If you were injured in a car accident (or any type of accident) caused by another driver in Kansas or Missouri, you may be surprised at how quickly his insurance adjuster contacts you about your claim. You may receive this call while you are still in the hospital or are at home during the early days of your recovery.
While you may think that it is a good sign that the adjuster is already investigating your claim, this does not mean that your claim will be settled quickly—or fairly. In fact, you need to be very careful. Even if you believe it is clear that you are not at fault, you may weaken your claim by talking to the negligent driver’s insurance company.
What Is the Insurance Adjuster’s Role in Auto Crash Claims?
The insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company who has the job of investigating claims and making a decision on how to settle them. However, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, which has a goal of making a profit, like all businesses. Because the insurance adjuster’s allegiance is to his employer and not you, his objective may be to find disputes that he can use to deny or reduce your claim.
This is true even if the other driver’s negligence is clear-cut or the seriousness of your injuries is obvious. It is important to keep this in mind when talking to the insurance adjuster and to be extremely careful in what you say during your conversations with him.
Protect Your Right to Compensation by Understanding the Real Reasons That the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company Wants to Talk to You
You may not be able to avoid speaking to the insurance adjuster if you pick up your phone and discover that he is on the other line. However, you can avoid making an inadvertent mistake that weakens the value of your claim if you understand why the insurance adjuster is contacting you and the tactics that he may employ.
While the insurance adjuster is attempting to investigate your claim, he is also looking for statements you may make that can be twisted or misinterpreted to mean that you were at least partially at fault in causing the accident or that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. You may not even realize you are saying something harmful to your case or may give a wrong answer to a confusing question that was posed to you for just that purpose.
Many accident victims have made mistakes in their cases by dealing with the insurance adjuster on their own—making it more difficult for their attorneys to negotiate the settlement that they deserved. Here are some of the insurance tactics that an insurance adjuster may use that you want to be on alert for:
- Acting friendly. Some insurance adjusters will be genuinely concerned about a victim’s injuries and want to negotiate a fair settlement. However, if the adjuster you are speaking to seems friendly and “on your side,” he could be trying to put you at ease so that you say something that inadvertently damages your claim.
- Taking a recorded statement. You may be asked by the adjuster to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session between the adjuster and you that is transcribed into a typed document. While he may say that he needs it as part of his investigation, he is really looking for you to say inconsistent or other harmful statements that he can use against you in settlement negotiations or court.
- Signing a medical authorization. The adjuster may also ask you to sign the insurance company’s medical release so that he can obtain your medical records. While he will need to review your records pertaining to the accident, he does not need all of your medical records. Unfortunately, the insurance company’s medical authorization would allow him to do just that, and he could look for pre-existing injuries or other information—often sensitive and private—that he could use to deny your claim.
- Friending you on social media. You should be wary of any friend request by the insurance adjuster or someone that you do not know—who could be the adjuster—while you are settling your claim. The adjuster could be adding you as a friend to look for photos posted by you, your family, and friends, that hurts your case.
- Making a quick settlement offer. If the adjuster makes a quick settlement offer, he may be trying to get you to settle your claim quickly for less than its true value. You never want to settle your claim without first consulting with an attorney who can advise you on the value of your claim and can protect your legal rights.
Your Best Strategy for Talking to the Insurance Adjuster
If you cannot avoid talking to the insurance adjuster, you can take steps to protect your right to compensation. First, you should know that you are not obligated to talk to the insurance adjuster, and it is best not to. Politely obtain the person’s contact information and inform him that you will have your attorney contact him to discuss your claim. You should refrain from having a lengthy conversation with him. If you have not retained an attorney yet, now is the time to do so. He can handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
Let Us Take Over Communications With the Insurer Adjuster So Your Interests Are Protected
Did you suffer serious injuries in a car accident? Was a loved one killed due to another driver’s negligence? Attorney Kevin McManus can take over the burden of communicating with the insurance company and negotiating your settlement so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. He has the advantage of understanding insurance adjuster tactics from his prior work as an attorney for insurance companies.
For more information about personal injury claims in Missouri and Kansas, please download a free copy of his book, Crash Course, from our website. You can also contact our firm by calling (816) 203-0143 or by filling out our contact us form below for a free, confidential consultation.