You may feel as though the auto insurance claims adjuster has arrived on the scene to act as your own personal lawyer. “Here is someone who has my best interests at heart because I’m the client,” you may think. It’s not that a claims adjuster is a crook, but keep in mind that this person’s job is to settle the case as quickly and affordably as possible. It’s up to you to ensure you get a fair deal.
Rule #1: Say As Little As Possible.
Talking too much is the biggest mistake people make. Drivers who’ve just been involved in an accident are often blabbing emotionally — which may not be the best recourse. Claims adjusters love to hear admissions of guilt and apologies, details that contradict what bystanders say, complaints about whiplash or what a “piece of junk” your car is, or background information about what a horrible day you’ve been having. Anything you say can and will be used against you!
Rule #2: When In Doubt, Hire Counsel.
You don’t have to answer questions that seem loaded. For instance, an auto insurance adjuster might ask:
- How could you have avoided the accident?
- How much do you think you are responsible?
- Do you think the weather affected you?
- Did you have any previous injuries or pain before the wreck?
Ask that all questions be directed through your legal representative first.
Rule #3: Take Your Time.
If you settle too fast, you may be forfeiting some of your consumer protections. An auto insurance claims adjuster might offer you a $1,000 check on-the-spot to fix your vehicle, plus another $500 for the inconvenience. But what if you have a soft tissue injury that hits you three days later like a ton of bricks? Once you take the money and settle, you are no longer entitled to compensation. Keep in mind you may be entitled to rental car reimbursement, which could buy you more time.