An insurance adjuster is a representative from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. After you file a claim, the adjuster will contact you about the accident. They are looking for facts about the case to determine whether you are entitled to a settlement and for what amount.
Although it is important to be honest with the insurance adjuster, during the initial call, you might not have enough information about your injuries or other damages to provide accurate statements. Thus, if you talk about the details of your case at this point, the adjuster might make a settlement offer lower than necessary.
When the adjuster first calls you, provide basic information about the accident, but don’t discuss it too much. If you are worried about how your statements might impact your case, contact a personal injury attorney to help you through the process.
At Rourke and Blumenthal LLC, we deliver skilled legal counsel to those injured in accidents in Columbus and the surrounding areas. Schedule a consultation with us by calling (614) 321-3212 or submitting an online contact form today.
What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do?
An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company you have filed a claim with. Their job is to investigate your case and decide whether the insurer should pay for damages you sustained. They may also determine the amount of compensation you should get.
When assessing your case, the adjuster may:
- Interview witnesses,
- Visit the scene of the accident,
- Read the police report,
- Review photos/videos of the accident scene, and
- Examine other information relevant to the accident.
The insurance adjuster will also contact you within a couple of days after filing your claim. During their conversation with you, they are looking for information about the accident. They may ask questions about where and when it happened and who was involved. The adjuster may even inquire about injuries you suffered.
Having your side of the story heard and considered is important. Also important is being honest and accurate with the adjuster. However, in the early days after your accident, it may be in your best interests not to go into too much detail about what happened. Providing basic information about the date, location, and vehicles involved is fine, but an extensive discussion about the incident could harm your case.
Give Limited Details About Your Accident
During the initial call with the adjuster, limit what you say about the damages you sustained. Being sparing about the details isn’t meant to be evasive. It is intended to protect you from receiving a lower settlement than you deserve.
In the days after your accident, you might not know the full extent of your injuries or damage to your vehicle. If you leave something out, the insurance company's settlement might not cover all your expenses or losses.
If you give too much information, you might inadvertently say something that can be used to pin some of the blame on you. Because Ohio is a comparative negligence state, being even partly responsible for an accident can cause your compensation amount to be reduced by the proportion of your fault.
Let the insurance adjuster know that you are still reviewing the case, getting treatment, and identifying all damages you incurred. When you submit your demand letter to the insurer, you can include the details of the accident and will have a better idea of what your case is worth.
Refrain from Immediately Accepting an Initial Offer
After their investigation and contacting you a couple of times, the insurance adjuster might make a settlement offer. Although it may be tempting to take the offer, doing so too soon in your case could hinder your ability to pay for damages you sustained.
The initial offer might not consider the extent of your injuries, how much medical care you’ll need, or how long you’ll have to be out of work. Therefore, it may be less than what you’ll need for future expenses or losses. Signing the settlement check means you waive your right to pursue compensation through a lawsuit. In other words, you can’t ask for more money after you accept the offer.
Speak with an Attorney
Conversations with an insurance adjuster can be tense. You might be afraid of saying too much or too little, which could affect the financial recovery you receive.
Fortunately, you can have a lawyer speak to the adjuster on your behalf. Having someone working for you who regularly deals with insurance companies can relieve you of some of the burdens or reservations you might be feeling when an adjuster initially contacts you.