An insurance adjuster works for an insurance company. No matter how nice, helpful, or even trustworthy the adjuster may seem, the job of an insurance adjuster is to settle an accident claim for as little as possible. An insurance adjuster, therefore, is loyal to the insurance company. The adjuster will act in the best interest of the insurance company regardless of whether it is fair to you. It is important to be alert of the various tactics that may be used to achieve this goal.
Be Careful Of What You Say
An adjuster will often use the “nice guy” act to acquire information from you that will help the adjuster settle the claim for a small amount. The insurance adjuster may use the following techniques to gather information:
- Keep a record of what you said: An adjuster will make a written record of everything you say about the accident, how you feel, and whether you received medical treatment.
- Request a recorded statement: An injury victim does not have to make a recorded statement, but some insurance companies may request one as a condition of settling a claim.
- Request access to past records: An adjuster may ask you to sign a release that will allow the insurance company access to past records. An insurance company might try to use these records against you even if they are not relevant to the case.
Don’t Settle Before the Full Extent of Your Injuries Becomes Known
Another tactic used by insurance adjusters is to rush into settlement. While it may seem appealing to settle quickly, the injuries sustained may be latent and may require long-term treatment not accounted for in the settlement. When a person agrees to a settlement early on before the full extent of the injuries are known, the injured person is responsible for paying for the medical treatment, even if the settlement is inadequate.
Don’t Let the Insurance Company’s Delay Make You Desperate
Insurance adjusters will not stop at just using your own statements and history to diminish the worth of your case. Sometimes adjusters use delay tactics. This is effective because a delay in a settlement means that the insurance company benefits by keeping the money longer. Insurance companies also use this tactic because it creates desperation, and therefore, it may force you to settle for less than a fair amount.
Talk to an Attorney First
Before speaking with an insurance adjuster, it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney. An attorney can give you crucial information about the value of your case, about what to say to the insurance adjuster, and about what is a fair settlement.