After a car accident, you may get a phone call from the insurance adjuster for the other driver. It is important to keep in mind a few things about any discussions you have with the other driver’s insurance company. If you make mistakes, it can damage your claim.
First, be calm and polite with the adjuster. You might still be angry about what happened, but do not take your anger out on the insurance representative. Having the good will of the insurance adjuster can help to get your claim handled faster. It also may help the adjuster to believe your version of events that are hard to prove.
Second, know who you are talking to. Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the adjuster you are talking with, as well as the name of the insurance company they represent.
Third, provide only limited personal information. All you need to tell them is your name, address and phone number. You can tell them where you work and what you do. But you do not need to talk about your work schedule or income.
Fourth, provide NO details about the accident. What the adjuster wants is to get your statement of what happened in the accident. Or they will talk to you casually to try to get you to get talking about the accident. Refuse to talk about anything other than the bare facts of the case: When, where, type of accident, vehicles involved, and any witness information.
Say that you are continuing to investigate the accident and you will talk about the facts of the case later. You probably will send a personal injury demand letter to the insurance company where you describe what happened in detail. An attorney can help draft this for you.
Fifth, do not talk about any injuries you have. You could leave things out, find out about another injury later, or your injury could take a turn for the worse. Just say that your injuries are still being treated and leave it at that.
Sixth, take plenty of notes. Write down all the information that was discussed with the insurance adjuster and whatever information you provided.
Seventh, do not let the adjuster push you into a fast settlement. Quick car accident lawsuit settlements serve the interest of the insurance company, but not you. You probably are entitled to more money than the insurance company is offering you in the initial offer.
Eighth, set limits on the conversation. Tell the adjuster you are not going to provide much information other than the basics. Also set limits on the company calling you; some adjusters will keep nagging you to get you to settle. Don’t allow that.
Finally, do not allow the insurance adjuster to record your conversation. You are not legally obligated to have your conversation with the other driver’s insurance company recorded.
You should refuse because most of us tense up when they are being recorded. You may forget important things or you could say things that are incomplete or clumsy. A verbal statement will never be as precise as a written letter that you will send the company later.
Tell the adjuster you will not be recorded and that when you have complete information, you will provide your statement in writing.