If you were involved in a car accident, you will likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster shortly after. Unfortunately, a mistake people often make is assuming the adjuster has their best interests in mind.
An adjuster’s primary job is to save money for the insurance company he or she works for. To do this, adjusters may sometimes use deceitful methods to deny your claim or reduce its value.
If you make one mistake while speaking with an adjuster, your entire claim could be jeopardized and you may lose the chance to recover compensation.
Make sure your claim is not devalued by following these tips when interacting with an insurance adjuster following a car accident in Tennessee. An attorney will personally handle any communications with an adjuster on your behalf to ensure your best interests are met.
Report the Accident Right Away
One of the first things you should do after being in a car accident, is report the collision to your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurer.
You should never hesitate to report an accident, regardless of its severity or the circumstances in which it occurred. Even if a car accident seems minor, such as a fender-bender, there may be hidden or delayed damages that appear much later.
You must report the accident within a reasonable amount of time, or the period of time listed in your insurance policy. If you fail or neglect to do this, an insurer may refuse to process your claim and prevent you from seeking compensation for your injury and any damage to your vehicle.
Once you have reported the accident, consulting with our qualified may be in your best interest to determine what the upcoming claims process might require of you.
Do Not Talk on the Record with an Insurance Adjuster
When you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, he or she may request that you make a statement regarding your accident and the injuries you suffered. The adjuster might also ask to record the statement as well.
You should never consent to make an official statement regarding your car accident until you have fully recovered from your injury.
An insurance adjuster considers a statement about your car accident to be your official stance on the details of the accident and your injuries.
Since this is part of your claim’s official record, an adjuster can use any information you provide against you. He or she will likely look for any discrepancies or contradictions in the statements you make.
Even the smallest comment or seemingly insignificant remark you make while providing your statement can be used against you and may impact your claim.
This is why you should decline an adjuster’s request to provide a statement until you are fully prepared. You should prepare a statement in advance to ensure it is concise and clearly relays the facts as you know them.
A prepared statement should include a detailed understanding of the events that occurred during the car accident, as well as any property damage, medical expenses or lost wages that amounted because of your injury.
By having this information readily available when making a statement, you are relaying a clear and concise account of the accident for the adjuster to record and report back to the insurance company.
The personal injury attorneys at Greg Coleman can help you review your claim to fully prepare yourself for providing an official recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
Do Not Sign Any Documents or Releases
There may be several documents that an adjuster will attempt to have you sign. You should always thoroughly read any document an adjuster provides for you to sign.
If you are unsure of a document’s intentions or if an adjuster says that you are required to sign it, you should immediately contact an attorney for further review and consultation.
Medical Release Forms
Your medical record is considered extremely private and insurance companies have no right to view its contents unless you permit them to do so.
An adjuster might ask you to sign a medical release form to grant him or her access to your medical records. This includes information detailing the injury you acquired in the accident and any pre-existing condition you may suffer from.
The adjuster may use this information to reduce the value of your claim or deny you compensation by attempting to claim your current injury was caused by a pre-existing condition.
This is why you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible if an adjuster requests you sign a release form to view any information about your medical history.
As experienced personal injury attorneys, we understand the tactics insurance companies often use to trick injury victims. We will advise you against any action that would compromise your claim and prevent you from recovering compensation for your injury.
A Release of Your Claim
An adjuster might also present you with a claim release form, which is a legal document that states you are releasing the at-fault party from any further liability.
If you sign this form, you are accepting any settlement the insurer offers regarding your injury, property damage and financial losses. You will forfeit your right to pursue any further damages from the at-fault party.
You should never sign this document until you have thoroughly reviewed it with your attorney. Our attorneys can examine a release of claim form to determine if it fairly represents your interests and will compensate your loss.
Do Not Accept the Initial Settlement
After an insurance adjuster evaluates the damages listed in your claim and reviews any information you provided regarding your injury and property loss, he or she will make an initial offer.
You need to remember than the adjuster is not concerned with compensating your losses and is only focused on saving the insurance company from paying a high settlement.
The insurance company would have provided the adjuster with a price range it believes your claim is worth. It will likely instruct the adjuster to make an initial offer on the lower end of this range.
Because of this, you should never accept the first offer an adjuster makes you unless you are confident that it covers the full cost of your injuries and damages. It will often be an unreasonably low amount that may not even be enough to cover the basics of your losses.
Unfortunately, most people are quick to accept an initial settlement that does not reflect what they deserve and are unaware their claim has been significantly devalued.
You should consult with our personal injury attorneys before considering an adjuster’s initial offer. We know how to recognize a low-ball settlement and can help save your claim from being unfairly compensated.
Experienced Legal Help with Insurance Claims
In order to protect yourself from an adjuster’s deceitful tactics, you should contact the personal injury attorneys at Greg Coleman Law.
Our licensed car accident attorneys in Knoville, TN have helped many car accident victims who were treated unfairly by adjusters and the insurance companies they represent. Our experience has enabled us to recognize suspicious tactics used by adjusters to offer unreasonable settlements.
We offer prospective clients a free, no obligation initial consultation to review their car accident claim and accurately estimate its value. We only work on a contingency fee basis and will only require payment if we are successful in recovering fair compensation for your claim.