Getting into a car accident can be a scary and confusing experience for drivers and passengers. However, vehicle accidents happen regularly in and around the Chicago area. When a vehicle crash does occur, those involved can expect to have to deal with insurance carriers soon after the incident happens. Regardless of which party was at fault for the car accident, you can be sure that insurance claims adjusters will be calling very soon after the incident. It is vital that you understand how to deal with car accident claims adjusters. These adjusters have one goal in mind – to limit the amount of money the insurer pays for a claim.
What should you not say to an insurance adjuster?
When you are called by an insurance claims adjuster for the other party involved in the accident, you should know that they will likely be incredibly friendly. We want you to understand that insurance claims adjusters are trained negotiators, and they will use various tactics to get you to say things that you would not otherwise say to an insurance carrier, including making you think they are your friend.
First, we want you to know that you do not have to give a recorded statement to an insurance claims adjuster. Illinois law does not require you to give a recorded statement, and you should refuse to give one if asked. If the insurance claims adjuster tries to make it seem like you have to give a recorded statement or you will not receive a settlement, this is simply not true. When you give a recorded statement to the insurance carrier, you need to know that anything you say to them could be used against you to deny your claim or reduce the settlement they offer.
You never want to admit fault to an insurance claims adjuster. Even if you are 100% sure that you caused the crash, you should not say that to the adjuster. Let the insurance carrier and the adjusters do their jobs. They need to conduct an investigation into the incident themselves in order to determine fault. Often, when people think they caused a crash, they may not realize that the other driver(s) involved were also partially to blame. However, as soon as you take the blame for the incident, it is very hard to walk that back. You could jeopardize receiving any compensation for the incident.
Do not engage in small talk with an insurance claims adjuster. Do you remember when we said these adjusters will be very friendly? They are friendly for a reason. The claims adjuster may even talk about your plans for the weekend or the latest sporting event that took place in town. If you let your guard down and accidentally admit to helping your child practice football (just an example), this could hurt your claim if you have told the insurance carrier that you sustained a leg injury in the accident.
How do you negotiate with a claims adjuster?
If you are expecting to receive a settlement in the aftermath of a car accident, you need to know that the first settlement offer made by the insurance carrier is likely going to be far below what you should be receiving. If you have not already done so at this point, you may need to speak with an experienced Chicago car accident attorney who can handle negotiating with the insurance claims adjuster for you. At this point, you should have gathered all of your medical expenses, proof of lost income, and proof of any out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred. You will use this information to present the insurance carrier with a “demand” for full payment. Never settle a claim before you have finished receiving medical treatment for your injuries. There is no way you can fully calculate your total losses until after you have reached maximum medical recovery.