If you happen to go through the experience of filing an accident claim,
consider a few tips for talking to an insurance adjuster. Read on to learn
about the laws surrounding insurance claims to protect your rights whilst
making a claim.
What Insurance Adjusters Want
- investigate accident sites;
- conduct interviews;
record statements; and
- initiate investigations to determine their employer’s liability.
In most situations, it is in the insurance company’s interest to
resolve potential claims quickly because by doing so they can often pay
out to the injured party before he or she has time to determine if future
medical treatments are required (that the insurance company would then
have to fund). Adjusters often facilitate early settlements by casting
doubt on the credibility of the individual’s injury claim.
Rules to Follow When Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
There are a few general rules for talking with insurance adjusters that
apply to almost all cases and can help victims filing a claim protect
themselves from giving away their rights.
Some of these rules for talking to insurance adjusters are:
- Be polite: Claimants only cause more stress for themselves if they let
their emotions control their interactions with adjusters. Do not allow
yourself to get angry and frustrated in what can be a very frustrating process.
- Give your name, address and phone number: These are the only bits of personal
information you need to give insurance companies.
- You only need to speak in generalities: Do not name specific witnesses
or give away specific diagnoses that you receive. It is enough to say
that your back is injured or there were some witnesses, for example. In
time you will reveal all of this information, but talk to an attorney
before disclosing any specific information.
- Do not sign anything until you understand what you’re signing: Often
adjusters claim that forms are “routine” when they actually
waive your rights to medical or personal privacy. Again, talk to your
attorney before signing anything.
How are conversations with insurance adjusters viewed in court?
In Virginia, “in an action to recover for a personal injury or death
by wrongful act or neglect, no ex parte affidavit or statement in writing
other than a deposition, after due notice, of a witness and no extrajudicial
recording made at any time” may be used to contradict a witness’s
testimony (Va. Code Ann. Sec 8.01-404).
In some cases, creative insurance defense lawyers have found a way to get
around this restriction and use initial statements from victims to contradict
the victim’s testimony. Claimants still need to protect themselves
when communicating with adjusters, and note that this only applies to
The Barrera Law Firm is prepared to give more specific legal advice and
information regarding how to talk to insurance adjusters, how to handle
claims and how it all applies to your case.