Shortly after an accident, your phone may start ringing. The insurance company who covers the other person involved in your accident will likely contact you seeking all sorts of information.
An important fact to remember when this happens is that the insurance adjuster is not working for you. Even if you are an honest, fair person and you feel you have a solid claim, the adjuster is out to protect the interests of the insurance company and minimize any money they might have to pay. He may seem friendly and understanding on the phone, but he will certainly use any information he is able to learn from you to his company’s advantage if possible.
Sometimes, it is difficult to avoid these calls. If you find yourself on the other end of the line with the opposing insurance adjuster, follow these helpful tips to protect your rights and preserve your claim.
- Discuss your medical care. Do not elaborate on your injuries. It is possible that you will not fully understand the nature of your injuries until later, so do not offer details that could hurt your case in the future. If pressed, tell the adjuster you simply do not know the full nature of your injuries and that you are seeking medical treatment.
- Give details of the accident. The adjuster can find the basic information from police reports or his own insured driver. Do not offer your version of events to the adjuster at this time.
- Sign anything. Never sign anything, no matter what the adjuster says. This applies to a medical release as well as documents related to fault. If you sign a medical release, the insurance company will have free reign to examine the full scope of your medical history, and may try to use your past medical records against you.
- Be polite. You may be feeling angry about the accident or suffering from the physical consequences of the crash, but taking your frustration out on an insurance company representative will not help. The adjuster will play a role in your case, so it is best to stay on civil terms.
- Remain vague. Offer the adjuster only basic information, such as your name, address, and birthdate. You may share the minimum details about the accident. Where it occurred, what day and time, and what vehicle you were driving.
- Identify the person to whom you are speaking. Take note of the date and time of the call, the name of the insurance company, the name of the representative, and how to contact him if necessary. Make sure to keep your notes.
- Tell the adjuster to contact your attorney if further information is necessary. It is a good idea to only talk to insurance companies in the presence of an experienced accident attorney. The attorney can help you understand what information can and should be shared and when.
In some cases, such as in accidents where the at-fault driver is uninsured, the victim may have to pursue a claim with his own insurance company. Victims are required to cooperate more fully with their own companies, so you may have to offer more information to the adjuster in those situations. A skilled attorney can help victims understand their rights and obligations and make decisions on how best to move forward.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and a member of the car accident attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak will help you learn more about how to proceed after an accident.