I think I made a mistake talking to the at-fault driver's insurance company. What should I do?

Consult a personal injury lawyer ASAP. You’re not legally required to speak to adjusters from the insurance company of a negligent driver who injured you in an accident.

The insurance adjusters are likely to call you shortly after the accident, sounding friendly and compassionate. They’ll inquire about your health and say they are just asking some routine questions so they can get you a settlement as soon as possible. Unfortunately, none of what they say is true.

What the Insurance Adjuster Wants Following A South Carolina Car Accident

The insurance adjuster’s job is to keep the insurance company profitable by denying as many claims as they can and giving low settlements to claimants they can’t deny. Their real reasons for calling you are to:

  • Catch you when you’re not thinking clearly because of trauma and/or medication
  • Ask you to make a recorded or written statement
  • Ask misleading questions to confuse and make you misspeak or contradict yourself
  • Ask for a blanket medical authorization to get all your records
  • Get enough information to “friend” you on social media
  • Discourage you from hiring an attorney
  • Offer you a quick, low settlement before you have a chance to see a personal injury lawyer and find out what your case is worth

The adjuster will compare your recorded or written statement to police reports, depositions, and other accounts of your accident. If you’ve misstated anything or forgotten some detail that creates a discrepancy, the adjuster will use it to question the validity of your claim. A medical authorization can be used to look for pre-existing conditions that the adjuster will cite as evidence your injuries were not caused by the accident. An insurance adjuster might even send you an anonymous social media friend request, hoping you’ll post something about your injuries that can be used to dispute your claim or offer you a low award. 

Controlling the Damage

After getting the insurance adjuster’s name, title, company, and contact information, you should simply say that your attorney will handle communication on your behalf. Keep in mind the following:

  • Do not admit any fault, full or partial.
  • Do not give any information about your accident, injuries, level of pain, or medical history. 
  • Disclose no more than your full name, address, phone number, and email address. 
  • Don’t give an adjuster your Social Security number. It provides access to private information.

If you’ve already given an insurance adjuster information that could affect your claim, it’s not too late for you to retain an attorney. You may do so at any stage of the claims process, and the sooner, the better. 

After learning the details of your case and finding out what information the insurance adjuster has, your lawyer needs as much time as possible to build a strong case and overcome the insurance company’s advantage by:

  • Obtaining police reports
  • Hiring an independent investigator if necessary
  • Providing extensive photographic evidence of your physical injuries and property damage
  • Collecting dashcam or security video footage of the accident, the scene, skid marks, damaged guardrails, or other evidence
  • Gathering detailed medical records of your accident-related injuries, treatment, care plan, and prognosis
  • Getting statements from witnesses to the accident and from expert witnesses who can support your claim of negligence and strengthen your case
  • Putting a dollar value on your damages, so that you know what award is reasonable
  • Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement
  • Filing a lawsuit and going to court if necessary

While talking to an insurance adjuster can make it harder to prove your claim, it doesn’t mean that you will fail. An experienced personal injury attorney can go to work on building a case strong enough to overcome the damage that’s been done and get you the compensation you deserve.

Have You Talked to an Insurance Adjuster in North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, or the Greater Charleston area? 

Take the first step toward damage control by consulting an experienced car accident attorney. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call our Charleston office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Horry County and surrounding areas, so we’re sure to have an office near you. 

Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.