As soon as an insurance company finds out that you were in a car accident, their insurance adjuster will probably spring into action. They do this because the things that happen early in the case will often make or break the case. Remember, the insurance adjuster’s main job is to make sure that they pay you as little as they can get away with. There are a lot of things you shouldn’t say and mistakes that you can make early on which will hurt your case.
The insurance company will probably be calling you and trying to take statements from you. It might seem like they are just trying to find out what happened, but don’t be fooled. It’s rarely that simple. They will ask a lot of questions, try to record what you say, and provide you with information that may or may not be correct. They may even steer you into making decisions or statements that will hurt your case. If you start on the wrong foot, you are more likely to make mistakes and encounter pitfalls. Some mistakes are not fixable. Some mistakes take a lot of work to fix.
The Top 5 Traps Insurance Companies May Use Right After a Car Accident
1. Your Fault
Determining fault is a very tricky thing. Frequently there may be contributing factors to the accident that you may not even be aware of. If you admit fault or even the possibility that it was your fault to the insurance company, it can change the course of the entire claim process in a negative and irreversible way.
2. I’m Ok
The insurance adjuster will be calling to “check in” and see how you’re doing. A very common response is to say, “I’m ok” or “I’m fine”. Commenting on your injuries has the potential to create some real problems. Adrenaline may hide some of your pain and injuries. Some injuries take time to show up. A best practice is to wait until you’ve been seen diagnosed by a medical professional before talking with the insurance adjuster about your injuries. Adjusters may try to trick you and get you to say something to diminish the seriousness of your injuries. Having a lawyer on your side to communicate about your injuries with the adjuster can help protect you and your case.
3. I Don’t Have a Lawyer
When insurance companies learn that you don’t have a lawyer, they may try to take advantage of you. They know that people with a lawyer on average receive up to 3.5 X or more in compensation than people that do it alone. They also know that when a lawyer is involved, there is a very real threat of being taken to court. Court can mean a much bigger payment for you and lots of extra costs, time, and headaches for an insurance company.
4. Common Phrases
Using common phrases like “I’m sorry” “I think” or “In my opinion” can be used and turned against you. It’s not necessary when speaking with an insurance adjuster to provide your opinions, apologize, or talk about unnecessary details. The conversations may seem innocent, caring, or even helpful. Don’t be fooled. Their goal is to find any angle they can to pay you as little as possible. Oversharing or offering opinions provides an easy way for them to twist or misinterpret your words and poke holes in your case.
An insurance adjuster will make you an offer on the very first call. They want you to say “yes” and accept it. They might even get you to sign away your rights with a “release.” Remember their job is to pay you as little as possible. When they make an offer that quickly you may not have even gathered your total medical bills or learned about the full extent of your injures and the costs associated with them. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators and will use all the tools in their chest to get you to take an offer that benefits them the most.
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When you hire a lawyer, they work for you and should have your best interest at heart. They can also do all the communicating and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. We’re here to help and guide you through the whole process.