How Do I Deal With the Insurance Company After My Accident?
If you were recently involved in a car accident in Texas, you will likely be filing an insurance claim to obtain compensation for your losses. When you file an auto insurance claim in Texas, this means you will need to deal with an insurance adjuster.
Even if you have been a customer of your auto insurance company for years or even decades, it is essential to keep in mind that the insurance company is not on your side in this car accident case. The adjuster works for the insurance company, and the insurer’s goal is to pay as little as possible in your motor vehicle collision claim. As such, anything you say to the adjuster can be used against you.
Don’t be fooled; the insurance company has no intention of treating you fairly. When an insurance company says their insured is at-fault or that they are accepting responsibility for the collision, this just means that they are going to look for other ways to pay you as little as possible. You will likely hear that they are only accepting part of your care, the medical care was too expensive, the care was due to a pre-existing condition and not as a result of your car accident, or some other reason why your car wreck claim is worth less than what is fair. In fact, the biggest fight or dispute in most car accident cases centers around the value of your damages. Insurance companies are particularly unfair when addressing damages.
What Does Car Accident “Liability” Mean and Why Do Insurance Companies Accept It?
After a car accident, you must show that it wasn’t your fault (or at least that you weren’t primarily at fault) and that you were injured as a result of the collision. If you were injured, you will have several different types of damages including past and future medical bills, past and future wage loss, past and future pain and suffering, and other types of damages. You and your car accident lawyer need to understand the law that applies to your car accident claim and plan to make sure that the totality of your harms and losses is taken into account in the settlement.
9 Tips for Dealing with an Insurance Adjuster
What do you need to know about dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident? Below are nine tips for dealing with an insurance adjuster in Texas. If you have additional questions or need assistance with an auto insurance claim, an experienced car accident lawyer can help.
1. Understand That the Insurance Adjuster Is Not Your Advocate and Is Not on Your Side
When you first get in touch with the auto insurance company to report the accident, you will likely learn that an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case and will assess the damage from the crash. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the insurance adjuster is on your side. As we mentioned above, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company—they are not advocates for you.
When you enter into the insurance claims process understanding that the insurance adjuster is not on your side, you are less likely to offer information or to accept statements from the insurance adjuster that could result in you receiving a lower settlement than you deserve.
Just because the adjuster says that they are going to accept liability doesn’t mean that they are going to pay you fairly.
2. Gather as Much Evidence as Possible for Your Auto Insurance Claim
When you gather evidence at the scene of the accident, such asphotographs of physical damage as well as witness statements, the insurance adjuster is less likely to present a scenario of the crash that contradicts the evidence you have in your possession.
3. Stick to the Facts of the Case When Speaking with an Adjuster
As we mentioned above, the insurance adjuster is not your advocate and is not on your side. As such, you must be very careful about what you say to the insurance adjuster when communicating your claim. While there are certain questions that you will need to answer, you should be sure to stick to the facts of the case.
For example, the insurance adjuster might ask questions like, “how do you think this damage occurred?” or “how did the accident happen?”—do not respond until you have had a chance to speak with your lawyer. Do not offer your opinion about how the accident occurred, and do not offer any other subjective information. Any subjective information that needs to come out in the case can be handled by your personal injury lawyer.
It is also important to remember that you are not a medical expert and, thus, you should not give medical opinions. If you have had treatment, then the adjuster can look at the medical records to see what your injuries are.
4. Do Not Agree to Make a Recorded Statement until You Have Spoken with a Car Accident Lawyer
Just as you should stick to the facts—and avoid offering your opinion—when speaking with an insurance adjuster, you should also avoid making a recorded statement until you have discussed your case with a Texas car accident attorney. Insurance companies often try to get claimants to admit to certain facts or to offer opinions that can hurt their claim. If you make a recorded statement that undermines your case, it can be very difficult to obtain the compensation you deserve.
5. Do Not Offer Information to the Adjuster without Being Asked
We already mentioned that you should stick to the facts of your case and that you should decline to make a recorded statement until you have spoken with an experienced personal injury lawyer. In addition, you should not offer up any information to the adjuster without being asked.
At the same time, if you are viewing your damaged vehicle with the adjuster, you might be inclined to make small talk. Avoid any discussions outside the objective facts of the case.
6. Understand that the Insurance Adjuster is a Negotiator
The insurance adjuster wants to keep costs down for the insurance company and is trained in negotiation. As such, you should be aware that any initial comments made by the adjuster about the likely value of your claim could simply be negotiating tactics that are designed to encourage you to accept a low-ball settlement offer.
7. Never Agree to a First Offer from the Insurance Company
Insurance adjusters want to keep costs down, as we mentioned. As such, you should treat an initial offer as only the first of multiple offers in the negotiation process. When the insurance adjuster makes an initial offer, she or he is betting that you will come back with a counteroffer and that the insurer will pay much more than the initial offer. If you accept an initial offer, you are likely taking less than you could have received.
8. Learn More About What Your Claim is Worth
Knowing what your claim is worth can help to ensure that you do not accept a low-ball settlement offer. A Texas personal injury attorney can work with experts to properly value your claim.
9. Always Work with an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
You should always have an attorney on your side when you are dealing with an insurance adjuster. A good car accident lawyer will advocate for you and your right to compensation and can negotiate with the insurance adjuster, relying upon years of experience in the insurance claims process.
Speak With Our Board-Certified Car Accident Attorneys Today
Were you injured in a serious car crash caused by a negligent driver? Have you filed an insurance claim to seek compensation for your losses? Our aggressive car accident attorneys in Houston, TX can work with you on your case today.
We have years of experience handling car accident claims negotiations, and we can work to ensure that you get a fair settlement. Contact Sutliff & Stout to learn more about our experience handling car accident claims throughout Texas.