Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
A car accident can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it was not your fault. After the crash, you may not know how to act to protect yourself legally. You might ask, “do I have to speak to insurance adjusters?”
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, reach out to our experienced Ohio car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. You can count on us to help you establish liability, deal with the insurance company, and hold the responsible party accountable.
Call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW today to set up a free, no-risk consultation.
What Do Insurance Adjusters Do After A Car Crash?
Once the other party’s insurance adjuster finds out that their policyholder was involved in a crash, their goal is to pay the injured party as little as possible. After all, they work for an insurance company that aims to maximize profits, just like other businesses.
They may call you and act friendly to get you to share details about the accident from your perspective, so they can extract information, reduce your claim, and eventually convince you to accept a lowball offer. You should know they are not on your side and do not have your best interests in mind.
You Are Not Required to Speak to Insurance Adjusters
Contrary to popular belief, you have no legal obligation to speak to the other party’s insurance adjuster after an accident. Doing so can hurt your case and may put you in a situation where you do not get compensated fully and fairly for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. While it may be tempting to spill the beans and tell them everything that happened, you should avoid doing so.
The adjuster will likely call you shortly after the accident and ask you about the nature and extent of your injuries. Since some injuries take days or even weeks to become apparent, you may be giving them false information and risk getting a lowball offer.
So, what should you do when the insurance adjuster calls? Politely decline their request to provide a statement about the accident and your injuries. Then, contact your own insurance company to notify them of what happened and reach out to a skilled car accident lawyer. Remember, the insurance adjuster is not working for you. They are there to defend their policyholder and save their company as much money as possible.
The “Dos” & “Don’ts” of Dealing with Claims Adjusters
When you must work with a claims adjuster, there are certain things to keep in mind, like whom they’re working for and what they’re aiming to do: reduce your payout. That doesn’t mean you should be rude to them, but there is a certain etiquette to ensure as smooth a process as possible while working towards your desired outcome.
How to Work with a Claims Adjuster
It’s important to remember that even if a claims adjuster is working to reduce a payout or settlement from the insurance company, they can still offer you some essential information.
Be Wary of a Fast Offer
As stated above, insurance companies may offer you a lowball offer, and they may make an offer in a short amount of time after the accident. This could be because they realize there are more damages or costs in the future, and they might offer you something quickly in the hopes you won’t know the settlement won’t cover those future costs.
You may have injuries that aren’t apparent yet that the insurance company should cover, but by accepting a quick offer, you won’t get that full coverage after an accident.
Track Your Communication
Keeping a record of any discussions or e-mail correspondence between you and the insurance adjuster is one way to keep the ball in your court after an accident. An adjuster could try to confuse you by sending several messages, or they may try using conversations so there isn’t a written record of what is discussed.
If you hold onto every written correspondence and document conversations, you can keep a concise and accurate record of what’s happened after an accident, which only supports your claim.
Document Any Injuries or Damages
After an accident, you’ll be provided a variety of records and documents concerning your medical expenses, injuries, crash reports, among other documents. It’s essential to keep track of these, as they not only build a timeline of the event along with establishing who was at-fault, but they can prove the extent of your injuries and can hold the insurance company responsible.
Building your case with documents makes it harder for an adjuster to refute your claims, which means you’re more likely to get your desired payout.
Research, Research, Research
After a crash, your car will need repairs, and you might feel stranded. At this time, it’s important not to take several factors for granted.
One, you should research which auto repair shop you can take your vehicle for its repairs, as the insurance company may have a contract with a shop they prefer.
Two, you should research the types of auto parts the auto shop wants to use to repair your vehicle. Knowing if they’re using “original equipment manufactured” (OEM) parts or after-market parts can tell you if the insurance company is giving you its due diligence to repair your vehicle after a crash.
Finally, you need to check whether your insurance policy covers a rental vehicle while your car is in the shop. The insurance company may not offer this information, but this is a critical point to hold them accountable while you wait on your vehicle to be restored.
What to Avoid when Working with a Claims Adjuster
As difficult as it can be to remember what you should be doing after a crash, you should be aware of what to avoid after a crash, especially when working with a claims adjuster.
Never Admit Fault in a Crash
When a claims adjuster calls after a crash, you should remember they’re working for the insurance company. You may feel obligated to admit some percent of fault after a crash, but they can use that admission to deny a claim, or limit how much you’re paid in a settlement.
Any kind of crash investigation can reveal who was at fault in a crash, and if you don’t admit to any with an adjuster, they can’t twist the facts to fit their story.
Do Not Sign a Release for Your Medical Records
Although it might feel fair to let an adjuster see your medical records after a crash, it’s a common practice for them to make broad requests. Adjusters are looking for a way to avoid paying you for your medical care, and if they can find a “pre-existing condition” they might use that to limit your payout.
Avoid Recorded Statements
When an insurance claims adjuster calls you, they may ask you for a recorded or formal statement. Sometimes this happens immediately after a crash or before you’ve really recovered. Remember that you aren’t required to give a formal statement before you can consult a lawyer. If you give a statement before you’re ready, an adjuster can twist your words to deny your claim.
Why Consult a Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer can take the time to get to know the specific circumstances of your case and how it affected you. He can also help you collect valuable evidence and prove liability so that the other party’s insurer does not hold you responsible for an accident you did not cause.
In addition, a lawyer can speak to the other party’s insurance adjuster on your behalf and negotiate a fair and full offer. Allow the legal professional to take care of the legalities of your case while you focus on recovering.
Contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick
Injured in a car accident? Don’t hesitate to consult our Ohio car accident lawyers at Kisling, Nestico & Redick. We can ensure the liable party’s insurance company does not take advantage of your rights. Call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW today.
We offer free, initial consultations, and there are no up-front costs. We are only paid when you recover compensation.