- March 1, 2016
- Car Accidents
If you’ve been in an accident, one of the first phone calls you get will probably be from an insurance adjuster. They have a reputation for calling car accident victims immediately after a crash, in many cases when the victim is still being treated in the ER. While they may frame their call as though they are concerned and just want to check on you and see if you’re OK, they are generally looking for info they can use to minimize the severity of your claim. It is their job to do all they can, to make sure they pay out as little as possible for insurance claims.
This may be a (slight) exaggeration, but the truth is that insurance adjusters are difficult to deal with by design. They are overworked, underpaid, and given one mission: to save the insurance company money, not to compensate you fairly for your injuries, and your pain and suffering.
As an Asheville personal injury attorney, I’ve dealt with many insurance adjusters from a variety of different companies, big and small. Not everyone needs a lawyer to handle their accident claim. However, even if you don’t, keeping a few tips in mind may help you recover as much as you can from the insurance adjuster in charge of your case.
Send All Of Your Car Accident Documentation
Even if you think that the insurance adjuster already has your North Carolina accident report, your medical bills, or other documents, send these documents anyway. Scan them and email them so that you have a timestamp of what was sent and when. If you must fax, keep the confirmation report so that you can refer to the date and time you faxed it. Some documents the adjuster may request are:
- Accident reports
- Medical records related or unrelated to the accident
- Proof of your property damage
- Photographs of your injuries or property damage
- Wage verification statements from your employer
- Tax returns
Adjusters need all of this information to verify that you suffered the physical injuries and property damage you say you did. However, they also want to determine that your injuries or damage were not caused by previous accidents and that you actually lost the income you’re claiming you lost. Send all these documents promptly, even if you think it’s none of the insurance adjuster’s business. Without any one of the documents the adjuster requests, they may deny your claim.
Communicate With the Insurance Company in Writing
Keep a record of all your communications with an insurance company. The easiest way to do this is to communicate only through email. This way, you will have a record of all the information the adjuster has given you and the information that you have given them. When you communicate in writing, it limits the adjuster’s ability to twist your words out of context or to claim that you said something you never said.
Be Honest With the Adjuster
No one’s pre-accident life is 100% injury-free. If you have a messy medical history, such as a previous back or neck injury, it’s best to be honest about it instead of trying to hide this information. If you don’t think the adjuster will find out, you’re probably wrong. Remember, their job is to make sure you collect as little money as possible, and that process includes collecting as much data as possible about the accident and the injured parties.
Being dishonest an insurance adjuster can jeopardize your car accident claim. While you don’t have to disclose all your private health information, it’s best to be honest if asked about something specific.
Give the Insurance Adjuster Deadlines
Dealing with an insurance claim can be a long process. Adjusters often have large caseloads. They are also known to stall for time, especially if you’ve made a demand that’s higher than what they’re willing to pay.
It’s a waste of your time and theirs to call them every day. However, you can set deadlines at each stage of the process – whether they’re speaking to a supervisor about a counteroffer or you have asked for information that they need to follow up on. Tell them on what date you would like a response, preferably in an email, and follow up on that date.
Always Be Courteous and Professional
Insurance adjusters are human, and humans generally don’t like working with people who won’t play nice. It’s everyone’s instinct to get out the swords and armor when they think they might get screwed over, but getting emotional might cause you to say things that could hurt your claim. Your rudeness might get you the bare minimum when you’re really entitled to much more.
Speak to an Asheville Personal Injury Attorney If You’re Having Trouble with the Adjuster
If you’re still healing from your injuries or getting back to work, the last thing you have time for is communications with an insurance adjuster that are going nowhere. Much of what a good personal injury attorney does involves talking to insurance adjusters, which means they most likely have more experience than you do in handling claims, and have more tools at their disposal. Making this change could be invaluable if you’ve hit an impasse with the adjuster in charge of your claim.
Call today to discuss your case with us. We offer FREE initial consultations, where we’ll assess your case and advise you on the next steps to take. Contact us by email or phone today to talk about your Asheville car accident claim.
For more information, read our blog post entitled: What is Contributory Negligence in NC and how can it affect my case?