be used to diminish the value of claims or deny claims in their entirety. This is part of their training, and you can’t let your guard down even for a second. They may suggest your injuries were not caused by the accident, question the extent of your injuries, or tell you the medical care received was not reasonable or necessary. It’s better to direct the adjuster straight to your attorney to handle these arguments. Once represented by counsel, you will never be forced to speak to the adjuster.
3. They’ll promise to be fair to you.
The insurance adjuster is not your friend. Insurance companies are businesses and out to make money. The truth is that an adjuster’s job is to further that interest, thereby increasing the insurance company’s profit. Therefore, the interests of insurance companies are in direct conflict to persons injured in an accident. In other words, persons injured an accident want and deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries, however, the insurance companies want to pay the least amount possible.
4. They’ll offer you a quick settlement if you sign a full release.
One tactic often suggested by insurance adjusters is the promise of a quick settlement if you will sign off on the claim. This is usually suggested before you have a chance to know the full extent of the damages and injuries. Some insurance companies will even send a representative to the scene of an accident to offer a quick settlement. While this may be tempting, don’t fall into this trap. If you find out that your injuries are substantial, you will not have any further options for making a claim.
5. They’ll ask for authorization to obtain your medical records.
This seems harmless enough, but by authorizing them to see your records, you give them a lot of personal information. This includes previous medical conditions, accidents, psychiatric records, and other information that is none of their business. They can then take that information and try to use it against you. Insurance companies already receive all of the information they need, and since a lawsuit has not been filed, they don’t need anything else. The only exception to this is if your attorney tells you it’s okay.
Having an accident or being injured is stressful enough. However, it’s vital that you keep your guard up when dealing with insurance adjusters. Regardless of how friendly and concerned they may seem to be, remember that they are not your friends. Their interest lies with their company, and they don’t always play fair.
Call Us Today!
Getting legal advice may seem scary or unnecessary, but it’s the only way that you can protect yourself and receive the settlement that you deserve. Unfortunately, these types of situations only happen a few times in our lives at the most, so we need to use the services of legal advisers who are skilled in negotiating with tough insurance companies.