You probably have a lot to deal with after suffering injuries in a Los Angeles motor vehicle accident that someone else caused, and you might need some time to deal with what happened and recover physically as well as emotionally. However, the insurance company of the party who hit you is already thinking about damage control. After an accident, an insurance company will likely call you for a statement. Here is what you need to know when dealing with someone’s insurance provider.
You do not need to give a statement immediately. If you already have legal counsel, you can direct an insurance representative to your attorney. At some point, you or your lawyer will issue a demand letter that describes who was responsible for the accident and the extent of your injuries. Until then, it is in your best interest to be polite but brief with insurance agents.
Remember, No Comment
An insurance adjuster’s job involves getting as much information as possible from you. You might not immediately recognize more subtle attempts at gathering info because you may find yourself involved in a pleasant conversation with an adjuster. Even if a representative from another insurance company is being friendly, refrain from giving them information about a wreck.
Be On Your Best Behavior
You might be shocked when you remember that an insurance adjuster is also human and actually a nice person, and the adjuster could feel the same way about you. Adjusters frequently deal with abuse and anger, and taking your frustration out on them will not do any good. Treating an adjuster kindly, without revealing anything, benefits you as having this person on your side is better than making an enemy.
The First Call
Establish boundaries early by informing the adjuster that you only intend to have a quick phone discussion. If pushed for a statement or specific details, say that you are not ready to disclose anything. You can also ask your adjuster to communicate in writing instead of over the phone. For the first call and any others, make sure to take notes.
What To Say
Keeping things to yourself is smart when speaking with people from other insurance companies, but you do need to share basic information like your address and contact information. Similarly, you can provide other general details like:
- The type of accident
- When and where it happened
- The vehicles involved
- Contact information for your attorney
Just as an insurance company needs your contact information, you should ask for an adjuster’s name and the name, address and telephone number of company the person represents.
What Not To Say
There are more topics to avoid than topics to engage in when talking with insurance adjusters. Do not speculate about the accident or give your opinion as the insurance company could try to turn this into a fact later. If you are unsure about how much to say, consult an attorney. Topics to avoid include:
- Your income
- Personal information
- Your job or work schedule
- Family members
- Contact information for witnesses
- What caused an accident
- Your actions before and during the accident
You do not want to volunteer information, but you should not lie. If you are asked about witnesses, you could say that there might be witnesses without revealing their names. You can also ask questions to see if the adjuster knows of any witnesses or other responsible parties.
Do Not Be Hasty
The extent of your injuries is not always known immediately. Insurance adjusters often offer small settlements because they know people are worried about the cost of an accident and will be tempted to settle quickly before the true amount of damages is known. Adjusters might try to settle after one or two phone conversations, but this may not be the best course of action for you.
A car accident is only one type of personal injury claim that may involve an insurance adjuster. When you have reason to write a demand letter or file a suit in civil court, a Los Angeles car accident attorney from the El Dabe Law Firm could be able to assist you.