5 Things You Should Not Say to Car Insurance Adjusters
When you have been injured in an incident that was not your fault, you must be careful about what you say to the insurance adjusters. This is true whether you are simply filing a claim through your own insurance policy or if you are making a demand against the at-fault driver’s insurer. That’s because insurance companies are for-profit businesses that have a vested interest in paying out as little as they can get away with. If you say the wrong thing to an insurance adjuster, you could lose a lot of money and possibly have your claim denied. That’s a mistake you can’t afford to make.
At Stewart Law Offices, we have been helping injured South Carolinians navigate the insurance settlement process for more than 25 years. Keep reading to learn the five things you should never say to an insurance adjuster – and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help from an experienced personal injury attorney in Rock Hill.
1. Do Not Admit Fault
You do not want to say anything to an insurance adjuster that could be taken as an admission of fault. To recover compensation, you’ll need to show that someone else was responsible for your injuries. If you admit fault for the accident, even if you say you are only partly responsible for what happened, your claim could be drastically reduced in value or denied outright.
Some key phrases to avoid saying to an insurance adjuster include:
- “I’m sorry.”
- “It was all/partly my fault.”
- “I did not see the other person/driver.”
An important thing to understand about the fault is how it can be split between multiple parties. Under South Carolina’s comparative negligence rules, you can recover compensation for your injuries as long as your portion of fault for the accident is 50 percent or less.
However, if you are found partly at fault for your injuries, the compensation you receive will be reduced in accordance with your degree of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault for an accident, you would lose 20 percent of whatever compensation you are awarded. While these rules technically only bind the courts, insurance companies make decisions based on what they think would happen at trial. If an insurer’s legal team thinks it could prove you are 20 percent at fault in a trial, they’ll factor that into whatever settlement figure they offer you.
To maximize your potential compensation in a personal injury case, you must avoid saying anything that could potentially implicate you in the accident.
2. Do Not Minimize Personal Injuries to Adjuster
When discussing your injuries with an insurance adjuster, you need to walk a fine line. You do not want to exaggerate your injuries. Doing so could call your whole case into question and jeopardize your ability to get any compensation at all. However, you need to account for all the injuries you have suffered and the pain you are in.
Trying to “tough it out” after an accident or downplaying your symptoms can backfire. For one thing, the full extent of your injuries may not be apparent yet. If you downplay your injuries early on, the insurance company may doubt you later if your symptoms become more serious. Also, you have the right to seek compensation for all your injuries and should absolutely exercise that right. Minimizing your injuries only hurts you in the long run.
3. Do Not Describe Your Injuries
The best way to avoid minimizing or exaggerating your injuries after an accident is simply not to talk about them with an insurance adjuster. If an insurance adjuster asks you to describe your injuries in detail, you can refer them to your car accident lawyer.
Also, you should not let an insurance company look at your medical records directly. If you give an adjuster a blanket records release, they can go through your entire medical history and look for information to weaken your case. For example, you could have a pre-existing condition or prior injury that the insurance company claims impacts your more recent injuries. Do not give the insurance company any ammunition to use against you. Instead, let your lawyer present your case in the strongest way possible.
4. Do Not Hypothesize What Happened During the Accident
When describing an accident to an insurance adjuster, do not say anything beyond what you experienced directly. You do not want to speculate about what happened because you could accidentally blame yourself. The insurance company could then have a good excuse to reduce your compensation.
You do not have to answer questions you are unsure about. If you do not know exactly what happened or cannot give a definitive answer about some aspect of the case, it is perfectly fair for you to say, “I don’t know.”
5. Do Not Provide a Recorded Statement
Do not agree to let an insurance adjuster record your statement. It is far too easy to make a mistake you can’t take back. If your statement is on the record, it could come back to haunt you. Your better option is to submit a statement in writing about what happened in the crash, as a written statement gives you more control over what you say. Also, your attorney can review the statement before you submit it to make sure nothing you’ve said could hurt your case.
Having Trouble with an Insurance Company After an Accident? Contact an Accident Lawyer in Rock Hill Now
Dealing with insurance companies on behalf of accident victims and helping them recover maximum compensation is what we do at Stewart Law Offices. If you have been injured in an accident and an insurance company is pestering you, contact us immediately for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Rock Hill.