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, that may not be the case.
What the Insurance Adjuster Wants Following A South Carolina Car Accident
The insurance adjuster’s job is to keep the insurance company profitable which can mean denying claims or offering low settlement offers. An adjuster's real reasons for calling could be 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.
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.
Have You Been Injured In A Charleston South Carolina Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you should speak with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Charleston, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.2359 to schedule your consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.