Q What should I say if an adjuster calls and wants to talk about my California auto accident?
ADon’t sabotage your auto accident case with a wrong statement to the insurance company adjuster. Here are 3 real loser statements, that can affect the outsome of your case.
* Never tell the insurance adjuster that you were not hurt, if you have any pain.
To establish your image of honesty to an adjuster, you may be tempted to tell them that you “really am not hurt,” when in fact you have pain. Remember, the insurance adjuster is required to document their file with information that helps defeat your case. Therefore, trading your case for a false image is not appropriate. Instead, tell the adjuster the truth, that you are hurting but the extent is not known yet. Get to a doctor and get well. Then you can tell the adjuster you are fine. Obviously if you are not better after going to a doctor, then you can tell them of the news, and you have not destroyed your case settlement opportunities. I say destroyed, because if you say you are not hurt, the insurance company then sets a reserve, a value of your case. Expecting that you will still not be hurt later, and once a reserve is set, you will have a very difficult time getting the company to change the value they already set on your case in writing.
* Don’t assume or guess about liability.
Many people feel then need to fill in the blanks of an accident, because they fear the insurance company will deny the claim if they do not. In fact the opposite is true. If you are saying things to the adjuster that you could not comprehend or see, then you lose credbility, not gain it. Additionally, by guessing at the speed of another, or guessing where a car came from, you provide a way for the insurance company to attack your claim later. It is best if you simply do not guess at something, or say, "I want to think about that before I answer," and consult an attorney or wait a few days before you answer.
* Don’t describe your injury in medical terms.
Many clients want to share their injury by describing a diagnosis. “I have whiplash” or “I have a herniated disc.” This type of answer does not explain what you are feeling, which is the important detail, but shows that you are repeating a phrase you heard. While it may seem innocent to you, many people call insurance companies to describe their injury in terms they read on the internet, where someone got a lot of settlement money. Therefore you are red flagging your case. Instead, simply describe your symptoms. For whiplash, you can talk about your neck pain when you turn your head side to side. For a herniated disc, you can describe the pain in your back that runs down your leg. These answers are more accurate and genuine, and will likely lead to a better recovery for your claim.
Stay away from these three statements and you will improve your results.