The aftermath of a car accident is chaotic and distressing. Emotions are high and you may be experiencing pain and trauma. But by keeping a cool head during this challenging time in the hours, days, and weeks after a car accident you can help protect your physical and financial future.
It’s essential to remember that insurance adjusters are not on your side, no matter how friendly and concerned they may sound. It’s their job to find ways to minimize your claim or deny it altogether. An insurance company’s business model depends on taking in more money in premiums than they pay out in claims.
It’s best to simply refer all communications with an insurance adjuster to your personal injury attorney; however, first and foremost, it’s important to know what NOT to say to an insurance adjuster after a car accident.
All of the above statements are commonly taken out of context and used against accident victims during negotiations for an insurance settlement or in courtroom litigation. Statements such as “I didn’t see him,” or even a simple “I’m sorry” may be purposely construed as an admission of guilt on your part, even when an accident was caused by someone else. Insurance adjusters are trained in active listening methods so they can later quote your own words and use them to undervalue or deny your claim.
Insurance companies use common tactics to deny claims, including contacting you very soon after an accident. They may ask a seemingly routine question like, “How are you?” A polite response, often said out of habit, such as “I’m fine, thank you.” or “I’m okay, how are you?” can become ammunition used against you. These simple words lend validity to an insurance adjuster’s claim that you didn’t immediately report your injuries and instead told them that you were fine after an accident.
In some cases, an insurance representative may reach out to you before you’ve even had a full medical evaluation and know the extent of your injuries. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may worsen in the days and weeks following the initial injury as tendons and ligaments tighten. Downplaying your injuries out of politeness, habit, or out of reluctance to appear weak can seriously undermine your efforts to gain the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Recorded phone calls may seem routine, thanks to typical customer service calls, but when you’re speaking to an insurance adjuster, a recorded phone call is anything but routine. Claims adjusters may use your words out of context against you later. A common example is responding to questions you’re unsure of with the words, “I think…” You may unknowingly give them false information when asked about facts you’re unsure about or don’t remember clearly.
They may also ask you to describe your injuries on a recorded phone call before you can even fully understand the extent or scope of them. Then, anything you later discover but didn’t mention during the recorded phone call can be dismissed as false or an injury that’s unrelated to the accident.
You could be suffering a great deal of pain, but it’s only natural to want to hide weakness from strangers. Sounding “okay” during a recorded phone conversation despite your pain can be used against you later.
You may think granting an insurance adjuster access to your private medical records will only strengthen your case, since the records detail your injuries, treatment recommendation, and prognosis, but granting medical access to an insurance adjuster is often a recipe for a failed claim. Adjusters comb through years of your medical history searching for proof of a preexisting condition. For example, you could have severely injured your back in an accident, but if you saw your doctor five years ago for a strained back after moving furniture, an adjuster will claim you have a pre-existing history of back pain.
Saying any of the above to an insurance claims adjuster may significantly undermine your efforts to gain the compensation you deserve for your physical and financial damages after an accident. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of expenses in an accident that wasn’t your fault because of a simple misstep during a distressing time. A Seattle car accident attorney knows exactly how to protect your interests through every step of a claim, including dealing with insurance adjusters. By referring all communications to the lawyer representing you, you’re already taking the most important step toward a favorable outcome.
The Fang Law Firm offers 100% remote and contactless meetings & representation.