What To Know Before Speaking
With an Insurance Adjuster
Kentucky auto accidents injure thousands of people every year. In just the first two months of 2022, the state recorded nearly 18,800 collisions injuring more than 2,600 people. Perhaps you were one of them.
You might have been contacted by the claims adjuster working for the at-fault driver’s insurance company before you even returned home from the emergency room. The adjuster will be friendly, act concerned about you, and tell you they want to help. Don’t be fooled. Instead, be wary and wise.
At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we help accident victims understand what they should and should not say to seemingly helpful insurance adjusters. If you want to protect your personal injury claim, here is what you should know.
What Does the Insurance Adjuster Do?
The insurance adjuster’s role is pivotal to processing your bodily injury liability claim against their insureds. Adjusters investigate the circumstances of the car accident, evaluate the value of the damages asserted by those injured in the crash, and make settlement offers based on their opinion regarding the information they gather.
Adjusters first make sure your claim is covered by the insurance policy. If there is a way to deny your claim based on coverage limitations, they will do so. They also make sure the claim is legitimate by interviewing you and any witnesses, asking you to authorize them to review copies of your medical records, and reviewing crash reports filed by law enforcement.
If they confirm coverage, adjusters use insurance industry standards to attach a dollar value to your claim, and those standards favor insurance companies, not injury victims. They also are the people who extend and negotiate settlement offers.
If this sounds like you will be forced to communicate with the insurance adjuster frequently, you are correct. You should know that once you retain the services of a personal injury attorney, the adjuster is no longer allowed to talk to you directly. All communication must go through your lawyer, which gives you time to focus on recovery from your injuries without the stress of negotiations.
What Do I Do When the
Adjuster Requests a Statement?
If you haven’t already given a statement, refuse the adjuster’s request. Although the insurance company is entitled to certain information and must have certain information in order to negotiate a settlement, you should not provide any without the guidance of your personal injury lawyer.
The phrase “what you say can and will be held against you” does not just apply to being arrested for a crime. Insurance adjusters will hold anything you say against you if it will reduce the value of your claim, either based on reducing their insured’s percentage of fault or downplaying the seriousness of your injuries and other damages. They will ask you questions in a way that makes your answers appear contradictory which, in turn, makes you appear to be dishonest. What you say will provide them with reasons to reduce the amount of compensation you should receive.
What If I Agree to Give a Statement?
Again, you should not provide a statement without your attorney present to guide you. However, if you do agree, there are six things you should know:
Do not provide permission for the insurance adjuster to record the interview. Without a recording of the interview, the adjuster’s notes are the only evidence of anything the adjuster alleges you said.
Never admit that you bear any guilt for the cause of the car crash. Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state when it comes to auto accidents. That means that any percentage of fault assigned to you for a crash will reduce the amount you receive in the settlement of your claim. For example, if a jury decides you are 20% at fault for the crash, and your damages are worth $100,000, you would receive only $80,000.
Don’t respond to questions you don’t know the answer to. There is no need to have an answer for every question asked. “I have no response to that question” or “I don’t know” are the best responses when you aren’t sure of the answer. Coming up with a response for the sake of it is never wise.
Don’t volunteer information the adjuster doesn’t ask for. The adjuster may try to capitalize on long awkward silences during the interview. Do not let them. Just remain quiet. Also, when you answer a question, respond with only what the adjuster asked for. Elaborating usually leads to you saying something the adjuster will use against you later. It is the adjuster’s job to ask questions in a way that obtains the answers they want.
Keep your answers as brief as possible. Answer questions with a “yes,” “no,” “I don’t know,” “I don’t remember,” and other brief responses. Again, do not elaborate.
Do not sign anything until you have had your personal injury attorney review it. You should have your lawyer review any document the adjuster asks you to sign. Your signature on certain documents may harm or even negate your personal injury claim.
What Information Will the
Adjuster Ask Me to Provide?
The insurance adjuster will ask you for information such as your full name, address, phone number, the name of your employer, and who your insurance company is.
The adjuster will also ask you to provide information about your injuries and medical bills. Your responses to such questions should be brief and vague. The injuries you are aware of on the day of the crash may not be all the injuries you suffer as a result. Only through ongoing treatment will you have any idea about the damages the crash has caused and the cost of your medical care. Don’t give the adjuster a reason to allege you added injuries later.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
If you feel somewhat apprehensive about talking to an insurance adjuster after reading this, you should. There are numerous methods adjusters employ to build a record they can later use against you. The best move you can make is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you.
At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we know how insurance adjusters work and how to protect our clients against those tactics. We help you control the narrative.
If you have been injured by a negligent driver, get the jump on the adjuster. Call our office now so we can provide that layer of protection that might make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your claim.
Caleb Bland Law, PLLC serves clients in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, as well as Shepherdsville, Radcliff, Louisville, Leitchfield, Brandenburg, Bardstown, Hodgenville, and the counties of Hardin, Grayson, Meade, Breckinridge, LaRue, Nelson, Hart, Jefferson, and Bullitt.