Posted on December 16th, 2019 by Zane Cagle
If you’ve been in an auto accident, one of the first calls you’ll be getting is from the claim’s adjuster. Claims adjusters are the people charged with investigating claims and attempting to figure how much liability they will be exposed to. The claims regarding property damage are relatively straightforward, as those are easily documented. As our free ebook, Car Crash: Steps to Maximizing Your Settlement, mentions.
However, if your claim involves bodily damage, things can get tricky, and it is advisable that you speak with an attorney before speaking with the claims adjuster.
Often, the claims adjuster will call and attempt to sound very sympathetic and try to win your trust. They’ll attempt to take a recorded statement in an effort to learn the facts of the case. However, it is important to remember that they work for the insurance company, not you, and they are often looking for angles that will limit the amount they have to pay to the injured. They may try to get you to admit some portion of the fault to assert a “comparative fault” defense. They may attempt to get you on record about your injuries which, should they worsen, can be used in court to make it seem like the injuries are being faked.
For instance, let’s say you have soft tissue damage to the neck and back. You have pain immediately after the accident, but it seems manageable. The claims adjuster may ask you about that injury. Many people, just out of habit, will say something like, “It hurts, but it’s not that bad.” This is because most of us don’t want to seem like we’re complaining or because we naturally seek to downplay our injuries. But should this pain worsen, should this pain continue to prevent you from working, and should this pain need further medical treatment, such a statement can severely impact your case. The insurance company will use that statement as evidence that the injuries are being faked or exaggerated. This can greatly reduce the settlement offer and greatly increase the amount of time it takes to reach a favorable conclusion to your case.
If contacted by a claims adjuster about your accident, always be polite. Understand that they have a job to do and that treating them with respect can only help your case in the end. Being combative or rude will only cause the adjuster to get defensive and cause them to fight your claim. While you should be polite, you should not do anything to jeopardize your case. Politely decline to speak to the adjuster on the record. If it’s soon after the accident, tell them you are still recovering and are still too shaken up by the event to speak about it. If you’ve retained an attorney, refer the adjuster to your attorney and tell the adjuster that all contact should be conducted through counsel. This will ensure that no statement will be made to damage your case.
Personal injury claims can be very tricky to navigate. There are many pitfalls and many moving parts which can be difficult to deal with, especially as you attempt to recover from injuries. Zane T. Cagle and the Missouri car accident attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm can guide you through the process, making sure to maximize your settlement. Their knowledge and expertise will make sure you are informed of the process and are informed of your rights under the law. Whether it’s soft tissue damage, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, wrongful death, or any type of personal injury in Missouri, Illinois, or Kentucky, we’re here to help. Call us today at (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation.