Do I Have to Answer the Insurance Adjuster?
Once you have filed a claim to recover damages from an accident, you can expect to be contacted by one or more insurance companies. Their insurance adjusters will be seeking detailed accounts regarding your accident and injuries. They will want to settle your claim as quickly as possible, with as little loss to their company as possible. In order for you to obtain the best possible compensation arrangement, your honest cooperation with them is essential.
How you answer the insurance adjusters will bear heavily on the outcome of your case. Your answers could work for or against you. A comment such as “I am doing well” could be construed to mean that you are not in pain and that you may be fabricating your claims of injuries. The thumb of rule to follow is to communicate cautiously. Here are some major points to keep in mind as you talk with insurance adjusters.
Know With Whom You Communicate
Before you begin discussions, identify the person calling. Keep records of names, phone numbers, and the insurance companies and/or entities that they represent. Politely refuse any request to record the conversation until you have talked with your attorney.
They Don’t Need to Know Everything
During the first call, only give the adjuster your full name, address and telephone number. You are not required to provide any other personal or family details. You do not need to discuss your job, your income, nor your schedule.
This is not the time to share accident details except with your insurance company. Adjusters or representatives from other companies may ask for a statement of how the accident occurred, or they may initiate a conversation to pry information out of you. Gently but firmly refuse to discuss any details beyond the type of accident, time, location, and vehicles involved. Tell them that the accident is still under investigation and that you will share more information at the proper time. You will provide a full description of the accident when you submit a written demand for compensation.
Witnesses & Other Parties
Do not offer any information regarding witnesses or witness testimonies. Should the insurance adjuster ask you about witnesses, simply reply that, if there are any, you will let the company know at the proper time. If the adjuster asks about other responsible parties, you only need to give identifying information without going into detail about the accident. Ask the adjuster if they know of any witnesses or other responsible parties.
Don’t Discuss Injuries
Although the insurance adjuster is likely to ask about your injuries, it is too soon to provide details. You may inadvertently leave out important issues or you may later find that you have sustained more serious injuries than you first thought. You can give generic information such as “My finger hurts” or “I have shoulder pain”.
Let the adjuster know that you will be or are under medical care, but you do not need to provide any information about the doctors or type of treatment you are seeking or receiving. When you submit your written demand for compensation, you will elaborate on your medical issues pertaining to your claim. By that time, you will know the scope of your injuries more clearly.
Insurance adjusters work for their insurance companies, not for you. They strive to save their company money. Whatever you say to them could be used to minimize your claim or even make you appear culpable for your accident. If you are unsure of how to communicate with insurance adjusters, seek advice from your lawyer first.
“Insurance Adjusters: First Discussions”. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/insurance-adjusters-first-discussions-29752.html
“What To Know About Your Auto Claims Adjuster.” Retrieved from https://insurance.freeadvice.com/information/auto/article/55