An auto insurance adjuster is the professional assigned to your case by an insurance company after a car accident. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to investigate and assess your claim, as well as recommend to the insurer to accept or reject benefits.
It is also the insurance adjuster’s job to save the insurance company as much money on your claim as possible. Do not trust an insurance adjuster – he or she is not on your side. Use these dos and don’ts to protect your rights.
One of the tactics an auto insurance adjuster uses is to acquire answers that are inaccurate. An insurance adjuster may call you the same day of your car accident, before you fully understand the facts. This tactic is used to get you to contradict yourself later, after you learn more. The best way to protect yourself is by taking the time to prepare and learning as much as you can about the car accident. Take the time to fully process and understand your case.
The insurance claims adjuster will be friendly and persuasive. The adjuster will try to convince you that he or she is looking out for you. Do not let this persuade you into admitting fault for the car accident. Never tell an auto insurance adjuster that you think you might have caused or contributed to the car accident. Admitting any amount of fault can make you lose your right to recover. Do not speculate about fault. Instead, stick only to the facts of the case.
Be polite when speaking to an insurance adjuster. Even if you know the adjuster is trying to take advantage of you, do not get angry. Being rude or disrespectful to an adjuster can make it more difficult to obtain a fair settlement. Do your best to remain polite and friendly, while still being savvy to the adjuster’s tactics.
When the claims adjuster asks you to give a recorded statement, politely decline and explain that you will submit a written statement later instead. The recorded statement is a common tactic used to have you on record saying something the adjuster can twist around to use against you. No law in New Jersey forces you to give a recorded statement.
Always tell the truth when answering an adjuster’s questions. Lying to the insurance adjuster can hurt your case, as the adjuster can use it against you as proof that you are an unreliable claimant. You could even face charges for insurance fraud. At the same time, do not give long, narrative answers or volunteer information the adjuster did not request. Keep your answers short and succinct to avoid incriminating yourself.
If the insurance company sends you documents, do not sign anything until you have consulted with an attorney. An insurance company may send you documents such as a Medical Authorization Release Form; signing this document, however, could give the insurer permission to access your full medical history. This could allow the insurance company to look for a pre-existing injury. Do not agree to anything right away, either. Once you say yes to a settlement offer, you typically cannot go back and change your mind or renegotiate for a higher amount.
It is extremely important to speak to a car accident attorney in New Jersey before you decide, sign or agree to anything while speaking with an auto insurance adjuster. Unlike the adjuster, an attorney will want what is best for you and your family. You can trust the advice you receive from a lawyer. You can also hire a lawyer to take over conversations with the claims adjuster on your behalf. A lawyer will help you fully protect your rights during the insurance process.