Why You Should Never Talk to the Other Side's Insurance Adjuster After an Accident
Very often speaking with an insurance adjuster will kill your case. It is better to hire an attorney to do the talking for you.
I have been practicing law for almost twenty-nine years and I can’t tell you how many times I have had to tell potential clients that they have seriously damaged their case simply because they said too much to an insurance adjuster. Most of us are reasonable human beings and we expect to be treated in a reasonable matter by insurance adjusters. However, Insurance adjusters work for insurance companies; they do not work for you. It is their job to save money for the insurance company. They have no motivation to get you the most money possible. They are not your friend, even if they try to act like it.
I understand that right after an accident, you have to report it to your own insurance company, and if the at-fault driver does not have insurance then you have to make a claim against your own insurance company. If that is the case, then you do have to “cooperate” with your own insurance company. But you are under no legal obligation to talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster.
Most people do not know “the law”. They think that they have a good case and the other side will pay fair compensation. However, very often there are legal potholes and hurdles that must be navigated in order to obtain a fair settlement. Insurance adjusters will try to get you to step into these potholes when you give them a statement. Remember, everything you say is recorded and can be used against you later. You can give a 20 minute statement that supports you case entirely, except for one sentence. The adjuster will then cherry-pick that one sentence and use it against you. If the case does not settle and the insurance company forces you to go to trial, the insurance company attorney will literally take that sentence and blow it up to a six foot poster board and present it to the jury. I know, I represented insurance companies for over 18 years and that’s what I did, to much success.
Also, never sign a medical release for an insurance adjuster. They will be able to get all you past medical records and invade your privacy. Additionally, if they find one prior “similar” complaint of bodily injury, they may very well use it to deny or reduce your claim, even if it was not the same type of injury, a minor injury, or occurred several years ago and healed.
As a bottom line, it is always best to contact an attorney if you are injured in any type of accident. They can tell you how to proceed and also act as a filter between you and the other person’s insurance company. Although the following is from a criminal case, I think it applies equally in a civil case: “Everything you say can, and will be used against you in a court of law.” Act accordingly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Norman Miller, Personal Injury Attorney
Norman Miller has been practicing law for over 29 years. He began his legal career in the public sector, working for the Jones County District Attorney's Office, and later the Fulton County Solicitor's Office, where he obtained invaluable trial experience prosecuting criminal cases.
In 1989, Mr. Miller began representing major insurance companies such as Liberty Mutual, Wausau, One Beacon and Prudential, adding 18 years of experience defending personal injury cases. Mr. Miller knows how insurance companies and their adjusters operate and knows how to get an optimum settlement for you. If your case should need to go to trial, Mr. Miller has tried more than 100 jury trials in his career, with a success rate of well over 90%.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.