Why Your Lawyer Should Speak
With The Insurance Adjusters
Feb. 21, 2022
When you get in an auto accident and suffer personal injuries and damages to your vehicle, your insurance company and/or the other party’s insurer is going to have one of their representatives— generally known as claims adjusters—contact you about the details of the accident and then offer a settlement.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so your first call to an insurer is going to be to your own, as your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy is your first resource for medical expenses and lost wages from missing work. If your injuries are serious or costly enough, then a claim may also be made against the other driver’s policy.
How you respond to the claims adjuster’s questions and inquiries will go a long way toward determining the settlement you’re offered—and almost invariably, the first settlement offer is going to be a low-ball offer. They hope you’ll just give in and accept what they offer, even if it’s far less than what you truly need and deserve.
If you live in Central Florida, including Altamonte Springs, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Volusia, Polk County, or anywhere in Lake County, and have been involved in an auto accident, contact me at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. I have been handling insurance claims and claims adjusters for nearly three decades now, and I know how to stand up to the tactics used to low ball your claim. Let me deal with the adjusters.
The Claims Adjuster’s Role
A claims adjuster—who may not actually use that title when conversing with you—is a professional who has been trained to protect the parent insurance company’s bottom line. Claims adjusters have tactics they employ to get you to admit some form of fault, or to contradict yourself so they can assert you’re not as injured as you claim.
They also typically gauge their settlement based on a percentage of what you might win in a personal injury lawsuit. In short, their settlement offers are designed to be on the low side. Insurance companies, after all, are in the business to make money.
The Adjuster’s Request for a Statement
The first thing a claims adjuster is going to do is ask you to make a statement about the accident. Other than providing the basic details—where and when it happened—you can simply say that the accident is still under investigation and you don’t have all the details. If you give a full statement, you’re likely to say something that they can later use against you and your claim.
If you decline to give a full statement, the adjuster will then begin asking a series of questions to get at the details you left out and attempt to get you to contradict yourself. Again, every tactic is designed to give them the ammunition needed to low ball your settlement offer.
The adjuster will also likely ask you for permission to record the conversation. Do not agree to this. Once they have a voice record of everything you say, they can tear it apart to find statements or assertions they can use to your detriment.
Tips When Dealing with an Adjuster
It is highly advised that you let an experienced auto accident attorney handle the claims adjuster. If you do choose to speak with an adjuster, there are certain tips to observe.
First, be brief and don’t volunteer any information. Don’t ever say anything that could be construed as an admission of fault, even partial fault. Don’t get too friendly with the adjuster.
Adjusters have been known to begin the conversation in a friendly fashion by asking, “How are you doing today?” If you answer “fine” or “good,” they can use that to show you’re not as injured as you claim to be.
In addition, be wary of an adjuster’s request for you to sign a medical release form. Typically, these forms are overly broad, giving them access to your full medical history. They can use the release you give them to probe your history for any pre-existing conditions, which they can then claim are the cause of your injuries, not the accident you were in. If they send you anything to sign, make sure an attorney reviews it.
This holds true for any settlement offers as well. They likely will try to slip a low ball offer by you in hopes you sign it and take them off the hook. Remember, injuries have a way of resurfacing or worsening. If you sign off on a settlement too early, or without considering what may happen down the road, you may be out of luck. A settlement is final. You can’t go back and ask for more if your injuries reappear or worsen.
Hiring a Knowledgeable Attorney
It’s never advisable to deal with claims adjusters on your own. Most people have no experience in going through the verbal wringer the adjusters are going to put you through, and you might say something that the insurer can use to reduce your settlement. Let an experienced auto accident lawyer and personal injury attorney handle the negotiations for you.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in or around Altamonte Springs, or any community in Central Florida, contact me immediately at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. I will handle the adjusters and fight for the best possible settlement.