Speaking to another driver’s insurance adjuster right after your car accident is usually a bad idea. Injured victims in car crashes often make this mistake, and it can affect the outcome of their claim.
One of the questions to be determined at the outset is who is legally liable for the accident and any injuries stemming from the accident. Insurers have a laser focus on protecting their own financial interests. They often achieve this goal by carefully negotiating the lowest possible settlement and also denying as many insurance claims as possible.
After an insurance company becomes aware of an accident, it begins an investigation to determine the at-fault party. An insurance adjuster is assigned to the case. After determining fault, the insurer may offer a settlement that is significantly less than the actual damages suffered by the victim.
Even though the insurance adjuster for your insurance company or the other person’s insurance company may act friendly and sympathetic, that does not mean he or she is not honed in tightly on securing the interests of the insurance company first and foremost.
Dangers of talking to insurance adjusters
An insurance adjuster will try to obtain information from a car accident victim that may be used later on to devalue or negate the victim’s claim for damages. Sometimes an insurance adjuster will ask the victim to record a statement. Even if you, as the victim, are completely honest about what occurred, and the facts are in your favor, still the insurer may attempt to show inconsistencies between your recorded statement and what you later testify to at trial. The purpose of this is to reduce your credibility in the eyes of the jury.
For the reasons mentioned above, it is generally in the victim’s interest not to speak to an insurance adjuster. Instead, if you were solicited by an insurance adjuster for an interview or conversation, refer them to your personal injury attorney instead.
There are limited situations in which an accident victim may be required to communicate with an insurance adjuster – but generally only to an insurance adjuster from his or her own insurance. In at-fault states like Tennessee, if a defendant does not have insurance or not enough insurance, the victim may make a claim on his or her own insurance policy through the policy’s uninsured motorist coverage. However, speaking to the other party’s insurance adjuster is generally not required.
Insurance companies sometimes try to get victims to sign a medical release form, giving the insurer the right to obtain the victim’s medical records. From this information, the insurer may attempt to use the information it learns from these records to deny a claim based on a past injury. Therefore, always avoid signing these forms whether the request is from your insurance company or the other person’s insurance company.
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we are here to help West Tennessee car crash victims obtain the compensation they deserve. To set up a free consultation at one of our offices in Jackson or Memphis, give us a call today at 901-680-9777 or complete our contact form.