If you are injured in an accident involving another driver or party, the insurance company for the other party may contact you to discuss the claim. The company will assign an insurance adjuster to process the claim, but what is an insurance adjuster. What is an insurance adjuster going to do to help me with my claim?
UNDERSTANDING THE JOB OF AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER
Before you speak to an insurance adjuster for the party who caused your injury, it is very important that you understand a few key facts about insurance adjusters.
- The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company — the adjuster does NOT work for you;
- The adjuster’s job is to investigate the accident, identify liability, and gather evidence;
- Adjusters may interview witnesses, review police reports, and inspect property damage as part of his investigation of the accident;
- The adjuster assigned to your claim may request a written or recorded statement from you regarding the accident;
- Another common request made by insurance adjusters is a signed medical release;
- The adjuster prepares a report informing the insurance company of the details of the loss; and,
- Most adjusters negotiate with victims to settle the accident claim for the insurance company.
From the above list, it appears that the insurance adjuster is working to help you receive compensation for your injuries and losses. However, the very first item on the list should cause warning bells to ring very loudly for you:
“An insurance adjuster for the other party does NOT work for you!”
That is correct — an insurance adjuster does NOT work for you. He works for the insurance company. Therefore, it is an adjuster’s job to protect the best interest of the company, which is usually in direct contrast to your best interest. The best interest of the company is to pay as little as possible, or nothing, for your claim. Your best interest is to receive full value for your claim.
PROTECTING THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S BEST INTEREST
To protect the insurance company, an adjuster may use several tactics that most people do not realize is not in their best interest. For example, if an adjuster requests a written or recorded statement, he might tell the person that the statement is needed to begin the claim process. However, you are not required to submit a recorded or written statement.
The adjuster wants the statement to obtain information he might be able to use to deny or undervalue your claim. Anything you say that is recorded or written could be used against you later in your claim. For instance, if you admit you were running late to pick up your child from school, a defense attorney might try to convince a jury you were speeding at the time of the crash.
Another similar tactic is requesting a signed medical release to verify your injuries. The adjuster may not explain he includes ALL medical records in the release. By not limiting the release, the adjuster can use the release to view your entire medical history. If he finds a previous injury, condition, or accident, he might try to argue your injury was actually a result of a prior event.
Bottom line — The adjuster is not working for you. You need someone to represent your best interest who is working to recover full compensation for your claim.
SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
We encourage you to consult with our accident attorney before you speak with the insurance adjuster, but especially before you sign anything or provide any statements. You need a legal team on your side who will not allow the insurance company to take advantage of you. An attorney working on your behalf will:
- Deal with the insurance adjuster, insurance company, and defense attorneys;
- Investigate the accident to identify who caused the accident;
- Gather and preserve key evidence that proves fault;
- Work with your physicians to monitor medical treatment and medical improvement;
- Calculating the value of your claim based on all damages;
- Negotiate a fair settlement and propose counter offers, if necessary;
- Prepare and file all necessary paperwork and documents; and,
- File a personal injury lawsuit if the other party is being unreasonable or acting in bad faith.
Our Texas personal injury attorneys want to help you seek justice from the negligent and reckless party who caused the accident.