What to Know Before Speaking to an Insurance Adjuster
Many of the more than 3,000 people injured in Johnson County, Kansas, in motor vehicle accidents every year are injured by negligent drivers. In other words, had that driver upheld their duty of care, those victims might have reached their destinations safe from harm.
Instead, injury victims face medical treatment, medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. The person who caused the crash is legally responsible for financial compensation through their liability insurance coverage. Obtaining that compensation, however, is difficult and complicated. It is not because the negligent driver doesn’t want to pay. It is because their insurance company does not.
If you have been injured in an accident in Overland Park or anywhere in Johnson County, Kansas, you should contact Roth Davies LLC before you say anything to the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster. If you aren’t convinced, let us tell you why.
What Are the Risks of Agreeing to a Request for a Statement?
Perhaps before you even get home after the accident, the insurance adjuster will contact you to request an interview. The adjuster is seeking the opportunity to put your statements regarding the accident and your injuries on the record.
Although the insurance company you file a personal injury claim with is entitled to information that allows the adjuster to assign a value to it, you should refuse to answer any questions until you are represented by a personal injury attorney. Following are three key reasons why you should refuse:
In much the same way as someone arrested for a crime has the right to remain silent because anything they say can and will be used against them, the adjuster will use anything you say against you, especially to assign fault to you for the accident. Of course, you are not a criminal, but you should not answer any questions until you have your attorney present in order to preserve the value of your claim.
The adjuster will use the information you provide to lower the value of your claim or to deny your claim completely. They will be looking for admissions of fault, pre-existing medical conditions, and other information they can skew to reduce the value of your claim.
The adjuster will ask questions in ways that make you appear to contradict yourself. Those contradictions give the impression that you are being untruthful about the events of the accident or the extent of your injuries and other damages.
The insurance adjuster is trained to obtain information from you that harms your claim because insurance companies make money by denying claims. That is why you should not provide any information until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will establish the ground rules for an interview and for the provision of documentation of your claim.
What If I Do Agree to Give a Statement?
If you agree to speak with an insurance adjuster, you should consider the following recommendations regarding what to say and what not to say:
Refuse permission for the interview to be recorded. That makes it more difficult for the adjuster to later use something you said against you.
Never admit guilt or imply that you were in any way responsible for the accident.
Do not answer questions you don’t know the answers to. Simply respond that you don’t know.
Likewise, do not volunteer any information. If a question can be answered with a yes, no, or I don’t know, respond accordingly and do not elaborate.
Keep your responses as brief as possible. Do not embellish and do not feel compelled to explain yourself.
Most importantly, never sign any documents without first consulting with a car accident attorney. The adjuster will ask you to sign forms that allow them access to your medical records and bills and payroll and employment information. They will ask you to acknowledge the accuracy of the interview transcript or notes. If possible, they will ask you to sign an offer of settlement of your claim. Once you do, you have no further legal recourse against them and their insured.
Legal Guidance You Can Trust
The insurance adjuster assigned to your third-party liability claim will sound friendly and tell you that they want to help you. Just remember that helping you is not their job. Preserving the profitability of the company they work for is.
Only your personal injury attorney will have your best interests at heart. At Roth Davies LLC, we take that responsibility very seriously. We use our experience to guide our clients through the claims process and, if necessary, to trial to obtain just compensation for their injuries.
If you have been injured in Overland Park or Johnson County, Kansas, call us right now to schedule a free case consultation.