If a negligent driver causes you to suffer injuries in an auto accident in Florida, her insurance company will begin an investigation of your claim as soon as she notifies them of the collision.
An insurance adjuster is assigned to your case, and he may contact you even before you leave the hospital to interview you about how the collision occurred and your injuries.
Even when you did nothing wrong to cause the crash, you should be wary of talking to this person, because you could inadvertently say something that may weaken your claim.
Communicating With an Insurance Adjuster
Here are guidelines you should follow when dealing with the other driver’s insurance company:
- Remember: the adjuster isn't your friend. While the insurance adjuster may be a genuinely nice person and polite when you talk with him, he's still not on your side. His job as an adjuster is to uncover information that can be used to reduce or deny your claim.
- Don’t agree to a recorded statement. One of the first requests most adjusters have is for you to give a recorded statement. This recorded question and answer session is later transcribed into a written document. The adjuster may ask confusing questions to elicit responses that could be used against you. Even if you're super cautious, you could say something that you don't mean, especially if you're medicated because of your injuries. Recorded statements can be used against you in court but remember: you don't have to agree to give one to settle your case.
- Be aware of negative comments. When speaking with you, the insurance adjuster may make negative statements, such as you may be partially at fault, or your injuries aren't that serious. Keep in mind he's doing this to try to get you to question the strength of your claim and the amount of compensation you should receive.
- Don’t give details. Limit your conversations with the adjuster to avoid making statements that may raise issues during claim settlement. This includes not going into detail about the accident, your injuries, prior medical history, and prior claims. Let an experienced car accident attorney handle communications and negotiations for you.
- Beware of quick settlements. Here's another point in the process when your legal counsel will be a necessary advisor. The insurance adjuster may try to resolve your claim quickly. He may be doing this because the company recognizes you were seriously injured and wants to settle the case for less than you deserve. It's best to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement—this is either when you've recovered, or know a final prognosis about your condition—in order to settle. This assures all future expenses are included in the claim.
- Don’t sign a medical authorization. The adjuster needs your medical records before settling your claim, and will most likely ask you to sign a medical authorization for release of information. However, this blanket authorization may allow the insurance company to obtain all medical records. This information may prompt the adjuster to argue about your settlement. Let your lawyer provide the insurance company with only the case-pertinent medical records.
Call Us for Help
Your best strategy is to retain an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, and let him handle communications with the negligent driver's insurance company. Our skilled legal team has decades of experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims. To learn how we can help you, fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation.