IF YOU HAVE BEEN HURT Never Talk to an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident Before You Talk to an Attorney
May 26th, 2016 by Attorney Julie Butcher
An adjuster is the insurance company representative who investigates claims made after an accident, whether it is an auto accident or any other type of negligence claim. His or her job is to resolve any possible exposure the company has as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Personally they may be wonderful people, but they work for the insurance company, not you. This is true whether they are employed by the company that insures your family or whether they’re from the other driver’s insurer. And, because it is their job, they have much more knowledge and experience than you ever will. You need to remember that, because you should not communicate with an adjuster after an injury accident before you speak to an attorney, who is your personal representative, acting in your best interests.
Claims adjusters play many roles:
- Investigating, evaluating and settling insurance claims
- Determining whether the claim is fraudulent
- Contacting your doctor or employer to get additional information if the claim is considered questionable
- Conferring with the insurance company’s legal counsel as needed
- Deciding whether your policy covers your claim
- Calculating the amount he or she thinks the insurance company should pay you
- Negotiating settlements
- Authorizing payments.
An adjuster will want to interview you, inspect your vehicle and gather evidence. He or she may talk to witnesses and do additional research, including reviewing police reports. If there are several vehicles involved, and/or several parties who may share the liability, there are likely to be a number of adjusters actively handling the claim. An insurance examiner will look at the information and decide if your policy covers the damages. They may even make an offer to settle your injury claim– and it is likely to be a lowball offer. If you accept an offer before you have talked to an attorney or before you know the full extent of your injuries, you can never go back and get more!
An adjuster may have a very heavy caseload and try to get your claim settled quickly so he can move on. You may know the details of your claim better than the adjuster. Insurance policies can be confusing, however. You may think you can rely on the adjuster’s interpretation and explanation of those details — or on your own understanding of it. Remember that it’s the adjuster’s job to help the insurance company, not you. It’s in your interest to gather all the information you can about the accident, including photos or videos, to get all the facts of the situation and present them to an attorney, not an adjuster.
And, even more importantly, you should be checked out thoroughly by your doctor to make sure you haven’t been harmed worse than you think right now!
After the accident an adjuster — or several — will contact you, want to ask you some questions and may want you to sign a statement. If you have personal injuries, we recommend that you do not speak with them until seeing your doctor and talking to an attorney. You have no obligation to give them what they want, when they want it. Tell the adjuster(s) you do not feel comfortable speaking with them until you’ve seen your doctor and talked to an attorney. If you do say something to the adjuster, write a statement for the insurance company or sign its forms without fully understanding the forms or the law, you may severely limit or put an end to your injury claim without realizing it.
When we meet with potential injury clients, these are some of the things we will talk about:
- Your rights and obligations and the insurance company’s rights and obligations under Kentucky insurance law and your policy
- Negligence law and how it may apply to your case
- The facts of your case including who may be at fault, the degree of your injury and your economic losses
- The steps we will take to obtain fair and just compensation for you.
Car and truck accidents are unnerving. You may be dealing with injuries and property damage. You certainly don’t need to be dealing with insurance adjusters. If we end up representing you, we will be the ones dealing with the insurance company, handling the paperwork and the negotiations and helping you obtain proper medical treatment so you can focus on recovery and living your life. If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident in Kentucky, call the Julie Butcher Law Office at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form to talk about your case and your legal options.