5 Tips for Dealing With Insurance Adjusters in a Personal Injury Case
Dealing with insurance adjusters is an inevitable part of the personal injury claims process. And here’s the thing: These insurance adjusters are trained to protect their company’s bottom line, above all else, often at the expense of the injured victim’s rightful compensation. Thus, knowing how to communicate effectively with them is crucial to avoid being taken advantage of and to ensure a fair settlement. Here are five helpful tips:
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1. Know Your Stuff
Before you even pick up the phone to talk to an adjuster, make sure you understand your insurance policy and your injuries well. This means knowing what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Also, be clear about how you got hurt, what your injuries are, and how they affect your life. This doesn’t mean you need to be a doctor or a lawyer, but having a good grasp of your situation makes it harder for an adjuster to minimize what you’ve been through.
2. Keep Records of Everything
Documentation is your best friend in a personal injury case. Keep detailed records of everything related to your accident and injuries. This includes medical reports, bills, and any other expenses caused by your injury, like if you had to fix your car or pay for rides because you couldn’t drive.
You’l also want to write down what happened in the accident while it’s fresh in your mind. If you talk to the adjuster or anyone else about your case, take notes about what was said. These records make your case stronger and help you stay consistent in what you tell the insurance company.
3. Be Careful What You Say
When you talk to an adjuster, be polite but cautious. Remember, they’re not your friend in this situation; they’re working for the insurance company. It’s okay to give them basic information about the accident, but don’t rush into a detailed story, especially if you’re still figuring things out.
Never say it was your fault, and avoid talking about your injuries in detail, especially early on. Sometimes injuries get worse over time, and if you downplay your pain or problems at the start, it can be used against you later.
As Bamieh & De Smeth points out, “Insurance claims adjusters are highly trained to shrewdly influence claimants into saying something that will shield their bosses (the insurance companies) from liability. This means that anything you say to them can be used to undermine or discredit your claim. This is why you should never talk about your injuries or how you got them with anyone until you’ve spoken to an attorney.
An attorney knows what language to use, which words to avoid, and how to communicate in a way that protects your best interests and allows you to maintain (and gain) as much leverage as possible. This will bode well for you as you progress in negotiations.
4. Don’t Accept the First Offer
It’s common for insurance adjusters to make a low offer at first, hoping you’ll take it and they can close the case cheaply. Even if the offer seems okay, it’s usually not the best they can do.
You don’t have to accept or reject it right away.
When you get an offer, tell the adjuster you’ll think about it. This gives you time to check if the offer covers all your needs, like medical bills now and any treatment you might need later. If the offer doesn’t seem fair, you can say no and explain why. Often, there’s room to negotiate for a better deal.
5. Consider Getting Help
If talking to the insurance adjuster feels overwhelming, or if they’re not treating you fairly, it might be time to get some help. A lawyer who knows about personal injury cases can be a big help. They understand the law and how insurance companies work, so they can talk to the adjuster for you and fight for a fair settlement. Yes, hiring a lawyer means sharing a part of your settlement, but they often get you a much better deal than you could on your own, even after their fee.
Adding it All Up
Insurance adjusters aren’t evil people, but they also aren’t your friends. It’s imperative that you remember this. Be on your guard whenever you find yourself facing off with adjusters – and be sure to lean on people who can help (like your attorney). At the end of the day, the more proactive you are in dealing with adjusters, the better your results will be.