After a car accident, you’ll have to negotiate your case with an insurance claims adjuster. Also called an insurance adjuster, claims representative, or insurance consultant, these employees go by various names, but they always have the same goal: to make your claim disappear as quickly and cheaply as possible.
In this article, we’ll talk about some common tactics insurance adjusters use to try and accomplish their goal, and we’ll also provide some tips that can help you prepare for and handle these tactics.
How Insurance Adjusters Operate
When a crash occurs and you file a claim with your insurance company, the claim lands on the desk of an insurance adjuster. The adjuster’s official job function is to decide how much the insurance company should pay you for that claim.
Insurance adjusters aren’t typically bad people, but they work under conditions that make it impossible for them to exercise compassion towards injured victims. Most adjusters have huge workloads of anywhere from 50 to 100 claims per month, and they also feel enormous pressure from their employer to minimize payments on claims. If the adjuster doesn’t do what the insurance company wants, then the company will find someone else who will, and the adjuster will lose their job.
To satisfy their employers, insurance adjusters often apply less-than-ethical practices and techniques to resolve each claim as quickly and cheaply as they can.
Here are six common tactics used by insurance adjusters along with information about how to avoid falling for these tricks.
Tactic #1: Looking for Inconsistencies in Your Story to Discredit You
Your insurance adjuster may ask for an official recorded statement from you describing the nature of your accident. They will use this statement as a tool to manipulate information and misrepresent the situation. For example, they might only ask you about your broken arm and not about your bruised ribs, then claim later that your ribs weren’t hurt in the wreck because you didn’t mention it in the recorded statement.
Remember that the adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money, and the more unreliable they can make you seem, the better off they will be.
Avoid the trap: Don’t give testimony to the insurance company without talking to a lawyer first. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you negotiate this conversation and act as a critical resource in a process designed to trip you up.
Tactic #2: Recording Your Conversations
Many insurance adjusters will call you immediately after a collision happens and ask to speak with you. These conversations are often recorded, and they’re designed to catch you off guard before you’ve evaluated the extent of your injuries and losses or had the chance to contact a lawyer. Any contradictions in your story or admissions of guilt will be used against you, even though you experienced trauma and may have even still been in shock when you gave the statement.
Avoid the trap: Refuse to speak to a claims agent without consulting a personal injury lawyer first.
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Tactic #3: Requesting Access to Your Medical Records
Your insurance adjuster will usually ask for a medical authorization to gain access to your personal medical records. The request might seem reasonable, but if you grant the request, you’ll give them access to all your medical records — even those from before the accident.
Once the adjuster has access to your records, they’ll look for any evidence that the pain you’re experiencing might come from a pre-existing condition and not the crash that injured you so they can avoid paying you fair compensation for your injuries.
Avoid the Trap: Don’t sign anything after a crash unless your attorney advises you to do so.
Tactic #4: Stalling and Avoidance
Between medical bills, missed time at work, and damaged property, medical bills can pile up fast after an accident. Insurance claims agents know this, and they’ll use the pressure you’re feeling to try and manipulate you into settling for less than you deserve. Often, the adjuster will delay your claim much as much as possible to make you desperate. They may dodge your calls, refuse to provide specific information about your policy limits, and avoid putting details in writing.
The adjuster’s goal with these tactics is to push you to the point where you’ll sign a lowball settlement offer just to get a little relief. But if you sign their settlement offer, that’s the end of your claim — you’ll never be able to go back and get more compensation for your injuries, no matter how bad things get.
Avoid the trap: Get as much information from your adjuster as you can in writing. If the adjuster needs to check with a supervisor, make sure you get a date when you’ll hear back from them, and then follow up if they miss that date. Also keep in mind that insurance companies are more likely to make a legitimate, reasonable settlement offer to victims who hire a lawyer.
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Tactic #5: Intimidation
Insurance adjusters are experts in the claims resolution process. Many adjusters handle 100 claims a month; meanwhile, for you, this is probably your first time dealing with an injury claim. Your insurance adjuster knows there’s a huge disparity between what they know about the claims process and what you know, and they’ll use this against you. They may say you’re not entitled to compensation and assure you that they’ve seen many cases like yours before, so they know how your claim will play out.
Avoid the trap: Claims adjusters may understand the claims process, but they have just minutes to spend on each case per day. They’re not experts on your claim, nor do they understand the details of your trauma and injuries. By hiring an experienced attorney to handle your claim, you can get someone on your side who understands how insurance claims work just as well as the adjuster and knows the facts of your claim much better.
Tactic #6: Pressuring You to Settle Without Consulting a Lawyer
Some claims adjusters will be so bold as to say that you won’t be eligible to collect benefits if you contact a lawyer or that you can’t afford to wait to seek legal counsel. This is the most unethical of all insurance adjuster tactics since it’s an outright lie.
Avoid the trap: You always have the right to consult an experienced personal injury attorney after a crash, especially when damages for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering are on the line. Getting advice from a lawyer will never damage your claim or reduce the amount of compensation you’re eligible to receive.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Fighting Against Insurance Adjuster Tactics on Behalf of Victims in Alabama
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we have experience handling complex Alabama car wreck claims with empathy and grit. We understand the true value of your claim, and we know when the insurance company is trying to take advantage of you. When you choose us to handle your claim, we’ll deal with the insurance company and fight aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you think an insurance claims adjuster is trying to deny you the compensation you deserve, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free, no-risk case assessment. To speak with an attorney from our team, fill out our convenient online contact form or call our offices at 251-888-8888.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.