A car accident can have a profound impact on the victims, causing physical injuries and psychological distress. After an accident, the injured party is legally entitled to seek money compensation from the responsible party for the resulting damages. However, the process of obtaining fair and full compensation is often more complex and challenging than people may think.
After a personal injury incident, an individual making a claim for injuries will have to deal with an insurance adjuster. These individuals are assigned by the insurance company to fully evaluate someone’s personal injury insurance claim and will negotiate on behalf of the insurance company to reach a settlement. Their expertise lies in navigating the intricacies of insurance policies and utilizing their tools and resources to assign value to your personal injury claim. Their evaluation is always in favor of the insurance company and never truly in favor of the injured person.
Insurance adjusters are primarily driven by trying to find information to minimize the compensation that the insurance company will provide to the injured person. This is called risk management and it is designed to protect the insurance company’s financial bottom line. Unless injured individuals are aware of and understand the pitfalls in dealing with the insurance companies directly, they are at great risk of getting much less compensation than if they hired a personal injury attorney to work on their behalf against the insurance adjuster.
While we do not recommend attempting to negotiate with the trained insurance adjuster on your own, we have compiled a set of valuable tips to keep in mind to help you avoid any costly mistakes if you want to attempt to deal with the insurance company on your own. However, be aware that if you attempt to do so and are not successful, you could cause permanent issues with your claim that even hiring an experienced attorney afterward may not be able to correct or undo.
Tips to Deal with Insurance Adjusters after Personal Injury
An insurance adjuster’s job is to inspect personal injury insurance claims and determine a compensation amount. Their main responsibility is to assess the claims, investigate liability, and work towards negotiating settlements with the claimants. Once you file your case, the insurance company will assign a specific adjuster who contacts you to initiate the process.
Familiarize yourself with the following tips to protect yourself against any unjust tactics employed by the insurance adjuster.
Never Trust the Insurance Adjuster – Remember that the adjuster contacted you as an insurance company representative. While they may say they are concerned about your injuries and well-being, they are working on behalf of the person that caused your injury and the insurance company itself and this is unlikely to translate into actions that truly benefit you. It is crucial to understand their underlying intentions to avoid being misled.
Be sure to never seek advice on maximizing compensation or legal guidance from an insurance adjuster. Their primary role is to represent the interests of the insurance company, and their recommendations will always be beneficial to the insurance company and will almost certainly not align with your best interests. Therefore, it is advisable to refrain from seeking their advice.
Additionally, sharing key information regarding the accident prematurely or without proper guidance can potentially compromise your case. It is highly recommended that you, at the very least, consult with a personal injury attorney before speaking with or providing any information to the insurance adjuster.
Never Take the Blame – Be careful when communicating with an adjuster. Never admit your fault or say something that could place partial blame or liability on yourself for the incident. Even if you say something like “I didn’t see the other car until they hit me,” the insurance company could say that you were not keeping a proper lookout and your actions or inactions contributed to the accident. This is especially important in the state of Virginia where there is a strict contributory negligence rule that could bar you from any financial recovery should you be found even 1% the reason why the incident occurred. To ensure your rights are protected and that you get fully and fairly compensated for your injuries, it simply is best to hire legal representation. Once you have a personal injury lawyer on your side, they will handle all of the conversations with the insurance adjustor and ensure that nothing is said to jeopardize your case.
Exercise Caution in Providing Statements – Following an accident, an insurance adjuster may ask you to give them a formal statement regarding the incident, which is typically recorded. Know that you do not have to give any formal or recorded statement. A recorded statement provided to the insurance company will likely be used against you and harm your claim. Again, it is best to consult with an attorney first before you speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company about your injury claim.
Be Wary of Early Settlement – Suppose the other driver is clearly responsible for causing the accident. Many times, in that case, the insurance company will often try to offer you a quick, low settlement offer for your personal injury claim. While an offer to pay your medical bills with a little extra on top of that might seem comforting, the truth is that kind of offer ignores the law in Virginia and is solely for the benefit of the insurance company.
The insurance adjuster might be quick to offer you a settlement amount in exchange for giving up the case. Keep in mind that to get any money for your injuries from the insurance company, they will require you to sign a release which will then permanently end your case. Many times, the insurance company is making a settlement offer before both they and you even know the full extent of your injuries and needed treatment. The law in Virginia says a personal injury case is worth a combination of all the medical bills, any lost wages, pain and suffering and inconvenience for the entire time you must deal with your injuries, as well as other items of damage. An insurance company that offers you an early, quick settlement while you are still in pain is simply ignoring what the law says you are to be compensated for. This is absolutely proof that you cannot trust the insurance adjuster to make a fair offer to you at any point in the case. It is in your best interest not to entertain settling your personal injury claim until after you are done treating. What if you find that you will be permanently disabled or that you will require long-term treatment to fully recover? If you accept a low settlement amount initially, you will be stuck with paying any future bills for your medical treatment out of your own pocket. Insurance companies use this tactic as a way to protect their bottom line and limit their payout amount. To ensure that you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you deserve, it is essential to have an experienced lawyer negotiating on your behalf.
Exercise Caution in Releasing Medical Records
Following an accident, it is common for the insurance company to request access to your medical records to assess your injuries and determine appropriate compensation. To do this, they will ask you to sign a medical authorization allowing them to obtain all of your medical records. While this request may seem reasonable, it is crucial to approach it with caution. Insurance adjusters occasionally seek an extensive review of your entire medical history, possibly to uncover preexisting conditions that could be used against you to minimize what they pay you.
Provide General Information Only
If you decide to speak to an insurance adjuster without legal representation, do so with extreme caution. Be concise while giving out information about the accident and don’t provide any unnecessary details. Should you decide to have a personal injury attorney handle your claim, you will not need to speak with the insurance company at all as that becomes the job of your lawyer. If you are represented by a personal injury firm and an adjuster calls you, all you have to do is let them know you are being represented for your injury claim and refer them to your lawyer.
If you are seeking expert guidance and support for your personal injury claim, do not hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys at Huffman & Huffman, Brothers-in-Law today. From dealing with insurance adjusters to obtaining the compensation you deserve, our personal injury attorneys can help you achieve your goals through the proper legal procedure.
While handling your own personal injury claim is not impossible, it is better to at least consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before making that decision. Personal injury cases are rarely straightforward and the insurance company is always working on its own behalf and on behalf of their insured, who is the person that caused the injuries to you. There are many mistakes that can be made along the way, potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table and in the pockets of the insurance company.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. Our team is available 24/7 and ready to help provide you with the guidance and support needed while you focus on your recovery. Let our family help your family.
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