Last Updated: 6/1/2023
Insurance companies are in business to make a profit and they would rather collect premiums than pay claims. The insurance adjustor may be nice to you but remember that the insurance adjustor is not on your side and is under no obligation to help you and is not even required under the law to tell you the truth.
If you are dealing with an insurance adjustor directly, instead of hiring an attorney, here are 8 things that you should consider:
Always tell the truth
The insurance adjustor’s biggest job is to pay you as little money as possible and get your case closed. They will not just take you at your word and will want documentation for your lost wages, medical care, and importantly any prior medical care that you have. If you forget about prior medical treatment that you have had or flat-out lie to the insurance adjustor, they will likely figure it out and reduce their offer to your accordingly.
Recorded statements to the other insurance company
You are generally not required to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company for the other party. If they insist on taking a statement from you, then you may want to agree to provide a statement, but that it not be recorded. It is common in workers’ compensation cases that the adjustor will want to hear from you during their investigation. You do have a duty to assist in the investigation of your claim or it could be denied for lack of cooperation or information. If you are going to provide a statement, recorded or not, then continue reading for more information and our online resource.
Recorded statements to your insurance company
If you end up making a claim against your own insurance company because, in a car accident case, the other driver does not have enough or no insurance at all, then you may be required by your insurance policy to give a recorded statement. Keep in mind that a recorded statement has the same weight as a deposition given under oath. If you are asked a question and do not understand it, make sure you speak up, so you don’t answer something incorrectly. Also, be very careful of questions like,
Have you ever had back pain before? This does not mean you have back pain at the time of the injury, but rather in your entire lifetime. If you were to answer no and it turns out you have been seeing a chiropractor on and off for years for back pain, then your credibility and most likely your case will be damaged.
For other information about what you should and should not do during a recorded statement go to www.DepoPrep.com which is an audio recording we have made for our clients to listen to before their depositions. Note: we are not giving you legal advice in the recording as this is informational only and we only give legal advice to our existing clients.
Do not try to hide prior accidents or injuries
Insurance companies have databases full of all the claims that everyone in the United States has previously made including property and personal injury damages. If you are not truthful about prior insurance company claims, this will not only raise a red flag in your file but also may hurt your case if you do not disclose this, if asked, during a recorded statement.
Insurance adjusters handle hundreds of files every year and do not have the time for small talk and generally do not want to hear your opinions concerning most things and it may hurt your case. For example, if you have had problems at home that do not relate to your injury claims, then it is not a good idea to bring those problems up. The insurance adjuster is trained to look for things that could reduce the value of your case and if you are having issues with your spouse or children, they will try to blame part of your problems on that instead of your injuries. Therefore, you should be matter of fact which means sticking to the facts of your case and provide the information they ask about and stop. Volunteering information can hurt your case. Also, it is a bad idea to get angry at an insurance adjuster. If you get angry with the insurance adjustor and make threats, then chances are they will reduce the value of your case because they will know that you are easy to get riled up and this would likely hurt you in front of a judge or jury. Try to keep calm, cool, and collected. If you do get upset while talking in person or on the telephone, tell the adjustor that you need a few minutes and step out of the room or tell them you will call the adjustor back later.
What is your statute of limitations?
You should know how long you still have to bring on a claim. Under Iowa law, it is generally 2 years from the date you were injured, but there are exceptions to this such as
if you were hit by a drunk driver, you only have 180 days to provide notice to the bar,
if you were hurt at work and received weekly benefits then your statute may be longer than 2 years, etc.
If you are not familiar with the Iowa laws that apply to your case, then you should at the very least contact a qualified attorney to ask. We provide confidential no cost consultations to potential clients and will explain what the statute of limitations is in your case. Just call 641-792-3595 and ask for your no-cost injury consultation.
Attempting to settle on your own?
If you are attempting to settle a case on your own, you need to make sure that you understand that chances are you are giving up all rights to future compensation and medical care in exchange for a sum of money today. Also, you need to make sure that you understand all the terms and that they are in writing. For example, if you were in a car crash, you need to know who is going to pay for your medical bills and which specific medical bills are to be paid. If your health insurance has paid for some or all your medical bills who is going to pay your health insurance back? This is what is called subrogation and failing to address it in a settlement can result in you being required to pay your health insurance back out of your pocket.
When should you try to settle?
It is a very bad idea to wait until the last minute to try to settle your case with the insurance company. You are not going to put pressure on the insurance company by waiting, but rather you will put more pressure on you. Waiting can create several problems and can cost you thousands of dollars and sometimes your entire case. Most qualified Iowa injury attorneys will want at least 120 days before your statute expires so they have time to investigate your case, make sure they know who all the proper parties are, prepare the documents to file the case, etc. If you try to negotiate your case at the very end and are not successful, then you may have a very difficult time finding an attorney who will take your case with only a few weeks before your statute expires.
There are many more things that you should know if you have a claim. If you have specific questions about your injury matter feel free to call our office to speak with our injury team at 641-792-3595 or use our Live Chat feature by clicking here 24 hours a day/7 days per week. Your information will remain confidential and there is no cost or obligation.