Davis Law Group has represented thousands of accident victims over the years. With that experience comes an expert understanding of how the insurance industry deals with victims.
(Hint: it’s not very fair)
Most insurance adjusters are highly trained adversaries, although most people would never think this, at least not in the beginning of the claims process. Like many others in your position, you are likely unaware of how sophisticated, yet simple, the methods the adjuster will utilize to help minimize the value of your claim.
Follow these nine simple hacks to make sure you do not jeopardize your personal injury claim during a phone interview with the insurance adjuster:
1. Remember: the adjuster is not on your side
The larger your personal injury claim the more likely it is the adjuster will be friendly. On the flip side, if you claim is relatively small, they may be rude or abrupt.
Despite how friendly the adjuster sounds on the phone, it’s important to know that this person isn’t on your side. There is a reason the adjuster will try and discourage you from hiring an attorney.
If you have been in a car accident you will be interviewed by both an adjuster from your own insurance company and by an adjuster from the other party’s insurance company. Both adjusters are trying to minimize the amount of money that their company will pay.
2. Write down basic facts about the insurance company
Write down the name, address, and phone number of the insurance adjuster and insurance company.
3. Provide your full name, address and telephone number
Make sure the insurance adjuster has all the correct information for you. This will help you stay in the loop.
4. Take notes of the conversation
Having a record of the conversation can be helpful down the line, and if you hire a personal injury attorney, they may want to see these notes.
5. Beware what you say
It’s not a good idea to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster after an accident. But if you absolutely must do so…
- Be extremely careful what you say
- Don’t let the adjuster put words in your mouth
- Contest loaded questions
- Don’t agree with everything the adjuster says
6. Ask the adjuster if they are aware of any witnesses
It’s OK to ask questions to the adjuster. This isn’t a one-sided affair.
7. Watch for negative comments
Again, the adjuster’s main goal is to pay you as little money as possible.
Adjusters achieve this by making small, off-hand remarks about the value of your claim. These comments are usually implied, but tallied up can massively decrease the claim.
8. Be very general when you describe your injuries
Tell the adjuster you will provide a complete, detailed, medical description of your injuries after you and your doctors have done a full assessment.
9. Navigate settlement traps
Many adjusters are taught to settle claims before a victim even gets a clear diagnosis of their injuries. By settling early, the insurance company has shifted all the future medical bills onto you.
Adjusters know that mounting medical bills are stressful. But insurance carriers do not pay medical bills as they are ongoing. The adjuster may entice you to settle quick to help you pay those bills.
8 Things Not To Do When Speaking with the Adjuster
If you want to receive the money you deserve for your injuries and property damage, you should avoid the following things when speaking to an insurance adjuster:
1. Do not agree to an audio recording of the conversation
What you say may be taken out of context. You have no obligation to make a recorded statement at this time.
2. Only provide basic facts about the accident
Adjusters will engage you in an informal conversation in an effort to relax you and get as many details about the accident as possible. Do not discuss anything but the basic facts of the accident:
- Where the accident occurred;
- Date and time of the accident;
- Type of accident: motor vehicle, slip and fall, etc.
3. Don’t discuss details about your work
You do not need to provide details about your work, such as income, schedule, or details of what you do at your job.
4. Don’t answer family questions
You are under no obligation to give any information about your family.
5. You are not obligated at this point to identify witnesses
This information is not necessary at this time.
6. You are not obligated to give the adjuster the name of your doctor
The adjuster will look to get any information they can. Don't fall into their trap.
7. Do not agree to anything
The process is ongoing. Let it play out.
8. Do not sign anything
Consult with a personal injury attorney before signing anything from the insurance company.
8 Tough Questions for the Insurance Adjuster
Over the years, our office has compiled a list of questions that insurance adjusters don’t want to hear.
What you’ll read below will often make the adjuster squirm. No, they don’t like it when you ask these questions because they either cannot answer the question, or worse, the answer is one they do not like to hear.
Question 1: Isn’t it true that if I use an attorney I’m likely to recover more money in settlement than if I try to settle the claim on my own?
ANSWER: The insurance adjuster will most likely lie to you and say “no.” But a study by the Insurance Research Council (a nonprofit group funded by major insurance companies across the nation) found that victims with an attorney get 3.5 times more in settlement money than those without an attorney.
Question 2: How can the insurance company verify that the settlement amount being offered to me is fair and reasonable?
ANSWER: They can’t and won’t. Unless you are in the business of negotiating and settling injury claims there is little chance you will know whether the settlement amount that is being offered is fair.
Question 3: Why do I have to give you a recorded statement when you can get information about the accident from the police report?
ANSWER: Because the insurance company will try to use your own statements against you. If you reveal any information, it will impact how much money comes your way via settlement.
Question 4: If I give you a recorded statement, can I then get a recorded statement from your own insured, i.e., the other driver?
ANSWER: This will never happen, but that doesn’t make it right. If you have to give a statement about the accident, then why can’t you also get a statement from the other driver? The insurance adjuster will never allow this for the same reasons you should never give a recorded statement to the insurance company.
Question 5: Why do I have to give you an unrestricted medical authorization before I can settle the claim?
ANSWER: So the adjustor can go fishing into your past medical history and find anything about your prior health which will help the company either deny your claim or pay out as little as possible.
Question 6: Shouldn’t I wait to settle the claim until my medical treatment concludes, or until I’m sure that I have made a full recovery?
ANSWER: The insurance company knows that the quicker you settle the claim the less money it will have to pay out. Most insurance companies have in place written directives to its claims department to settle every claim as quickly as possible so the accident victim can’t re- open the case later if the person’s condition gets worse.
Question 7: Why hasn’t anyone told me about Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage?
ANSWER: Many insurance companies obviously don’t want you to know about this coverage because it may mean that you are entitled to more compensation
Question 8: If you are claiming that my medical treatment is excessive or unreasonable, will you pay my doctor to write a detailed report explaining why my treatment has been appropriate and related to the accident?
ANSWER: The insurance adjuster will always refuse this request. Although the adjuster has absolutely no medical training, nothing stops him or her from arguing that your treatment was excessive or unreasonable.