An insurance adjuster's job is to examine a claim and offer compensation based on their assessment. When a person makes an auto insurance claim after a collision, for example, they work with a claims adjuster to figure out how much they're owed under their policy. In some instances, the adjuster is from a driver’s own insurance company; in others, they're from the other driver's insurer.
How much an adjuster offers you can make the difference between full and timely recovery, or a long and difficult process. How you deal with an insurance adjuster will similarly affect their handling of your claim. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to protect your rights and interests:
See Your Doctor as Soon as Possible
As soon as you are able, go see your doctor after your accident. If you need to make an insurance claim, one of the most important things you can do is document your injuries. Having a record of your medical condition immediately following the collision establishes a connection between your accident and your future medical condition.
Additionally, make sure you have all information about your accident stored in a safe place, and make copies of them before sending them to your adjuster. Collecting evidence of your medical needs, treatment, and costs will keep your adjuster honest. Make sure to keep receipts of transportation costs between your home and your medical care, receipts for car rental costs, and other costs associated with your crash.
Watch What You Say to Your Adjuster
In every instance, drivers should speak to an insurance adjuster with caution. After years of paying premiums, a person might assume that an adjuster will make them a fair and full offer on their policy. However, this is not always the case.
Claim adjusters work for insurance companies, and the company's highest priority is their bottom line. These companies directly benefit when you accept a lower offer than you deserve. So, adjusters will naturally try to get you to accept a low offer. Some may even deny your claim outright.
Adjusters are typically looking for claimants to make mistakes or admit fault during initial phone calls. While speaking with an adjuster is required under most policies, they might hold any mistake against your claim, so be careful. You and the insurance claim adjuster are not working toward a common goal, and you are not on the same side. You are seeking a fair and full recovery. The adjuster is working to limit the insurance company’s costs by giving you as little money as possible.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when speaking to an insurance adjuster:
- Do not admit fault, apologize, or say you are to blame in any way for the accident. Even if you think you may have caused the crash, only a full investigation will reveal what happened. Resist the urge to take responsibility for something that may not have been your fault.
- If you feel uncomfortable answering a question or simply do not know the right response, don’t answer it. You need to avoid estimating, guessing about what might have caused the accident or how your injuries might affect you, or embellishing/downplaying any part of the incident and its impact on you.
- Don’t argue with the adjuster. Do not try to negotiate or argue with an insurance adjuster on your own. They are trained on how to deal with claimants, how to put pressure on them to accept low settlements, and how to skew information in a certain way to benefit the insurance company. Leave the negotiations and arguments to a skilled attorney.
If you don't feel confident speaking to your adjuster, your attorney can answer the call on your behalf. Once an insurer knows you have legal representation, they are barred from calling you directly.
Involve an Attorney
A competent personal injury attorney is an insurance adjuster’s worst nightmare. Suddenly, they are not dealing with an inexperienced (and likely traumatized) person who they feel they can overpower or coerce into accepting a lowball settlement. They are stuck on an even playing field against an opponent who will do what it takes to make sure your interests are protected.
As soon as possible after any car accident, contact an attorney. They can handle every part of your insurance claim for you, and that includes dealing with the adjuster.
Denial Is Not the End of a Claim
If you have been offered an extremely low settlement or have had your claim denied outright, this does not have to be the end of your claim. The best way to fight a denied claim is to hire a car accident attorney. Adjusters are highly trained and know how to wear claimants down and weaken their claims. A qualified car accident attorney will have the experience and negotiation skills needed to combat claim delays and denials.
At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg, our Pennsylvania car accident claim attorneys have fought for clients since 1922. Our firm has seen the insurance industry evolve from one that works on behalf of claimants to one that works on behalf of shareholders, and we are prepared to help you fight back. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who are not afraid to take a case to trial if necessary. Our fierce representation has led to the recovery of tens of millions of dollars for clients. We are standing by to see how we can help with your insurance claim.
Contact our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys today at (888) 498-3023 for a free consultation of your case. Our experienced help is affordable because we only get paid if we win your case!