If You're Talking to An Insurance Adjuster After an Accident, Could Be…
If you've ever been involved in a car accident, you know just how confusing and contradictory things can be in the aftermath. So many questions, some that are downright accusatory. You may think there's no way you could be found at fault – or even partially at fault – but you may be surprised at the outcome.
Car insurance adjusters go to great lengths to get you to say things that you may not want to say. Let's face it – their job is to protect their financial interests, save their company money and pay out as little as possible to make you and your car whole again. Adjusters are experts at phrasing questions to get the kind of answers they're looking for. They have years of experience in using just the right words and phrases that are specifically designed to arrive at the answer they want to hear – that you in some way contributed to the accident – even when that's not the case.
Speaking to an insurance adjuster after an accident can seem like an extremely casual, even offhand conversation. Very easygoing, matter-of-fact questions, designed to seem like they are not even questions at all, are meant to make you feel at ease, like your talking to a friend. Well, rest assured – this is an adversarial conversation from the beginning. Many people think they're too smart to be lured into saying anything incriminating, so why not go ahead and give a recorded statement. After all, you didn't do anything wrong, so what's to fear, right?
What you say after an accident – as well as what you don't say – are essential elements of whether your claim is resolved fairly, and whether you receive adequate financial compensation for your damages, including any serious physical injuries.
Here's one of the trickiest questions you'll encounter when the adjuster calls to get your take on what happened. They'll usually toss off some casual question like, ‘Based on what happened, is there anything you could have done to avoid or prevent the accident?' And here is where I'm going to tell you exactly how to answer that one – DON'T. Again, it doesn't matter that you think you're clever enough to say just the right thing – just DON'T answer that question, period.
While this is not the only form of a potentially treacherous question you may get from an insurance adjuster, it is one of the most dangerous in effecting the positive outcome of your case. There is virtually no good or correct answer to that one, and the sooner you understand that, the better.
If you've been involved in motor vehicle accident – and particularly if you've ended up with serious injuries – there are some really critical things you need to know in order to protect your legal rights:
- DON'T give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster. There are no laws requiring you to do so.
- Get a copy of the accident police report.
- No matter how tempting it may be, resist the urge to answer the ‘is there anything you think you could have done to avoid the accident' question. When it comes to trick questions, this one is the killer.
- Don't agree or disagree with the adjuster's version of events.
Here's the most important thing to take away from this if you've been hurt in an accident that you feel was caused through no fault of your own – tell the insurance adjuster to call me. This is what we do, day in and day out. If you want your legal rights to be fully protected, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.
Don't be fooled by the “friendly” insurance adjuster and their casual questions. Call the law firm of Goldberg, Racila, D'Alessandro & Noone – we'll meet with you at no cost to talk about your situation, and we'll make sure you receive every form of financial compensation you're entitled to under the law.
Photo Credit: Images Money via: imager.io, cc