If you’ve been involved in an accident and have suffered damages as a result, you may be entitled to compensation from the offender’s insurance company. Claiming damages requires legal intervention. While some incident survivors handle their claims independently, it’s important to note the risks. The insurance companies you face in the claims process hire professionals to advocate for their best interests. To level the field, you should have a professional advocating for your best interests, as well.
The insurance adjuster is the person hired or employed by the insurance company to verify the facts of the case. The adjuster’s goal is to gather information that can be used to minimize the compensation you deserve. Though you may be tempted to answer any questions an adjuster asks, you should be mindful of the dangers of speaking candidly with an insurance adjuster. In fact, it can be detrimental to your case to speak with an insurance adjuster without legal counsel.
How To Address an Insurance Adjuster
The best step to take immediately after an accident is to hire an injury attorney. From that point, your attorney can handle all communications with the insurance adjuster. Your attorney will likely advise you about how to speak to an insurance adjuster.
Some of the tips your injury attorney may suggest include:
- Get pertinent information about the person you are speaking to. Before discussing anything at all, write down the details about who you are speaking to. Take note of the name of the person you are speaking with, who they are affiliated with, and what their contact information is.
- Tell the insurance adjuster that you have a lawyer. If contacted, you should direct the insurance adjuster to call your attorney. You can also offer to take the adjuster’s contact information to pass it on to your attorney.
- Don’t talk to the insurance adjuster directly. This isn’t always possible, but if another party can take the call and tell the adjuster to speak with your lawyer, this minimizes the risk of miscommunication between yourself and the adjuster.
- Do not discuss the accident at all. It’s important that you do not give the adjuster any information about the accident. Your lawyer can supply them with the information they need. The adjuster does not need to hear this information from you directly, and they know that. Once you tell them you have a lawyer, you’re allowed to decline to make statements to them unless your lawyer directs you otherwise.
- Avoid talk of settlements. It is common for an insurance company to offer a settlement right off if they believe the entity they are representing is at fault. However, this is almost always going to be a low-ball offer in an effort to get out of paying you what you deserve. At this point, it is unlikely that you will even know how much damage you will sustain as a result of the incident, so avoid any talk of settlements and refuse any offers given.
- Do not sign anything. An insurance adjuster may try to get you to sign medical release forms or other legal documents. If you have a lawyer, do not ever sign anything without having it looked over.
- Do not provide permission for recorded statements. Recorded statements can be submitted as evidence against you in court if you file a personal injury claim. Right after an accident, you could be shaken up and nervous, and you may say something without thinking. Therefore, it is always best if you politely refuse to be recorded while you discuss the incident.
Do you need a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville?
If you’ve suffered a personal injury and need a lawyer to represent you, Harrell & Harrell can help. We specialize in personal injury cases in the Jacksonville area and can walk you through the process to get the best outcome for your case. Contact us online for a free consultation or call or text us at (904) 251-1111 today.