When you file a claim following a car accident, an adjuster with the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely contact you to get more information about the incident. They are trying to determine whether you are owed compensation and, if so, what amount. Of course, you want to be helpful and move the matter forward. However, when dealing with the adjuster, especially at the early stages of your case, you might say things that could impact the offered settlement. A personal injury lawyer can provide the guidance and counsel you need to make confident and informed decisions when working with the insurance company.
The Insurance Adjuster’s Role
An adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company you filed the claim with. They may be the individual you deal with most when trying to settle your case.
The adjuster's job is to examine relevant documents, including police reports and witness statements, to determine what happened. Additionally, they may review photos of the accident and any other pertinent information to draw conclusions and decide how much your case is worth. In some cases, they may visit the accident scene, inspect physical damage, and interview the parties involved, including yourself.
What Not to Discuss with the Insurance Adjuster
If you have been in an accident, it’s important to know what not to discuss with the insurance adjuster. Firstly, don't admit fault in any way, shape, or form, even if you think that you’re telling a harmless story. The person responsible for the collision can be held accountable for damages. The adjuster can take statements you make and use them to place full or partial blame on you. Doing this could result in your receiving a lower settlement offer or no payout at all. The investigation will reveal who was at fault for the accident.
Also, avoid discussing your injuries. Don't say whether they were severe or even specify what injuries were sustained. The information could work against you and reduce the amount of money you receive. If the adjuster asks about your injuries, you can tell them that you are waiting to hear from your physician about the extent of the harm you suffered.
Furthermore, don't agree to any settlement offered by the adjuster unless you have discussed it with your lawyer. Often, the first offer made by the insurance company is a starting point for negotiations. You may be able to pursue greater compensation. If you accept the proposed settlement, you waive your right to receive more money for additional damages not considered earlier in your case.
Handling Interactions with the Adjuster
Cooperating with the adjuster is an important part of ensuring that your damage claim is successful. That said, while conversing with the adjuster, provide basic facts about the accident but try not to give too much information. As noted above, saying going into depth about the collision or your injuries could result in a lower settlement offer.
Additionally, during a property inspection, try to be present to ensure the adjuster does not miss any details. Be sure to get the adjuster’s contact information if you need to discuss anything with them.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Negotiating with the insurance company can be a daunting task. Still, it might be necessary to pursue just compensation after your accident. Initially, the company might offer a low settlement. Remember, the amount gets the ball rolling. Even if the settlement is tempting to accept, use it as a starting point and negotiate up from there.
When you negotiate, you must have support for the claims you are making. That is why it is essential to document your accident as soon as possible after it occurs and keep everything organized.
To seek a fair settlement amount, you will want to present information such as:
- Evidence like witness statements, police reports, and photos of the scene
- Expenses arising from your accident, and
- Medical care you need to treat your injuries.
Negotiations can be overwhelming and tricky. Consider enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney who can better represent your interests. An experienced lawyer will understand the fine details involved in settling with an insurance company.
Contact Our Firm Today
If you have been in an accident, you can take some important steps to pursue a just outcome. However, when dealing with an insurance adjuster, you might be unsure how to handle conversations and worried that what you say or do could hurt your case. Fortunately, you can have a lawyer communicate with the adjuster and other insurance company representatives on your behalf.Discuss your case with one of our Los Angeles attorneys by contacting Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP at (800) 462-7160 today.