How to Deal With Insurance Adjusters After a Car Crash
After a car crash in Arizona, you will file a damage claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver or party. Upon filing a claim, the company will assign an insurance claims adjuster to your case. Knowing how to deal with an insurance adjuster can be critical for winning your car accident claim and obtaining fair compensation in Arizona.
Do Not Trust an Adjuster – Learn the Adjuster’s Goal
Insurance adjusters are trained to get you to settle for as little money as possible. They are not the same as insurance agents who sell policies. They are trained investigators and crash analysts who assess car accident claims and recommend to the insurance company whether to provide or deny benefits.
An insurance adjuster does not want what is best for you. Instead, the adjuster is looking out for the insurance company and its investors. The adjuster has specific orders to try to minimize insurance payouts to profit the company. An adjuster can use tactics such as refuting fault to achieve this goal. Be vigilant in how you deal with an insurance adjuster to protect your rights.
Have an Attorney Speak to an Adjuster for You
You do not have to talk to an insurance adjuster in Arizona. Many car accident attorneys recommend to their clients not to communicate with adjusters. Insurance adjusters can be pushy and may try to pressure you into accepting a settlement. An adjuster may also take the opposite approach and use friendliness to try to gain your trust. Hire an attorney to talk to the insurance adjuster for you. An attorney will know exactly how to deal with a claims adjuster to reach a fair and full settlement. Otherwise, stay on your guard if you decide to handle the insurance process on your own.
Be Honest and Straightforward
If you do decide to answer an insurance adjuster’s call yourself, be wary about giving too much information. Keep in mind that the adjuster will try to retrieve information from you that he or she can use to dispute your claim later, such as information about pre-existing medical conditions. Only answer the questions asked, and only with facts. Do not guess or embellish if you do not know an answer. Be honest in your responses, but keep them as short and concise as possible. Do not provide any information the adjuster does not specifically request.
Never Admit Fault
Never say or allude to the fact that you caused the auto accident. This could halt your insurance claim in its tracks and lead to an automatic denial of benefits. Even if you think you might have contributed to the crash – or to your injuries, such as by not wearing a seat belt – say that you do not know who caused the accident. Wait for the results of an official investigation to determine liability. A lawyer can help you refute allegations of fault later, if necessary.
Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement
The recorded statement is a common tool insurance adjusters use to try to prove a claimant’s unreliability as a witness. If new facts about your crash come to light later, the adjuster may use your old recorded statement against you to show that your story does not line up with the facts. This could damage your dependability as a witness. No law in Arizona obligates you to give a recorded statement. You also should not sign anything the adjuster sends your way. Obtaining your signature on a medical release form is a common way for an adjuster to look for pre-existing injuries and conditions in your medical history to use against you.
Verify the Fairness of a Settlement Offer
Do not let an adjuster pressure you into accepting a fast settlement. You have the right to contact a personal injury attorney for advice before saying yes to an offer. The first offer often does not accurately represent the full value of a claimant’s injuries and losses. A lawyer can help you negotiate with an adjuster for maximum compensation after a car crash in Arizona.