After you have been involved in an automobile accident, you will be required to file a claim with your insurance company. Your case will be given a reference number, and a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case.
Although claims adjusters appear to be helpful and friendly, you must use caution as you are talking to them. Any information that you provide to the auto claims adjuster can directly impact the outcome of your settlement.
The Role of Auto Claims Adjusters
Insurance companies employ auto claims adjusters to perform duties on their behalf. Auto claims adjusters investigate the details of automobile accidents. As negotiators, they
work on behalf of the insurance companies to settle claims with the parties in an automobile accident. Automobile claims adjusters provide advice to the insurance company about liability, and they determine how much accident victims should be compensated.
As you can tell from the claims adjuster’s job description, they play an important role in limiting the amount of compensation to accident victims. Their allegiance is to their employers. They will use any piece of information to reduce your compensation.
Insurance companies invest a lot of money in training auto claims adjusters. They are required to receive extensive training in calculating settlements, effective negotiation techniques, gathering evidence and investigating automobile accidents.
Talking to Your Claims Adjuster
Since claims adjusters work for insurance companies, their primary goal is to prompt you to say something that could limit the insurance company’s liability. As you speak with your claims adjuster, you must remember that they are taking notes about the conversation.
Claims adjusters are trained to recognize ‘trigger’ words in the automobile industry. These words can be used against you to decrease the legitimacy of your claim. From the initial conversation, you need to be on high alert to never use the following words as you are speaking with your claims adjuster.
Whiplash – If your claims adjuster asks about injuries, be careful about medical self-diagnosis. When an accident victim professes to have whiplash, claims adjusters view this as a red flag. In many instances, accident victims who claim to have whiplash are filing bogus claims.
Sorry – When you are speaking with your claims adjuster, do not apologize for anything. Refrain from using the word ‘sorry’. Offering apologies can make it seem as if you are taking responsibility for the accident.
Fine – During the initial greeting, the claims adjuster may ask you how you are doing. Your automatic response to that question may be ‘I am fine’. Your claims adjuster will write in the report that you said you were doing fine. This could have an impact on your settlement.
Before you talk to your claims adjuster about your automobile accident, it is a good idea for you to gain your composure. When you are calm, you will be able to provide your claims adjuster with thoughtful responses.
To Record or Not Record
Your claims adjuster will ask you if you agree to have the conversation recorded. If you feel as if you are not at fault, you may not have a problem with recording the conversation.
However, it is not wise for you to consent to a recorded conversation. There is no legal requirement that compels you to provide consent.
A recorded conversation can make you nervous and anxious. When you are nervous, you may forget important facts or give inaccurate details about the accident. Once the information is recorded, there is no way for you to retract your statement.
Provide Your Claims Adjuster with Basic Facts
Now that you are aware that your claims adjuster is not your friend, you need to act accordingly. When you provide information about the automobile accident to your claims adjuster, only give facts about the location, time, victims involved and types of cars involved. You should never provide details about the accident to your claims adjuster.
Being involved in an automobile accident can have serious long-term financial consequences. It is a good idea for you get a lawyer who will interact with your claims adjuster on your behalf.