An Insurance Adjuster Calls After Your Scranton Car Accident. What Should You Do?
How to Interact with Insurance Adjusters After a Car Accident
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, your main focus should be on caring for and recuperating from injuries and the trauma that has been endured. Insurance adjusters often prey upon victims’ vulnerability by trying to negotiate early settlements, and by getting the injury victim to make statements that can infringe upon how much you are truly entitled to. At this time, thinking about recovering compensation from insurance companies may seem stressful and the last thing that you want to worry about; a Scranton car accident lawyer can alleviate these stresses. You need an experienced car accident lawyer that has a proven track record.
For over 60 years, the award-winning personal injury lawyers at Munley Law have fought for the rights of accident victims throughout Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, an experienced personal injury lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is ready to fight for you today. Let our auto accident attorney take this heavy load off of your shoulders, so you can focus on healing both physically and emotionally.
What Role Does an Insurance Adjuster Have in a Car Accident?
When a car accident triggers an insurance claim and coverage, an insurance adjuster is appointed to manage and detail the claim and case at hand. Insurance adjusters may also be regarded as insurance specialists, claims specialists, claims adjusters, or claims representatives. Regardless of the assigned title name, all have the same objective — to thoroughly investigate the claims’ authenticity, and to assess the value and counterparts of a claim.
The primary purpose of the insurance adjuster is usually to extract information about you and to position you to receive the minimal amount of payout for a claim settlement. Tactics often used are empathy, and calling you prematurely before you may even be aware of the full extent of your own injuries and damages. Firstly, you are under no legal obligation to talk to them — be careful what you say. Should you have initiated a claim with their insurance company, it’s in your best interest to be mindfully cooperative to have a desirable result. Your car accident lawyer can help you to steer and manage; this is when a car accident lawyer is extremely valuable.
Insurance adjusters investigate the validity of car accidents, damages, incurred medical bills (and those anticipated), medical expenses, lost wages, assisted care, and property damages. In order to conduct investigative efforts, medical records may need to be accessed for injury confirmations, police reports, and other records requiring authorized access. In order to conduct their investigation, typical requests include:
- Recorded statements
- Medical authorizations (to confirm injuries sustained)
- Phone records
- Accident scene analysis
- Background checks
Investigative measures include their revisiting the accident scene, as well. It is worth noting that recorded statements are typically asked of the other drivers’ insurance companies; you are not required to participate in the recorded statements.
Who Should I Talk to After the Car Accident?
Communication at the accident scene is very different from the required communication thereafter. State laws and insurance policy agreements require that you communicate with:
- People involved with the accident and witnesses. Exchange driver’s license numbers, insurance coverage, and contact information. Remember to take notes of others’ commentary. Do not comment on anything but the exchange of information – less is more here.
- Law enforcement, authorities. Drivers’ licenses, vehicle registration, and insurance information will be collected. A police report will be initiated and questions will be asked; keep the dialogue to the point ad refrain from admitting to or accusing others of fault. Be informative.
- Your insurance company. You will want to contact your insurance company to report the accident so that you will receive compensation for any damages or injuries, should you need to submit a claim. Also, your insurance company requires that you contact it after an accident, within a certain window of time to ensure that they conduct a timely accident investigation if need be. Premiums are only susceptible to adjustments if a claim is filed.
What Do I Say to My Insurance Company After an Accident?
Your insurance provider is going to ask for details about the accident. Agents may seem empathetic and may seem to be on your side – be wary. Again, your own insurance provider also does not want to administer a hefty payout, so it is in your best interest to disclose factual information, which will include:
- Your name, as it reads on the policy
- Your policy number
- A description of your vehicle that incurred the accident, including its year, model, make, vehicle identification number, and license plate number
- If available, the accident report provided by the police
- Factual details surrounding the accident. Do not admit fault and don’t accuse the other driver of being at fault.
Be sure to take a record of the agent’s name with whom you disclosed all details, ask for an emailed record of their working claim if they can provide one, and take note of when you spoke. Emailing yourself is always a great way of date-stamping a note and recording for yourself.
Some questions you should ask your adjuster include:
- What does my insurance cover after an accident?
- Will my medical bill be covered by my insurance policy?
- Have you determined if the other driver was at fault?
- Can I have a copy of my insurance claim?
- What should I do next?
When speaking to the insurance adjuster, you can offer information that you have collected about the other driver:
- Name, address, and date of birth
- Description of their vehicle such as the make, year, model, license plate number
- Insurance company and policy information
- Passenger information that you have collected
You can also provide information about the value of your property damage, should you have records of the purchase of your vehicle, etc.
What Do I Say to the Other Driver’s Insurance Adjuster?
First, be aware that if an insurance adjuster contacts you, or is persistently contacting you, remember that you are not obligated to share anything and that you can simply tell them that if they need more information they can contact your insurance company, or that your attorney will be in touch with them. If you have not sustained an injury, and if the other part has formally admitted fault, you or your car accident lawyer will need to communicate with the adjuster to process your car accident claim.
If you do find yourself in a conversation with the insurance adjuster, remember to state that you do not want the conversation to be recorded. You are not required to talk to the adjuster; but if you do choose to converse, you can give facts such as:
- When the accident occurred
- Where the accident occurred
- Who was with you when the accident occurred
Politely express that your insurance company and/or lawyer will be in touch to share to disclose information about any of the other questions the adjuster may have.
What do you say if you accept a call from an insurance adjuster and you have not been injured? First off, depending on when you receive the call, be sure that you seek medical care or go to your doctor; many car accident injuries do not present themselves until days after the injury. If you have been cleared and are certain that you have not been injured, you will need to communicate information with the adjuster so that your car insurance claim can be processed:
- Provide factual information, and withstand any conversations that imply blame, opinion, and anything that is not simply informative about the basics.
- Provide the police report that details the accident; this information should act as a guide of what you should express to the agent.
- They may ask for additional details — again, refrain from commenting on blame.
Since there are no injuries, there are no medical authorizations to consider. An attorney can always be instrumental in moving your claim along.
What Not to Say If You Accept a Call From an Insurance Adjuster
Do not stay on the phone for an extended period of time — set limits. These adjusters are seasoned and know that by keeping you on the phone longer, they may get some more information out of you and catch you off guard:
- Do not admit or assign blame
- Do not disclose any financials
- Do not disclose your medical past history or pre-existing conditions
- Do not give details about your injury
- Do not give details about the accident
- Do not give details about the personal information
- Do not say things like “I am ok,” or “I am fine.” Although they seem simple, and although they may be placed after you disclose information about injuries (which you should not), they can be referenced out of context and impact claim assessments.
- Do not speak on a recorded line
Basically, get off the phone calmly, politely, and as soon as possible.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help With Insurance Claim Adjusters?
Whenever you have to deal with a car accident it’s always best to speak with an experienced attorney. After a car accident, you have more pressing concerns to deal with, such as medical expenses, loss of income, and recovery from your injuries, than that of negotiating for a fair settlement with the insurance company. The insurance company needs to be shown proof of liability, so the authenticity and detail in your case are what is going to ultimately afford your compensation. This is why you need someone by your side to help you with your car accident claim; your car accident lawyer will:
- Listen to your story.
- Investigate your car accident. The car accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys work with investigators, police, and professional reconstructionists to understand exactly what happened in your crash. We collect important evidence including photos from the crash scene, witness statements, surveillance footage, cell phone records, and more.
- Prove negligence. In order to win you justice, your injury attorneys will be tasked with proving the other driver’s negligence. In a personal injury lawsuit, there are four elements we must prove:
- Calculate damages. Your legal team will work with experts to calculate the full scope of your damages to ensure that you receive every dollar you deserve. This includes not only your existing medical bills and lost wages but all the other ways that you will continue to pay for your injuries in the future.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. The car accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have decades of experience fighting against insurance companies who would attempt to settle claims for less than what victims deserve. We will negotiate with them on your behalf, and we will never accept an offer of settlement without your consent.
- Fight for you at trial. If the defendant’s insurance refuses to agree to an appropriate settlement, we have no problem taking your case to trial. Our attorneys are experienced courtroom advocates and we will be fully prepared to present your case to a jury.
The insurance adjuster and your lawyer will establish communication and a working relationship. A car accident lawyer works with these agents frequently and knows what they are looking for, and what can slow and diminish your claims process.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we believe that all people should have equal access to the justice system, regardless of income. If we are unable to produce results for your car accident case, you owe us nothing. We want to make this hard time easier for you, not harder. That is why we do not have any fees unless your personal injury claim is won. Let us help you with the particulars and negotiations of your personal injury claim — we will fight for you until you get the compensation that you deserve.
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