Insurance adjusters will come calling soon after a car accident. They will be friendly and understanding, seeking information they need to resolve your claim. Accident victims will be asked to answer some questions to help the insurance company understand the nature of the accident and injuries and to determine how much compensation is warranted. What the adjuster won’t tell you, however, is that he is also seeking information that will undercut your claim and reduce his company’s liability. For this reason, accident victims should be extremely wary when talking with an insurance adjuster who will try many tactics to protect the company’s bottom line, including using a victim’s own innocent comments against him.
Avoid These Common Pitfalls When Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
While in some cases it may be necessary to discuss a claim with an insurance adjuster, Myrtle Beach accident victims are under no obligation to provide more than basic information. In any case, victims should avoid:
Admitting Fault, Even Partial Fault.
One of the main goals for an insurance adjuster is to shift blame from his insured to someone else, even the victim. Even if you think you may be partly at fault for the accident, do not discuss this with an adjuster. Avoid any language that could be construed as apologetic or blameful. Admitting any level of fault can eliminate or reduce the compensation that may be available.
Discussing Injuries and Prognosis.
Only a medical professional can provide an accurate view of injuries and the outlook for your recovery. It is possible that your health situation can change, with injuries worsening or new injuries discovered. It is enough to say that a victim is being treated by a doctor for injuries related to the accident.
Discussing the Circumstances of the Accident.
Stick to very basic details of the accident—the date, the time, the location, the vehicles involved, and the names of any witnesses. Even in casual conversation, avoid any further information or speculation. The adjuster can obtain the police report and speak to witnesses to determine the facts of the accident.
Allowing a Recorded Statement.
Providing a recorded statement is one of the major pitfalls when talking with an insurance adjuster. Accident victims are under no obligation to agree to a recorded statement, but this won’t stop an adjuster from asking. Then, he will use the recording to attempt to frame your words in a way that will cast doubt on the legitimacy of your claim.
Saying Yes to a Settlement Offer.
Never accept a settlement offer right away, and it’s best to wait to accept any offer at any time until you’ve spoken with an experienced injury attorney. Insurance companies often try to get victims to quickly agree to a settlement that is much less than they deserve, and once an offer is accepted, it is typically not possible change the terms. This can leave victims and their families in a very difficult spot down the road, when further care and compensation may be needed.
What Accident Victims Should Do When Talking to an Adjuster
If a conversation with an adjuster is inevitable or victims find themselves on the phone unexpectedly, there are a few Dos to keep in mind:
- Remain calm and polite.
- Set a limit to the call. Do not participate in a prolonged conversation.
- Take notes detailing the content of the call.
- Write down the name and contact information of the adjuster.
While an insurance adjuster may seem compassionate and helpful on the phone, it’s important for injury victims to remember that adjusters are not on your side. They are out to protect their employer and reduce their own liability. Victims have the right to delay a conversation and consult with an attorney. An experienced injury lawyer can help victims understand both their rights and the tactics that insurance companies will use. They can help ensure that insurance companies have the information they need without jeopardizing the compensation an accident victim needs to recover.
Have You Been Injured In A South Carolina Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843.488.3165 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Murrels Inlet, Mt. Pleasant, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.