Soon after your motor vehicle crash, you may receive a call from the insurance company for the driver who hit you in regards to your possible claim. Your duties to talk to and cooperate with this adjuster are different from your obligations to your own insurance company. You have a duty to cooperate with your own adjuster under your policy, and you should report the accident to your insurance company in case you later need to file a claim. However, you need to be very cautious about talking to the other driver’s adjuster to avoid inadvertently making a mistake that could hurt your right to compensation.
Why Is the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Adjuster Contacting You?
Once the negligent driver reports the accident to his insurance company, an adjuster will open a file and investigate the claim to determine who was at fault in causing the crash and what compensation the insurance company may be liable for paying. This is the insurance adjuster’s job. As part of his investigation, he will contact you to find out how you believe the crash occurred and what injuries you suffered. He is doing this to determine what type of claim you could file and to determine if there are any reasons he should deny or reduce your claim.
Reasons You Do Not Want to Talk to the Insurance Adjuster
It is true that the insurance adjuster needs to investigate your claim and that you are required to provide information regarding your damages before he can authorize paying you. However, here are reasons why talking to the adjuster on your own is not a good idea, including the following:
- No legal obligation. You are not legally required to talk to the other driver’s adjuster directly. You can and should provide the information he needs to settle your claim through an experienced car accident attorney.
- Saying something you do not mean. You could accidentally say something that you did not mean or that could be interpreted to mean something else that could hurt your claim. You might not even realize that you are saying something wrong.
- Agreeing to take actions you shouldn’t. If you talk to the insurance adjuster, he will most likely ask you to give a recorded statement and sign a medical release. You may feel pressured to agree, but this is not in your interest. You might say something in your recorded statement that could be used against you later. The medical authorization could allow the release of irrelevant and private medical information about you. By having your attorney communicate with the adjuster for you, you avoid getting into these potentially challenging situations.
- Settling your claim too quickly. If you discuss your claim with the adjuster, he may try to settle your claim with you. While that is your ultimate objective, you most likely do not know the extent of your injuries yet and the true value of your claim. In addition, it is never a good idea to settle your claim without first consulting with an attorney to be certain that you receive what you are entitled to and that the settlement documents correctly reflect your agreement.
Tips on Handling Any Calls From the Insurance Adjuster
You may not be able to avoid at least talking to the insurance adjuster once before you hire a personal injury attorney. If you do answer a call from him, here are tips on how to handle it:
- Remain calm and polite.
- Get the contact information for the insurance adjuster and the name of the insurance company that he works for. You also want to obtain the identification number for your claim.
- Provide only limited personal information, like your name, address, telephone number, and name of your employer. You do not need to inform the adjuster of the details of your job or your income.
- Give no details about the accident other than general ones, like the date, place, and time it occurred. Avoid discussing detailed facts about what happened.
- Do not discuss your injuries. The reality is that you are only beginning to receive treatment and cannot know the true extent of your injuries or your prognosis so soon after you begin receiving medical care.
- Refer the adjuster to your attorney if you have hired one or inform him that an attorney will be contacting him shortly.
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident, the experienced car accident attorneys at Chris Hudson & Associates are here to answer your questions and take over the burden of communicating and negotiating your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 to schedule your free case evaluation.