Lots of people are intimidated by the prospect of hiring an attorney to handle their car accident claim. Some may have had a bad experience with a family or business law attorney at some point in their lives, others who have had no experience in hiring a lawyer in the past but assume there will be high hourly fees and large retainers involved. This isn’t the case with personal injury attorneys, who work on contingency, meaning any attorney fees are taken out as a percentage of the personal injury claim, rather than as out of pocket expenses – more on that here.

Although hiring an attorney for your car accident settlement is usually a good idea, especially for more serious injuries, truck or motorcycle accident settlements, and complex cases, there are instances where settling a car accident claim without a lawyer makes sense.

This article will give you some helpful tips when speaking to a claims adjuster for your auto accident if you don’t have an attorney in your corner doing the talking for you.

After a car accident, you may get a phone call from the insurance claims 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 the amount of compensation you’re due in the car accident claim.

Car Accident Settlement

1. Be calm and polite with the car accident claims 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 car accident claims 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.

2. Know the claim adjuster’s name

Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the claims adjuster you are talking with, as well as the name of the insurance company they represent. This can be helpful in creating a more personal and human connection with the car accident claims adjuster, making them more likely to want to help settle your claim. Also, this helps save you time. In the event you need to call back multiple times, being able to ask for the adjuster by name ensures that you won’t have to explain all the painful details of the auto accident over and over again.

3. 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. Think of the car accident claims adjuster like an arresting police officer – anything you say can and will be used against you. And as any good criminal defense attorney will tell you, say as little as necessary to the police if you’re ever arrested.

5. Provide NO details about the auto accident

What the car accident claims 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. Eventually, you will send a car accident settlement demand letter to the insurance company where you describe what happened in detail but for now, the less you say the better.

Finally, 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 and require more medical treatment. Just say that your injuries are still being treated and leave it at that.

6. Take plenty of notes

Write down all the information that was discussed with the insurance adjuster and whatever information you provided. You can be assured that the car insurance company is writing everything down, so you should be equally confident in what was discussed in prior meetings and calls.

7.  Do not let the adjuster push you into a fast car accident settlement

Quick car accident 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. Car accident claims adjusters are trained to make low initial offers, especially when it comes to car accident injury claims without a lawyer involved. People filing a car accident cases without a lawyer are viewed as less formidable, and as a result will usually end up with lower average settlement amounts.

8. 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. Tell the insurance representative that you only have 10-15 minutes for the call and stick to that hard stop.

9. Do not allow the car accident claims adjuster to record your conversation

You are not legally obligated to have your conversation with the other driver’s insurance company recorded and if they do, anything you say can and will be used against you.

You should also refuse this offer from the claims adjuster 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.

Car Accident Settlement

In conclusion, there are ways to speak with your car accident claims adjuster to ensure that you get a fair settlement for your car accident claim without hiring a law firm.

Be pleasant and respectful with the adjuster, but also firm. Don’t let them pressure you into a fast settlement or one you feel is premature or unfairly low. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re your friend and start telling them everything about how the accident happened, how you felt, etc. Keep things professional but brief.

Good luck settling your car accident claim without a lawyer. You got this.

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