The Insurance Adjustor is Not Always Your Friend
Shortly after you report your car accident to your insurance company – or soon after your insurer learns of the accident on its own – you will meet the insurance adjustors. These individuals are representatives of their respective insurance companies and they will tell you their job is to quickly evaluate the extent of your injuries and losses, verify coverage, and get you paid. In truth, the insurance adjustor’s job is simple: save the insurance company as much money as possible. In order to deal effectively with an insurance adjustor, it is vital that you remember this: No matter how pleasant or helpful the insurance adjustor may seem, he or she is looking out for the insurance company’s bottom line first.
Should I Ever Speak with the Adjustor without an Attorney?
Hiring a Los Angeles car accident attorney quickly following your motor vehicle accident can alleviate you from having to speak directly with the adjustor. Many individuals find this helpful in that it allows them to focus on themselves, their own health and the health and overall wellbeing of their family while their car accident claim and/or lawsuit is sorted out.
That being said, there is nothing that prohibits you from speaking with the adjustor without an attorney. In doing so, remember the following tips:
- Do not admit fault without first speaking with an attorney, even if you believe you might be responsible in part for causing the accident. This may reduce the amount of compensation you will receive or (depending on the degree of fault for which you claim responsibility) preclude you from obtaining any compensation for your losses at all.
- Respond to the adjustor’s questions politely but do not be afraid to admit if you do not know the answer to a particular question. Do not be “helpful” by suggesting a possible answer and do not let the adjustor put words into your mouth. If you do not know the precise speed at which you were traveling, do not say “I think it was about 70 miles per hour.” Instead, simply say “I do not remember the precise speed at which I was traveling.”
- If the adjustor is making a written statement based on your answers, request to review the statement he or she prepares (and do review the statement – preferably with the help of an attorney) before you sign it. If the written statement does not accurately record the facts as you remember them, do not be afraid to challenge the adjustor and require that the adjustor make appropriate corrections before you sign the document.
- Some adjustors will have make a recorded statement over the phone or in person. Be very careful about giving a recorded statement without having an attorney present. If you do decide to give a recorded statement, it may be very beneficial to first write out in detail your recollection of the accident and have this statement available while giving your recorded statement. Leaving out an important detail about your accident while giving a recorded statement can be very detrimental to your claim and legal rights, even if the omission was accidental.
Remember Who the Insurance Adjustor Works For
An experienced Los Angeles Attorney can alleviate many of these concerns because your attorney will handle most, if not all, of the questions and concerns from the adjustor. If you do decide to speak with the adjustor on your own, remember that an adjustor’s main duty is to save the insurance company money by settling your claim as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. Your conversation(s) with the adjustor – whether written or oral – can have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you receive from the insurance company.