After a car accident, you may feel rattled, anxious, and even angry. This is especially true if you or a loved one sustained serious injuries due to the actions of another negligent driver. However, no matter how you may feel emotionally, it is imperative that you remain calm when dealing with an insurance adjuster after a car accident. Your excitement and desire to resolve the issue may cause you to make a costly misstep that jeopardizes your claim and possible settlement.
At Dwyer & Coogan, P.C., we have successfully helped many clients and their families across the state of Illinois deal with insurance companies and maximize their settlements. To learn more about our services, contact us for a free consultation.
What to Do When the Adjuster Calls
Once you file your claim, count on the insurance adjuster calling within a few days. In fact, you may even get a call before taking any action on your own to report a claim. Before you discuss anything, get the name, address, and telephone number of the person on the other line. Also ask for the name of the insurance company.
Despite how you feel about the car accident and the person who caused it, keep those feelings to yourself and cooperate with the adjuster. Your cooperation may mean the difference between the adjuster handling your claim in a swift and confident manner or them questioning your motives. Answer questions with facts alone. Do not give any more information than necessary, as doing so could come back to haunt you.
In fact, if you’ve gotten this far: this is the time you should call a lawyer who can tell you what your rights are before you voluntarily cooperate with the insurance company.
Insurance companies are private companies. They are not the government. Nor are they the police. They have no power to compel you to answer phone calls, fill out forms or anything else. You should only deal with insurance companies in ways that benefit your interests. It is guaranteed that they will do things that exclusively benefit their interests.
Refrain From Giving Details of the Accident
The biggest mistake that injured parties make is giving details of the accident and trying to describe how it occurred. An insurance company will have the police report and do not need any more details than what is in the report. If the insurance adjuster asks you to “give a statement” about how the accident happened, they are only doing so in the hopes that you will reveal information that could potentially put you at fault.
Even an accurate statement today creates something to compare a later statement to, which might lead to an inconsistency, no matter how minor. Inconsistencies are used to claim there are weaknesses in your case (even when there are none) and intimidate you into giving up or taking a settlement that is less than you deserve.
Politely refuse to discuss anything. If you feel you must give your name and the location of the crash, remember that you are not obligated to tell them anything.
Do Not Give Details of Your Injuries
Naturally, an insurance adjuster is going to want to learn more about your injuries. Though he or she may inquire with a compassionate tone, know that they are just doing their job and trying to minimize your claim. Do not give any details of your injury until your doctor has thoroughly assessed you and given a final report of your injuries.
DO NOT ‘Settle’ Your Case on Your Own
Can you make an informed, binding, contractual agreement when you do not know your rights? Or the rules? Or have all the information about the deal? Would you buy a car without doing research? Would you buy a house without a walk through, an inspection, and proof of ownership and maintenance?
The insurance company may offer a settlement straight out of the gate. This is a tactic to trick you into taking money and waiving your rights to what is likely more money than they are offering. Think about why an insurance company would try to buy you off before you have a chance to speak with your own counsel. When a party accepts a settlement, they cannot come back for more money.
Discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney to get a better idea of what your case is actually worth. You deserve to talk to someone who has your interests in mind.
Consult a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, you need to remain rational and level-headed when dealing with the insurance an insurance adjuster. At Dwyer & Coogan, P.C., our knowledgeable car accident attorneys understand that this may be difficult to do. We can guide you through the claims process and help ensure that you do not make any mistakes that can result in a reduced settlement.
Contact our firm today to learn more.