If you find yourself involved in an accident, you will likely deal with an insurance adjuster – a representative of an insurance company who settles a claim by investigating the accident and conducting negotiations. Nevertheless, it's not as straightforward as it might seem.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money, which means that adjusters surely do not have your best interest in mind. Learn how to deal with insurance adjusters in a way that preserves your ability to receive full compensation for your damages.
HOW TO HANDLE AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER
GATHER ALL THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE
It’s important to save photographs, names, and personal information of witnesses. Write down a detailed account of the facts as soon as possible after the accident. Waiting too long may compromise crucial pieces of evidence, and the adjuster will be able to fashion the “facts” in a way that may harm your case.
Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators
Regardless of how friendly they act, insurance adjusters are not on your side. An adjuster's job is to protect the interests of their employer by minimizing your compensation as much as possible, and for that, they are trained negotiators. They have techniques that help them reach their employer’s goals, such as coercing you to make statements that don’t benefit you.
Expect to be contacted by an adjuster. They might claim they need more information, however, they probably already have the relevant information concerning the accident and know how to build your story in a way that is most favorable to the company.
Afterward, write down all the information you gave or received from them.
Provide limited information
At this point, tell the insurance adjuster only your name, address, and telephone number. They may try to engage you in conversation, during which they will subtly try to get information. Politely refuse to discuss any details, saying that you will discuss the facts further on in a personal injury demand letter.
Decline providing recorded statements, for they seldom benefit the claimant. You have no legal obligation to be recorded. Reinforce that all the details will be provided in a letter.
Decline quick settlements
Quick settlements save the insurance company work and money. Although collecting a settlement may seem like a way to be promptly compensated, it will likely cost you later on.
Every so often, insurance companies may ignore you as a delaying tactic. The statute of limitations to file an injury lawsuit after an accident in Texas is two years. If you decline their first offer, companies may ignore you in hope that you will either give up or miss the deadline to file suit. Hiring an attorney is the best way to deal with a company using this tactic.
Never sign anything you do not understand. Insurance companies often present settlements in which you sign away your rights to pursue additional damages or file a lawsuit. Have an attorney review anything that the insurance company asks you to sign.
Published by Charlesa Gibson