These 5 Traps can Ruin Your Claim.
Top 5 Traps Insurance Adjusters Will Set After a Car Accident
Just Another Play in Their Book
After a car accident, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is an insurance adjuster. You’ve got enough on your plate, and talking to insurance just adds to the growing list of concerns after a crash.
Over the years, our firm has dealt with many insurance adjusters. It’s safe to say we have seen about every trick in the book. We’ve seen insurance adjusters try anything and everything to pay car accident victims a fraction of the full value of their claim—and a lot of times they succeed.
An insurance adjuster’s biggest advantage is a car accident victim’s lack of knowledge. Most people don’t know how to navigate an insurance claim. There’s no class in school about what to say or not say to an adjuster, what you should or shouldn’t sign, or how to best advocate for yourself after a car accident. Don’t you worry though. We’ve provided tips for dealing with insurance adjusters so know exactly how to dodge some of their most common tricks.
Talking to Your Own Insurance
It’s important to clarify that you will likely have two different adjusters with whom you are speaking. The at-fault party’s adjuster and the adjuster from your own insurance. There may be more insurance adjusters involved if there were multiple vehicles involved in the crash. Always make sure you know exactly who is on the other end of the phone. We always suggest speaking with an attorney BEFORE speaking to any insurance adjuster, including your own. Why? Your own insurance adjuster is on your side, right? It depends.
Your own insurance adjuster can certainly help you, but that doesn’t mean they are on your side. Just like the other adjuster, your own insurance adjuster is most concerned with paying out as little on a claim as possible, if anything at all. Your adjuster can help with establishing liability of the other parties. Your adjuster can help with property damage and then go after the other side to get reimbursed (subrogation), and be helpful in other ways. HOWEVER, if it turns out that the at-fault is uninsured or underinsured, your adjuster essentially steps into the shoes of an at-fault adjuster – meaning you must prove your claim to them in order to obtain money from your own policy. Once again, we encourage you to reach out to a qualified personal injury attorney before speaking to any insurance adjuster.
Alright, moving on to why it is not in your best interest to deal directly with an insurance adjuster:
Trap #1: Quick Settlements
Most likely, you are going to hear from the at-fault’s insurance adjuster soon after you’ve been involved in a car accident, and they are going to try to get you to settle quickly. It’s an insurance adjuster’s job to evaluate your claim and determine what the full and final potential settlement could be. It’s also an insurance adjuster’s job to save their company money. Insurance adjusters will offer initial settlements that are just a percentage of the full estimated amount, and if they can get you to take it, they’ve saved money for their company and eliminated any opportunity for you to receive more money from them for that claim. If you take an early offer, there’s a high chance that it’s not going to be the full amount that you deserve.
There are many tactics they use to try and do this—sometimes, they will even send you a check out of the blue. Don’t cash a check from the at-fault’s insurance until you know that your claim has been fairly settled. Otherwise, it will be impossible to pursue your claim further if you find out you require additional compensation.
Many times, car crash victims don’t know the full extent of their injuries early on. Insurance adjusters want you to settle fast so that they’re exempt from compensating you for additional treatment. Should you find out that you do have long-term or more severe injuries, you may have to pay for treatment yourself if the settlement doesn’t cover the costs.
Insurance adjusters might also try to intimidate you as well. They’ll act like an expert, claim that your case isn’t anything special, and tell you that the money they’ve initially offered is more than enough. To be fair, the offer may seem like a great deal. What the adjuster won’t tell you until after you’ve accepted their offer is the full extent of the fees that you might have to pay out of your settlement. If your medical insurance paid for your doctor visits, then they might have a subrogation lien that states they must be reimbursed from any settlement money you receive. There may be other medical bills and costs associated with the crash as well. You need to wait until you know the full extent of your injuries and the costs for treatment before you take any money. The best way to know if you’re receiving a fair settlement is by having a lawyer evaluate your claim as well.
Trap #2: Recorded Statements
You know how you can’t say certain things around a kid or they’ll repeat you? Insurance adjusters work in somewhat the same way. While a kid might not know what they’re repeating, insurance adjusters know exactly how to take your words and use them against you.
We cannot stress this enough: never give the at-fault’s insurance a recorded statement. Understand as well that most insurance adjusters record their calls, so by speaking to them about the crash over the phone, they can use anything you say on that call against you as well.
As we mentioned before, insurance adjusters will call you quickly after you’ve been involved in a car accident. Along with the quick settlement trap, they’re going to try to trap you into saying something that will discredit your claim. They might call the day after the crash when you are still shaken up, not thinking clearly, and don’t know the full extent of your injuries.
The insurance adjuster will most likely try to act like your friend. They’ll claim that they want to help you and are looking out for your best interests. When you answer the phone, they might ask, “How are you?” If you say something along the lines of “I’m good” or “I’m fine,” they will use that to discount the impact that the crash had on you. They may ask about your injuries as well. You may think you’ve just got a neck injury but then later find out you have a traumatic brain injuryas well. If you leave out an injury and it comes up later, they will use that against you. Any inconsistency will be noted and used to devalue your claim.
They might also try to trick you into admitting fault in the crash. Even a simple “I’m sorry” over the phone could be used by them to claim that you’re sharing or taking fault for the crash. Any admission of fault is detrimental to your claim. It’s safer to just not ever speak about fault or talk to the at-fault’s insurance about any details of the accident.
Trap #3: Signing a Medical Release Form
After a car accident, the at-fault’s insurance might call and tell you that you need to sign a medical release form that allows them to obtain medical records regarding the crash. What they won’t tell you, however, is that when you sign that medical release form, they will have access to all of your past, current, and future medical records, and they don’t have to tell you what records they receive. They can also speak to your doctor without informing you. They can then use any of that information against you.
Along with medical release forms, be wary of signing any employment record release forms, wage loss forms, accident statement forms, or any general releases. The adjuster might make it seem like giving them access to records or statements will help them properly evaluate your claim, but they can use your records against you if you give them full access. It’s safer to have an attorney look at any forms before you sign them.
Trap #4: Stalling or Avoiding You
Insurance adjusters may even try to stall settling your claim or even avoid you altogether. There are a couple of reasons why they might use this tactic.
One reason is to try and run out the statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations on car accident claims is typically two years. Insurance adjusters may ignore your calls and delay your settlement because when your claim reaches that two-year deadline, they won’t have to pay you the money you’re owed. Many times, we see this in claims where treatment is over a longer period as the client has nagging or more severe injuries. They love to continue asking for additional information so they can “fully evaluate” the claim. Oftentimes, this is simply a delay tactic as they have zero use for the requested materials.
Adjusters will also delay or avoid discussing your claim in hopes you get frustrated and settle for a percentage of the claim’s full value. For an insurance adjuster, time is on their side. The longer they wait, the the medical bills can begin to stack up along with collection notices, witnesses remember less, evidence isn’t preserved, and more wages are lost by the victim. For a car accident victim, dealing with this is frustrating. If a car crash victim is having to pay for their treatment out of pocket, they might not be able to afford continuing treatment after a while. Insurance adjusters will either use the fact that the victim stopped treatment against them to hurt their credibility or hope that they crack and take less money than they deserve.
Trap #5: Claiming You Don’t Need an Attorney
At Snellings Law, all we do is help injury victims. This is not just one of our practice areas, but our sole passion. Our team of lawyers will fight to make sure you get the treatment you need and the full settlement you deserve. You won’t have to worry about falling into these traps because we talk to the adjusters for you. Snellings Law isn’t just a personal injury firm—we’re a team that works for YOU. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, give us a call to set up a free strategy session to discuss your claim.
Why You Should Hire Snellings Law to Handle Your Car Accident Claim
At Snellings Law, we have the knowledge and expertise needed to deal with insurance adjusters. Our team of lawyers will fight to make sure you get the treatment you need and the full settlement you deserve. You won’t have to worry about falling into these traps because we talk to the adjusters for you to ensure they are fair with your settlement. Snellings Law isn’t just a personal injury firm—we’re a team that works for YOU. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, give us a call to set up a free strategy session to discuss your claim.
Free Strategy Session Reveals How To Avoid the Traps Insurance Companies Set for Victims to Destroy Claims.
How it works:
- Call us now or give us your basic information in the Free Strategy Session box
- If your case is something we cannot help you with, we will do our best to get you the information of someone who can.
- If we can potentially help you, we will schedule a Free Strategy Session
There is zero obligation. We want all injury victims to understand their rights and the process.
After your Free Strategy Session, you will understand where insurance companies can set traps for you and what needs to be done to avoid these traps. You will also understand the personal injury process as well as how we can help, or if you need the help of an attorney. The strategy session typically will have one of three outcomes. You:
- Decide to move forward with our law firm.
- Decide to think about it, and we will be available to answer your questions.
- Say, “I’ve got this,” and decide you do not need an attorney.
Again, there is zero obligation and you will be informed and understand your rights and the process. We want to arm you with knowledge to avoid the traps insurance companies set to harm your claim.
Involved in a car accident and not sure how to file your claim? Check out the video below to get started: