Insurance adjusters aren’t your friend. They aim to get you to settle fast and accept the lowest offer to save the insurance company money.
If you get in a car accident and report it to your insurance company, they will generally send an adjuster to evaluate the case and assess the value of your damages. The adjuster will typically act as if they are on your side – they are friendly and empathetic, they will listen to you and seem like they are really trying to help you. They are not. Their purpose is to get you to settle fast and accept the lowest offer to save the insurance company money.
That’s why it’s essential to contact a St. Louis car accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash. They can help protect you from many of the tricks insurance adjusters use to get victims to settle.
Rushing You into Accepting an Offer
While talking with an insurance adjuster you might get the impression that the settlement offer comes with an expiration date and that you need to make a decision as soon as possible. While you won’t have forever to file your claim (the statute of limitations in Missouri is three years after the accident,) you don’t have to file within weeks either. Talking with a St. Louis auto accident lawyer will help you understand that you don’t need to settle the claim as quickly as the insurance company insinuates.
Communication Is Difficult
Insurance adjusters may be handling over 100 cases at a time, so the heavy workload may prevent them from communicating effectively with you. However, dodging your phone calls may also be a strategic move. The adjuster hopes that you will get frustrated with the lack of communication and eventually settle. They could even send you a check in the mail, making you believe that this is the maximum amount that you could get and prompt you to close your claim.
They Will Deny Your Claim
You can expect to receive a ridiculous settlement offer from the insurance company. They know it’s less than what your claim it’s worth, but they are hoping that victims will take it either way since they are probably in need of money to pay for medical bills and other costs. Some companies may also deny your claim even though what you are asking for is valid and backed up by medical and police reports. They have an entire team to delay and intimidate you, but with a good lawyer on your side, you can fight back.
They Will Try to Make You to Admit Fault
It doesn’t matter if the accident was completely the other driver’s fault, the insurance adjuster will try to make you admit that you carry part of the blame too. They may ask questions such as: “What do you think you could have done to prevent the accident?” Keep in mind that you don’t have to answer any of these questions (although they will most likely make you think otherwise) and always have your lawyer by your side when discussing with insurance adjusters.
Using Trick Questions
Insurance adjusters seem to have a way of making people feel comfortable and as if they care. But make no mistake; most insurance adjusters are not your friend. Their primary goal is to settle your claim for as little money as possible. Another tactic adjusters may use is asking trick questions. These questions may seem innocuous, but they can damage your claim. If you’ve been in a car accident and are dealing with an insurance adjuster, watch out for the following trick questions.
“Can I Record This Conversation?”
While this might seem like an innocent question, here’s why you should generally say no:
- The adjuster could use the recording to try to twist your words and use them against you. For example, if you say something like “I’m not sure what happened,” the adjuster could use this statement to argue that you’re not being clear about what happened in the accident.
- The recording could be used to catch you off guard and get you to say something you didn’t mean to say. For example, if the adjuster asks you a leading question and you respond without thinking, that response could be used against you later on.
- Recordings can be edited or taken out of context, which could further damage your claim. If the adjuster edits the recording or takes your words out of context, it could make it look like you’re not being truthful about what happened in the accident.
“Most People Would Have Seen That Car Coming, Wouldn’t You Agree?”
This is another seemingly simple question, but it’s loaded with assumptions. What if there was something obstructing your view of oncoming traffic? Or what if the other driver was speeding and came out of nowhere? By agreeing with the insurance adjuster’s statement, you could be giving up key evidence that would help your case.
“So, You Didn’t Go to the Hospital Until the Next Day?”
This question is designed to trip you up with timelines. Many insurers will try to use delays in seeking medical treatment as proof that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim them to be. So even if there was a legitimate reason for the delay (e.g., you couldn’t get an appointment until the next day), it’s best not to discuss it with the insurance adjuster. Instead, let your attorney handle all communications with the insurer.
“How Fast Were You Going When the Accident Happened?”
This question is designed to establish fault. If you were speeding, the adjuster may try to use that to reduce or eliminate your claim. Even if you weren’t speeding, it’s best to avoid answering this question. The police report will have information on speed, so you don’t need to provide it.
Asking trick questions is one way insurance adjusters try to minimize payouts on claims. If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to be aware of their tactics and take steps to protect your claim.
Insurance Adjusters Are Not Your Friend
If there is one thing you should remember after reading this article is that insurance adjusters aren’t your friend. Their purpose is to save their company money and they will do it at your expense. To gain more than even footing with the insurance company, get in touch with an experienced car crash lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident in or around St. Louis, MO
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay unless we get you money!