If you were hurt in a car accident caused by another driver, don't be surprised if his insurance company calls within days of your collision—sometimes even while you're still in the hospital.
It's crucial to understand why the insurance adjuster is contacting you and how to talk to him to avoid mistakes that might hurt your claim.
Why the Insurance Company Is Calling You
An insurance adjuster has a duty to the company to investigate the crash before offering you a settlement, and one reason he would call you is to review the details of your claim. However, some adjusters are also looking for information that might factor into a decision to not pay the compensation you're entitled to under Missouri or Kansas law—or prompt denial of your claim.
So when an adjuster calls, he might want to:
- Ask you to provide detailed information about how the accident occurred and your injuries that may be inconsistent with other statements you made.
- Convince you to give a recorded statement, which is a question and answer session later transcribed into a written document that can be used in settlement negotiations and your trial. Even if you did nothing wrong, you could inadvertently say something that weakens your case.
- Have you sign a blanket authorization for medical records that gives the insurance carrier access to all your medical records and allows it to look for information to reduce or deny your claim.
- Extend a quick settlement for less compensation than you deserve. You should never agree to settle your case until you fully recover or receive a final prognosis from your doctor, and review your legal rights with an experienced car accident lawyer.
How to Handle a Call From the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company
Unfortunately, you may not be able to avoid talking to an adjuster in the days following your accident. Here's what to do:
- Remain polite and calm.
- Ask for the adjuster's contact information and your claim number.
- Provide only limited personal information, such as your name, address, telephone number, and place of employment.
- Only give basic facts about the car accident, like the date, place, and location where it occurred. Don't offer a detailed accounting of how the crash occurred—even if you know the other driver was 100 percent at fault.
- Don't provide details about your injuries. The reality is that you won't know enough about the severity of your condition, the treatments you need, and whether you'll recover until weeks or longer after your crash.
- Politely decline to give a recorded statement.
- Don't allow a blanket medical release or any other documents.
- Refuse to accept a quick settlement of your case or any other offer without consulting with a lawyer.
- Clarify with the adjuster that you'll have your attorney contact him, then let your lawyer take over communications with the company. If you don't have a lawyer, we can help.
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