What NOT to Say to an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident
Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama
This content has been reviewed by Gary O. Bruce
After a car wreck, you are typically required to notify your insurance company of the crash regardless of who was at fault. And if you were not at fault, you will probably be contacted by the other driver’s insurance as well.
The insurance companies will want to question you because they will want to determine firstly, who was at fault, and secondly, how much they should pay.
However, it’s extremely important to always watch what you say when speaking to an insurance adjuster. They are not on your side, and you may accidentally say something that could lose you your chance to get the compensation you need!
If you were injured in the crash, this becomes even more important. We recommend not speaking to an insurance adjuster, and especially never agreeing to give a recorded statement, until after you’ve spoken with an experienced auto accident attorney. However, since most insurance companies require policyholders to report a crash “promptly,” you may need to speak with an insurance adjuster before hiring a lawyer, at least long enough to report an intention to file a claim.
Here’s what you need to know before that conversation.
The 4 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
Have you ever had someone deliberately misinterpret your words? It’s extremely frustrating, and unfortunately, it’s also something that many people experience after a car crash when speaking with insurance adjusters.
Because they will be looking for opportunities to deny you compensation, make sure to avoid these conversational pitfalls:
- Don’t admit fault. While you may think this is obvious, it’s a lot easier than you may think to “admit” fault. Even saying something as simple as “I’m sorry,” could be taken as admitting fault, while saying something like “they came out of nowhere,” could imply you were driving distracted (and thus at fault).
Even if you think you may have been at least partially at fault, you don’t have the full story right now and you don’t know how the crash occurred from the other driver’s perspective, or the perspective of witnesses. Wait until all evidence has been collected and reviewed.
This is even more important for wrecks in Alabama, where accepting even 1% of fault means you are disqualified from getting any compensation at all!
- Stick to the facts. Don’t make guesses, estimates, or speculate about what happened. This includes guessing how fast the other driver was going! Again, you don’t have the full story, and if you speculate as if it were fact, and it later turns out not to be true, it could cast doubt on the rest of your statement and make it easier for the insurance company to deny your claim.
You do not need to give them any information about the accident besides the very basics: when it happened, where it happened, who was involved, and the identity of any witnesses.
- Don’t be specific about your injuries. You will be asked if anyone was injured in the crash, and it’s fine to answer that question. In fact, if there’s even the slightest chance you were injured, absolutely don’t say, “there were no injuries.” However, don’t give any details about what type of injuries you may have or how badly you may have been injured. You won’t know that until after you’ve been diagnosed by a doctor.
Many times it is impossible to know the extent of your injuries in the first few days after a wreck or fall. In fact, it is common for new symptoms develop over time. That’s one reason your doctor asks you to come back in two weeks. These things take time sometimes.
If you tell the insurance company you have an injured shoulder, but you later find out you also have a neck injury, they will have a reason to deny that the neck injury happened in the crash since you didn’t mention it when you told them of the shoulder injury.
Furthermore, you should not make blanket statements like “I’m fine,” “I’m okay,” or “I’m better.” These may be a reflexive statement to make, since you survived, and things could have been worse! But they also imply that your injuries are not as severe as they actually are, or that you no longer need treatment when you actually do, and give the insurance company a reason to reduce the settlement amount.
The insurance company isn’t taking down your statement to help you; they are doing it to limit liability! A call to our office can help deal with those issues as they arise and as you worry about getting completely well again.
- Don’t badmouth the other party. When you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, it’s normal to feel frustrated, or even angry at them. But voicing that anger could hurt your chances of compensation. This is because personal injury settlements are intended to help the victim, not to punish the perpetrator. If you make your anger too obvious, the insurance company could argue you want the money not because you actually need it, but only because you want retaliation.
Get a Lawyer to Handle Your Conversations with Insurance For You
When you’re injured, you need time to recover, and you deserve to be able to do so without stressing over navigating land mines in conversations with insurance adjusters and cutting through red tape as you try to file a claim.
When you contact the experienced auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we’ll handle all the difficult work for you so you can focus on what you need to get better. Call today for a free case consultation.