The Iowa Department of Transportation reports that there were 49,798 traffic accidents in the state in 2013. If you were one of the tens of thousands of people involved in an accident each year throughout the state, you might be wondering how to deal with an insurance adjuster.
One of the first people you’ll talk to after reporting your accident to your insurance company and that of the other party (if that party is to blame for the accident) is an insurance adjuster. It’s important to know which questions to ask the adjuster and what not to say. Below are a few things to avoid saying to the adjuster.
“It was my fault.”
Not admitting fault is one of the most important parts of talking with the insurance adjuster. Even if you believe it was your fault, hold off on saying so until you know more about the accident. Depending on the details of the accident, you might not be aware that another driver ran a stop sign or drifted into your lane, for example.
If you admit you were speeding a little bit, were a little distracted, weren’t wearing your glasses, or are sorry about what happened, the insurance adjuster may use that against you. He or she might argue that these behaviors contributed to the accident, even in part, when, in fact, the other driver was fully or mostly to blame.
Try to avoid guessing about what happened. Provide only the details of which you’re sure. Give the adjuster your name, contact and insurance information, location and time of the accident, and the broad details (the other driver struck me from behind, the other driver side-swiped me, etc.).
If pressed for more specific details, inform the insurance adjuster that you will provide him with more details at a later time, preferably with the assistance of an attorney. Make sure any statements you give are true and do not lie.
The insurance adjuster will probably offer you a settlement amount pretty quickly. And it will probably be too low. It might be tempting to accept the settlement so you can start paying bills and replacing your lost wages while you’re recovering.
But if you settle too early and for an amount that is too low, the settlement might not fully cover all of your damages. Wait until you understand the full extent of your injuries and damages. Your attorney can negotiate a settlement that is fair.
“I don’t have an attorney.”
If you suffered serious injuries or extensive damages, get legal help from an attorney. Your lawyer can not only help you better understand how to deal with insurance adjusters. He or she can deal with the adjuster for you in many cases, negotiating a fair settlement.
Described below are certain things you should and should not do when dealing with insurance adjusters. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your Iowa personal injury claim.
- DO get the insurance adjuster's name and contact information as well as the company they represent.
- DO give the insurance adjusters your full name and contact information.
- DO take notes.
- DO ask the adjuster if they have any witnesses to the accident in Iowa.
- DO be general when describing your injuries.
- DON'T agree to have the conversation recorded.
- DON'T discuss anything with insurance adjusters except the location of the accident in Iowa, the date and time the accident occurred and the type of accident (car, truck, motorcycle).
- DON'T agree to anything.
- DON'T sign anything.
- DON'T answer questions about your family.
- DON'T identify any witnesses.
- DON'T provide the name of your doctor.
It would also be a good idea to speak with a Personal injury lawyer before you speak with any insurance adjusters. Your personal injury lawyer can go over the details of your case, help determine who was negligent and, if appropriate, take steps to build a solid Iowa personal injury claim. With the help of your Newton personal injury lawyer, you might be able to pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings and pain and suffering.
Contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair for help building your case and negotiating a fair settlement. If you’ve been in a car accident in the Des Moines area, call us now at 888-435-9886.