So you’ve just been in a car accident. The dust is settling, and everyone is okay, but now you have to deal with the insurance companies. The insurance adjuster will call you soon to get your statement. This is not a casual chat with a friend. Everything you say can affect your claim.
Before that call comes in, here are a few things you need to know about what not to say to the insurance adjuster after an accident. The conversation may feel routine, but your words have power. One little slip up admitting fault or downplaying injuries, and your claim could be denied or your offer reduced.
Stay calm and be careful. Your post-accident statement is not the time to get chatty or speculate. Stick to the facts about what happened, focus on any injuries, and avoid these common phrases that could put your claim in jeopardy. The adjuster may seem friendly, but they are not on your side.
Don’t Admit Fault or Accept Blame
Whatever you do, don’t tell the insurance adjuster the accident was your fault. Admitting fault or accepting blame can seriously hurt your claim, no matter how at fault you think you are. Let the adjuster determine liability.
Avoid saying things like:
- “I wasn’t paying attention and rear-ended the other driver.”
- “I took my eyes off the road for a second and swerved into the other lane.”
- “I should have stopped sooner, but my brakes didn’t seem to be working right.”
Instead, stick to the facts about what happened, leaving determinations of fault out of it. For example, say, “The other vehicle stopped suddenly, and I couldn’t brake in time,” rather than “I hit the other car because I was following too closely.” Describe the events objectively and let the insurance company decide who’s at fault based on the details.
Don’t Exaggerate Your Injuries or Damages
Don’t exaggerate your injuries or damages to the insurance adjuster. They’ve seen it all before and will likely see right through it.
When describing your injuries, stick to the facts. Tell the adjuster exactly what happened and how you felt immediately after the accident. Did you experience pain in your neck or back? Did you feel dizzy or nauseous? Be honest, but don’t embellish – the medical records and doctor’s notes will determine the severity of your injuries.
The same goes for your vehicle. Provide photos of the damages, but don’t claim that the entire car is destroyed if it’s still drivable. Overstating the damage could be considered fraud and jeopardize your entire claim.
Once you provide the initial details of the accident and your injuries or vehicle damage, stick to that story. Don’t suddenly claim new injuries or discover more severe vehicle damage later on. Changing or exaggerating the details will make you appear dishonest and damage your credibility.
Don’t Lie or Mislead the Adjuster
Don’t Lie or Mislead the Adjuster
Whatever you do, don’t lie to or mislead the insurance adjuster. They will likely find out the truth eventually, and it will only end up hurting your claim.
- Be honest about the details of the accident. Explain exactly what happened leading up to and during the collision. Lying will damage your credibility and reflect poorly on you.
- Don’t exaggerate or overstate any injuries or vehicle damage. While you want to recover fully for legitimate losses, fraudulently inflating costs or claims is illegal.
- Admit your fault if you made a mistake. Taking responsibility for your actions shows integrity and will make you appear more trustworthy. The adjuster may be more inclined to accept other details of your claim.
- Don’t withhold any information relevant to the claim. Share police reports, photos, witness contact details, and anything else pertaining to the accident. Withholding evidence undermines your credibility.
- Don’t speculate or guess. Only provide details you know for certain. Saying “I think” or “Maybe it was…” introduces doubt and uncertainty. Stick to the facts.
- Ask questions if you’re unsure of something. It’s better to ask for clarification than to provide incorrect information, even if by accident. The adjuster would rather you ask questions to get the details right.
In summary, be transparent, forthcoming, and truthful in all of your communications with the insurance adjuster. Honesty and accuracy are the best policies when filing an insurance claim. Lying or misleading the adjuster is considered fraud and will only create bigger issues down the road.
Don’t Agree to a Recorded Statement Without Consulting a Lawyer
When speaking with an insurance adjuster after an accident, there are certain things you should avoid saying at all costs. The biggest one is:
An insurance adjuster may ask to record your statement about the events surrounding the accident. Politely decline this request. Anything you say can be used against you to limit or deny your claim. Consult with an experienced car accident attorney before giving a recorded statement. They can advise you on what information to provide and help ensure your rights are protected.
Giving a recorded statement too soon can undermine your claim in several ways:
- Your memory of events may still be unclear, leading you to make contradictory or mistaken statements.
- You may not yet realize the full extent of your injuries or damages or understand how to properly convey their severity.
- Adjusters are trained to ask leading questions and get you to say things that weaken your claim. A lawyer can prepare you for this and be present during the statement.
- Once a statement is recorded, it can be difficult to amend or retract it if needed. It’s best to wait until you have a full, accurate sense of the situation.
Rather than rushing into a recorded statement, tell the adjuster you wish to deal with the claim in writing at this time. Your attorney can then review any written correspondence before it is submitted, ensuring it does not compromise your legal rights or the validity of your claim. While the adjuster may press for a quick statement, don’t feel obligated to provide one. Protecting yourself legally is the top priority here.
Don’t Negotiate a Settlement Without Understanding Your Rights
After an accident, the insurance adjuster will likely try to get you to settle quickly for a low amount. They may pressure you to sign paperwork to finalize a settlement before you fully grasp what you’re entitled to. Avoid settling too soon.
You have rights as an accident victim, and you deserve fair compensation. Settlement amounts should cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related expenses. Don’t feel rushed into accepting an offer that won’t make you whole again.
Insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to save money. They may offer you a lowball settlement in hopes you’ll take it, even if it’s not enough. Research to understand the average settlement range for your type of accident and injuries. Get multiple opinions from medical professionals to properly value the full impact of your injuries and projected recovery time.
Reach Out To an Experienced Port St. Lucie Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident in Port Lucie, Florida, it’s normal to feel shaken up and confused. The insurance adjuster may try to take advantage of your vulnerable state to get you to accept a lowball settlement offer or say something that hurts your claim. Before speaking with them, contact an experienced car accident lawyer serving Port St. Lucie. At Frankl Kominsky, we understand what you’re going through and will advocate for you.
Speaking with an insurance adjuster alone after an accident often does more harm than good. Let an experienced accident lawyer handle communications with the insurance company. We have your best interests in mind and will advocate aggressively to get you the maximum settlement possible. Call us today at (561) 800-8000.