What Not to Say to an Insurance Adjuster
You may be feeling vulnerable after a car accident. When you get on the phone with the insurance adjuster and are greeted with a friendly voice, you want to trust that they are looking out for your best interests. It can feel comforting talking to some about the crash who acts as they care. Unfortunately, this disarming charm can backfire on you.
Insurance adjusters aren’t looking out for what’s best for you. They are agents working for a for-profit company. Insurance companies, as a whole, want to keep profit margins high. That can mean keeping accident payouts low. That warm tone and helpful demeanor may lead you to say things you ordinarily wouldn’t or that you shouldn’t. No matter how friendly an insurance adjuster seems, there are things that you should not say when talking with them post-accident.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we want to arm people with knowledge. That means understanding what isn’t appropriate to discuss with an insurer following a car accident. Keep in mind these important things to avoid:
To you, an apology is a form of sincere condolence. A phrase to be uttered when you wish the circumstances were different. To an insurer, an apology is something much different. It is an admission of guilt. When talking to an insurance adjuster, never apologize or say that you are sorry for any reason. An adjuster can twist your apology into meaning that you claim at least partial fault for causing an accident. This apology gives them the leverage to diminish the value of your claim and pay out less than what you may deserve.
Never Say “I’m Fine”
An insurance adjuster may start a conversation with casual banter. Something along the lines of asking how you are doing after the accident. Never answer that you are fine. Again, this would be a perfectly normal exchange to have with a friend or family member. Not with an insurance adjuster. When you say that you are fine, they’ll take it to mean that you are not injured and that you are fully functional. That may or may not be the case.
You Do Not Have to Disclose Your Injuries
In the same vein as never saying you are fine, never talk about your injuries, especially if you haven’t received medical attention yet. You do not have to answer questions about your specific injuries or conditions.
In addition, if you answer with information about your current condition and something new develops, the insurer may not cover the new symptoms and diagnosis from your injury. Car accidents are tricky. You may feel fine one minute and have excruciating headaches or back pain hours, even days after the crash. Seek medical attention immediately, and do not talk about the details with an insurer. Your medical records and bills can give them the information they need when appropriate.
Avoid Giving a Verbal Official Statement
An adjuster will often ask for your consent to record your phone call and use this as your official statement about the accident. Do not give your consent. You may be under pressure, rushed, or not prepared to offer an official statement when they call. If you forget to mention a detail, omit information, or hurry through your statement and think of something to add later, your claim can be impacted. An insurer will pick apart your words for inaccuracies and clues that you may be at fault. It is ammunition they will use to diminish the value of your claim and avoid paying what you may deserve.
If your insurer needs an official statement about the accident, it is best to offer it in writing. Keep your statement simple and factual. Avoid adding your feelings or opinions. Better yet, contact an attorney who can help manage your communication with the insurance company.
Keep Your Online Thoughts to Yourself
It is natural for humans to want to share their experiences with others. It can create a bond and give people meaningful support during a difficult time. However, resist the temptation to post about the accident on social media platforms. Insurance adjusters will search social media profiles for information about you and potentially about the accident. Your online account of the crash could be used against you to reduce the value of your claim or lay partial fault at your feet.
Get in Touch with a Louisiana Car Accident Attorney
It can be frustrating to watch every word you utter. It may feel like you have to talk in code just to avoid a misstep with the insurance company. Take the burden of talking to the insurer off your shoulders and contact an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney. At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we can manage your claim and all communication with the insurers.
If you are injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, reach out to one of our skilled attorneys today. Call our office at 337-800-8800 for a free consultation.