After you have been in an accident, dealing with an insurance company can be emotionally daunting. Knowing how to scare insurance adjusters to make sure you get a fair claim settlement offer is crucial in the event of a car accident.
It is important to remember that insurance companies are still trying to make a profit. They are for-profit entities, and the more money they have to pay out, the less money they will make. They try to do everything to save money and settle claims quickly.
Our car accident attorneys have years of experience providing legal advice for these cases, so we understand an adjuster’s tactics and the insurance claim process.
The best way to scare insurance carriers or adjusters is to have an attorney by your side to fight for you. You should not settle for less.
Understanding What Insurance Adjusters Do
After an accident, insurance adjusters will inspect and evaluate your damage. Remember that insurance companies are not working in your best interests.
They will look at the damage to see how they can minimize their costs. They are trying to offer the lowest payout they possibly can.
When you first speak with the insurance claims adjuster, you may be surprised at how they will try to hold the accident against you or even accuse you of insurance fraud. These are some common tactics used to evaluate the full extent of your injuries (and still turn a profit):
Requesting Your Medical Records
You do not have to give insurance adjusters access to your medical records. Medical treatment release forms frequently provide them with access to past and current medical records. These records include those that have nothing to do with your personal injury claim.
If you give them this access, they may try to blame your current injury on a completely unrelated pre existing condition or injury.
Working With Doctors
Insurance agents will sometimes interview your doctor with close-ended questions. Your doctor must talk about your condition in detail. This will help to avoid unintentionally downplaying your injuries. Insurance companies may also conduct an independent medical examination.
This will be with a doctor of their choice. If your insurance company requests this, talk with your personal injury attorney first.
Early on in your personal injury case, insurance adjusters will ask close-ended questions. These questions are designed not to allow you to elaborate and to help them say your story is flawed. This can lower your insurance claim.
In many instances, an adjuster will use delay tactics such as not answering your calls. They do this to try to get you to give up. They also may try to claim you took too long. This is to try to scare you into thinking you are outside the statute of limitations window.
The statute of limitations in Florida for auto accidents is four years. If they are delaying contact, the best way to fight back is to hire an attorney.
What To Look Out For Over the Phone
You should always be careful when the insurance company calls you immediately following the accident. Accidents are traumatic and take some time to process and recover from. Most insurance adjusters take advantage of this by contacting you not long after the accident.
In a phone call, be sure to politely refuse to discuss the facts. You can share the basics, such as where and when the accident took place and the vehicles involved.
But you should let them know that the investigation is still underway. Do not share anything too specific or conversational.
When they call, insurance company claims adjusters might ask you to give a recorded statement. While you may think this is harmless and for informational purposes, remember that adjusters can hold everything against you.
It is not unusual for the agents to replay the recorded statements until they will find more information to use against you. Do not agree to any recorded statements.
What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster
Remember that the insurance claim adjuster works for the insurance company of the at-fault party. They will do everything they can to reduce the settlement amount you will be paid after your accident. One way they do this is by trying to get you to admit some liability.
Do not answer any questions asking if there was anything you could have done to avoid the accident. They may try to ask if there was anything else you could have done. They may also cite external factors like the weather.
The best way to combat this is to direct an insurance adjuster to your attorney. This way, they can not hold anything you say against you.
Being Careful of What You Post on Social Media
Insurance adjusters may also be monitoring any public social media accounts you have. Even if the photo is an old favorite, refrain from posting anything online.
Be careful with anything you post to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram after an accident that could make it look like you are not injured.
Insurance adjusters may even monitor you from in front of your home. Sometimes they will hire a private investigator. Remember to take it easy as you recover.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. Even if it is a simple task like getting the mail, they could use that to say your injuries are not severe.
How to Deal with Insurance Adjusters
Don’t admit fault.
Florida’s no-fault laws require that each involved driver’s insurance company pays for injury costs through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage up to $10,000.
If your medical bills are more than this, you’ll need to seek compensation from the other party’s insurance, and admitting fault could prevent you from getting additional settlement money.
Don’t say more than necessary.
Answer all the adjuster’s questions simply, truthfully, and factually. Don’t speculate, guess, offer opinion, or exaggerate any information as this can lead to false or embellished claims.
Don’t get too friendly.
While the adjusters may seem sympathetic, remember that their job is to protect their company’s bottom line. Getting too familiar with the adjuster could lead you to saying something potentially harmful to your claim settlement.
Keep records of communication.
Keep a log of when you have phone calls with the insurance company and with whom you spoke. If there’s any challenges to your claim information you can refer back to your records to review the discussions.
Read the medical record release before signing.
Insurance companies may request you release your medical records. In some cases, this may grant access to your entire medical history, meaning they can find old injuries and try to relate new injuries to old injuries. Ask a personal injury attorney in Orlando, FL like myself before signing a release.
Let an attorney read your settlement offer before signing the agreement.
Signing a settlement agreement is usually the end of your ability to seek compensation. By signing, you waive your right to bring up any future legal action. This means you won’t be able to seek compensation for any unexpected future expenses from your accident.
Don’t be forced into giving a recorded statement.
When dealing with insurance adjusters, you have the right to talk to an attorney first before giving the insurance company anything.
Adjusters may tell you that you can’t file your insurance claim until you give an official statement, but you can always tell them that you want to get an attorney first before going “on the record.”
Choose your own doctor.
Insurance companies will try to tell you that you have to see an insurance-approved doctor. In most cases you can see your own doctor, but if they demand you see their doctors, talk to your attorney first for advice on why this is happening and if you have other options.
Watch out for surveillance.
As soon as a claim is filed, the insurance company will be looking for evidence that your accident was staged or your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim. Beware anyone you don’t know who suddenly tries to interact with you on social networking sites and think before you post.
Don’t say/show anything related to your accident or injuries that may misrepresent the seriousness of your claim.
Let your attorney handle the case.
Attorneys like myself can help deal with the insurance adjusters. Let us remove some of the burden from your shoulders and protect you from unfair settlements
How to Negotiate with Insurance Adjusters
When it comes to the negotiation process, you need to know a few crucial factors before you begin. First, you should determine if you are dealing with first-party benefits or third-party benefits.
First-party benefits are through your auto insurance. Third-party benefits come from the insurance company that insures the person who hit you.
It can also be helpful to know the value of your vehicle. Claims adjusters will determine how much it will cost to repair your car. But knowing the actual value of your car can help you when you negotiate for a more fair claim.
An insurance company’s first offer will most likely be extremely low. Do not accept this initial offer. When negotiating, you should keep these factors in mind:
- The true value of your automobile
- A fair settlement for damages to your automobile or other property damage to
- Medical bills, both immediately following the accident and for potential long-term medical expenses,
- Pain and suffering caused by the accident
- Lost wages or income due to missing work due to your injuries
You should use these factors to determine the absolute bare minimum that you would accept in a settlement agreement. Our team of personal injury attorneys can help you determine what your minimum settlement should be.
Get The Compensation You Deserve
Your personal injury settlement can include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and your pain and suffering.
It is critical for accident victims to have proper representation. When you partner with our personal injury attorney, we will make sure insurance adjusters give you everything you are entitled to.
Contact our law firm to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer and get legal advice. We offer free consultations where we can review your case.
We want to help you determine if we are the best fit to fight for you. Our team represents clients in the Hillsborough County area.
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