Insurance claims adjusters have one goal: To pay out as little money as possible whether the money is to you or someone else. And insurance companies want to inflate your premiums to try to recoup some of the money they paid out. In short, they are not your friends.
Phone calls with insurers are typically recorded, so any recorded statements you make could come back to haunt you. If you have been in a car crash or another type of accident, never say to the insurance adjuster anything along the lines of:
- I’m not injured.
- I’m (partly) to blame.
- I had right-of-way/the green light/the light was still yellow.
- The other driver “came out of nowhere” or “must have been speeding.”
- ANYTHING! Let your accident attorney do the talking.
1. I’m not injured.
Some injuries take days, weeks, or longer to reveal themselves, especially after an auto accident. Examples include:
- hairline fractures
- internal bleeding
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
After a car accident, many people understandably are flustered and want to get back to their regularly scheduled lives as soon as possible. Victims will brush off the accident, ignore any pain, and claim they are fine when they may not be.
It is always recommended that people involved in an accident see a medical provider and be truthful about all of their symptoms and need for medical treatment. Physicians are experienced in detecting “invisible injuries” and know what to look for. And these medical records could be vital in proving the extent of your injuries during the claims process.
If accident victims tell an insurance adjuster they are fine, the adjuster may use that statement against them if the victims later claim they are injured after all. This could greatly impede or prevent the victims from recovering the money for medical bills they are entitled to.
2. I’m (partly) to blame.
In the same way people are quick to brush off their injuries, they may also wish to “own up” to causing an accident so they can get the case over with and move on with their lives.
But even people who genuinely believe they were to blame for an accident may be wrong. Traffic surveillance footage and eyewitness accounts may reveal that the other driver was the at-fault party. And when people are in an accident, their perspective is understandably warped.
Never take the blame because the evidence may tell another story. But insurance adjusters who hear an admission of guilt may take it at face value and not investigate further. And if you change your story later, they will be skeptical and could suspect you of insurance fraud even if you have a valid personal injury claim.
3. I had right-of-way/ the green light/ the light was still yellow.
It is more important to say that you looked right and left and assessed your surroundings instead of claiming that the traffic signals were in your favor. Drivers are expected to make sure it is safe to drive even if the traffic signals give them right-of-way.
4. The other driver “came out of nowhere” or “must have been speeding.”
Obviously, it is physically impossible for motorists to materialize out of nowhere. And if another driver was speeding, the adjuster might wonder why you did not detect it and try to avoid the speeding driver.
Auto insurance adjusters working on a car accident claim are always suspicious of claimants who “editorialize” their accounts of what happened and do not stick to straight facts.
5. ANYTHING. Let your attorney do the talking.
The safest bet is to hire a personal injury attorney and to let him or her do all of the talking. Whereas it is the adjuster’s job to pay out as little as possible and make a modest first offer, an experienced car accident attorney is motivated to get you the largest settlement offer possible under the insurance policy.
In sum, car accident lawyers are skilled in what to say and what to omit when speaking with a driver’s insurance company in order to maximize the value of the claim for medical expenses and property damage.