How to Deal with Insurance Adjusters After an Accident
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on May 10, 2017 in Car Accidents News
The days following a car accident can be hectic, dealing with doctor’s appointments, medical bills, a damaged vehicle and filing a claim with your insurance company.
Unfortunately, while trying to make sense of everything, many people will look to an insurance adjuster for help with their claim. This, however, is not in your best interest.
Although it may appear that an insurance adjuster is on your side and working to help you, his or her goal is to reduce the amount of money the insurance company pays for your claim. The adjuster’s only focus is on representing the best interests of the insurance company. They are not interested in helping you.
When dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident in New Jersey, our car accident lawyers in New Jersey recommend that you follow these tips to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.
Report the Accident Right Away
Always report your accident to insurers as soon as possible. Waiting too long could cause you to miss the time limits within your policy for reporting an accident. This could serve as the perfect opportunity for an insurance adjuster to say he or she cannot process your claim.
However, if you file a claim immediately, the adjuster has no reason not to begin working on your claim.
Furthermore, the sooner you file a claim, the sooner you will be able to obtain the compensation you need.
Be Polite and Honest Throughout the Process
Emotions can run high after a car accident. However, you should remain calm and polite when dealing with an insurance adjuster.
You are required to cooperate with your insurance adjuster and provide him or her with the information he or she needs to investigate and evaluate your claim.
Because of this, you should always be as honest has possible when recounting the details of the accident or providing information about your injuries.
However, you should be very careful about what you say. You should never lie or exaggerate anything, as this could lead the adjuster to question the validity of your statements and your claim as a whole.
You should also never admit fault or guilt by saying you are sorry or did not mean for the accident to happen. These statements will make the insurer think you caused the accident, which will give it grounds to deny your claim.
Although it is important to provide the adjuster with information about the accident, you should not provide more information than he or she needs. The more unnecessary information you provide, the more opportunity the adjuster has to use that information against you.
Do Not Provide a Recorded Statement
The insurance adjuster may ask you to provide a recorded or written statement, which will serve as your official statement on the accident. You will be bound by what you say in your statement, so it is important that it is accurate.
We would not recommend providing a statement unless you have received guidance from an attorney about what you should and should not say.
Even though you may not be at fault for the accident, your words can be used against you. What you say on record could be taken out of context and used to imply your fault in the accident.
You should take time to create a prepared statement that is detailed and carefully crafted so that insurance adjusters cannot use it against you.
Our lawyers can create your statement for you or advise you on what should be included.
Consult an Attorney Before Signing Documents
At some point, the adjuster may ask you to sign a variety of documents. However, you should never sign anything unless you have read it thoroughly and reviewed it with an attorney. You could unknowingly be signing away your right to full compensation.
Some common documents you may be asked to sign include:
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), your medical records and information are private, protected and only available to a limited number of people.
HIPPA protects your records from the unauthorized release of medical information. However, if you sign a medical release, your records are no longer private and the insurance adjuster will have access to your information.
Although most insurers will require you to sign a release when you file a claim, you should make sure the release only covers your current injuries associated with your accident. You do not want to provide access to your entire medical history.
A claim release relieves the insured person from further liability. This means you have accepted the settlement offer and have no rights to pursue them further.
Before signing this document, make sure all of your expenses are covered. It is generally best to have an attorney review the document before signing it.
Make Sure a Settlement Covers All of Your Expenses
Costs can add up quickly following an accident injury. It can be tempting to take the first settlement the insurer offers you. However, that settlement may not cover the total damages you have experienced or those you have yet to incur.
Adjusters offer low-ball settlements hoping you will accept them and give up your rights to pursue a claim further.
Before accepting any settlement, you should make sure that you know the full extent of your injuries, that your treatment and medical care is complete, and that all of the costs associated with your injury are fully covered.
You should also have an attorney review the offer. Your attorney will work to ensure you are treated fairly and that your costs are fully covered.
If you are having trouble dealing with an insurance adjuster or believe your claim is worth more than you were offered, the New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lynch Law Firm can help.
We can handle the details of your case for you and will work directly with the adjuster on your behalf to ensure your bests interests are represented.
For more information, schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We do not charge any fees unless we recover compensation for you.
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Lynch Law Firm
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604