When you’re involved in an auto accident, you will most likely have medical bills to pay and will have lost wages because you could not work. If the accident was caused by another person, that person’s insurance company will try to contact you about paying these damages and settling any potential claim. Often, these cases will be settled out of court but, even so, you may limit any recovery you are entitled to when you talk to the insurance adjuster. Dealing with the insurance company can be difficult and confusing. Remember, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and will have a different perspective on your case and the value attached to any injury.
An insurance company will instruct their insurance adjuster soon after you were injured in an auto accident. The adjuster is contacting you to gain any and all information about the accident to determine what, if any liability, the insurance carrier has to pay for your injuries. Remember, anything you say will be used to either deny or minimize money you could receive for your injuries.
What to Do After the Accident
Should you be involved in an auto accident, make sure you get contact information from any other drivers as well as all witnesses; take photos of any property damage; and, take photos of any bodily injury, if possible. Immediately notify your insurance company but consider contacting an attorney before you talk to the other driver’s insurance carrier. Your policy requires that you cooperate with your insurance adjuster but you are entitled to legal representation before contacting the other driver’s insurance carrier. Decline giving a recorded statement until you have spoken with your Sacramento attorney.
Insurance Adjuster’s Duties
The insurance adjuster investigates your claim, contacts witnesses, reviews any police report and hospital records, and inspects any physical damage. They use this information to determine the value of your claim or how much the insurance company will pay. Remember, your recorded conversations with the insurance adjuster can be used and, are most often, evidence that has the greatest effect on a claim.
Avoid Quick Settlements
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and both drivers have auto insurance, the adjusters from each company will contact each other about the case. They will discuss any and all information they have obtained about your case. If you’ve been injured in a non-automobile accident, like a slip and fall in a business, the business owner’s insurance company may contact you directly to determine the facts in your case. The insurance adjuster may offer to settle the case quickly which often is to your disadvantage. You should wait until you know the extent of your injuries, what treatment you’ll need in the future, and what limitations you may suffer from your injury before considering any settlement. In the meantime, you should carefully document all of your treatment, bills, and lost wages.
Discussing Your Case
When dealing with an insurance adjuster for the other person’s insurance company, remember that the adjuster’s job is to try to settle the claim as quick as possible and for as little as possible. You should avoid discussing your injuries with any adjuster until you know the extent of your injuries and whether or not you’ll need treatment in the future. If you’re asked to give a recorded statement about the accident, you should consult an attorney beforehand.
The other party’s insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a form authorizing your medical provider or doctor to send medical records to the insurance company. Remember, should you do so, you will be giving the insurance company access to all of your medical records, including those that may not be related to the accident, which may limit your recovery for damages.
Contact an Attorney
A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the complexities surrounding your personal injury case. Most cases are done on a contingency basis which means that you have not out-of-pocket expenses.
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