If you’ve read attorney Chris Davis’s book, “The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Washington Accident Case,” then you’re likely aware that car accident victims immediately enter into a war zone with insurance adjusters after being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
As Mr. Davis covers in the book, insurance companies are in the business to make money and one way for them to ensure profitability is to do everything they can to avoid fairly compensating their own policyholders and the people who are injured in accidents with their customers.
Liability Insurance Company vs. Your Own Insurance Company
If you’ve been in a car accident and suffered any form of financial loss – whether it be personal injury to yourself or property damage to your vehicle – it’s only a matter of time before you begin to experience to persistence of the insurance companies. Typically, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to handle your case and his or her job is to essentially try very hard to decrease or eliminate the overall value of your claim.
There are a number of strategies that insurance adjusters can employ in order to reduce the overall value of your accident case. One of the most common tricks – and typically the first one that the adjuster will try – is to get a recorded statement about details of the accident from the accident victim.
With this approach, what an adjuster is generally hoping to accomplish is to get the claimant to downplay the severity of the accident. The adjuster might ask open-ended questions designed to get the victim to make damaging statements that will be used against them in the future and reduce the chances for fair financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and even pain and suffering.
In many cases accident victims who pursue a claim will be dealing with two different insurance companies – their own insurer and the company who insures the at-fault driver, called the liability insurance company. If you rely on the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of your own insurance policy to pay for your medical bills, you will be required to give a statement to your own insurer if they ask you for one. You would be best served by carefully answering these questions in order to avoid making claims that could damage your case down the road.
How To Handle Phone Calls From Insurance Adjusters
Most people are probably unaware that they are not required to give a recorded statement to the insurance company representing another driver. The adjuster may say things like, “In order to get your claim processed, we need to get a recorded statement from you about the accident,” to get the claimant to think that they are required to give a statement.
The only time that a person would ever be legally required to give a recorded statement to an insurance company other than their own is if the company obtained a court order.
When it comes to giving recorded statements to the insurance company in general, the bottom line is to ask yourself, “Will giving a recorded statement do anything to help my case?”
The answer is no. The insurance company only wants a recorded statement from you so that they can use it against you and contradict claims you make during negotiations or at trial. If the adjuster insists that your case cannot proceed without a recorded statement – or if you begin to feel like you are being harassed or pressured by the insurance company at all – it may be time to consult with an attorney. The more pressure that the insurance company puts on you during this process, the more likely they are going to fight you throughout the duration of the case. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney means you no longer have to deal with the insurance company and can spend your time recovering from your injuries.
For a more detailed outline of how to deal with insurance adjusters read “The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Washington Accident Case.”