When you’re looking for a resolution after an accident, you might want to share your plight with anyone who will listen. However, some of the people who inquire about your injuries may not be on your side. When insurance adjusters call, you need to know how to protect yourself. Quality accident lawyers in Houston, TX can help you answer adjuster questions without undermining your case.
Why Are Insurance Adjusters Calling Me?
Whenever an accident occurs, insurance companies for both drivers are called upon to pay up for damages and injuries. Of course, insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business very long if they paid out whenever and whatever someone made in a request. Instead, they use adjusters to determine what they believe to be an appropriate pay-out amount, if any.
While this is necessary and reasonable to protect everyone who depends on the insurance company having the money they need when the unexpected happens (think of it like a bank hiring security guards), adjusters will often be seeking to limit the company’s expenses by denying or reducing claims as much as possible. Sometimes these reductions, or even outright denials, are underhanded and completely unreasonable.
When an adjuster from another insurance company calls you, they’re often looking for ways to poke holes in your case. It can be as simple as getting you to admit that you’re partially responsible for the accident or as complex as questioning your entire medical history. Whatever their tactics, you can rest assured that they aren’t calling because they want to help, and anything you say can and will be used against you when it comes time to settle up.
Whose Adjuster Is It?
Knowing which adjuster you’re speaking with can certainly change the tone of the conversation, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Even your own adjuster may not have your best interests at heart if they are looking for reasons not to pay out. Whether you’re at fault or not, they may be seeking reasons not to cover your personal injuries by downplaying the seriousness of the situation. Keep this in mind regardless of which adjuster has called you.
What Should I Do When Insurance Adjusters Call Me in Houston, TX?
The simplest answer to this question is that you should tell them you are not ready to speak with them until you have a chance to speak with your lawyer. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that they will stop calling. In fact, many victims complain that adjusters continue to call them over and over until they give in. Whenever possible, end the conversation promptly and remind them that you are seeking legal counsel, or ask them to contact your insurance company directly if they need further information.
Another problem many people face is not knowing who the adjuster is working for or believing that the adjuster is an official who has a right to your time. The truth is that the adjuster is working for the insurance company’s best interests. They are not legal officials, and you are not required to answer their questions at any time.
What You Can Tell Them
The information you offer should be limited to your personal contact information, such as name, phone number, and employment status. You should not offer them any additional information about your lifestyle, employer, or anything else.
Most importantly, you should not answer any questions about how the accident happened, what you were doing at the time, or what you believe went wrong. If they need information about the vehicles involved or the witnesses, they can consult the police report or your insurance agent.
Get Off the Phone As Quickly As Possible
Once an adjuster gets you talking, they will continue to turn the conversation back to the accident over and over. Even a friendly hello and asking how you are feeling, accompanied by an apology for your injuries, could be their way of getting you to admit that your injuries weren’t that serious to begin with.
Instead of getting roped into a friendly chat, make sure to get straight to the point and get off the phone. The longer they have you on the line, the more likely you are to slip up and give away something they can use.
Do Not Let Them Record You
Another common tactic used by insurance adjusters is claiming that they need a recorded statement from you before they can proceed to settlement. In truth, they are often trying to trap you into contradicting your earlier statements at the scene of the accident.
As such, it is crucial that you never allow the other insurance company to record statements from you about what happened during the accident or how you have suffered since. In addition, you do not owe them a new written statement of any kind.
Never Admit Fault
As with any accident, admitting fault is a surefire way to lose your claim for compensation. However, you may be admitting fault without even realizing what you’ve done! Adjusters often pose questions in a way that makes it hard to understand what they’re really trying to get you to say.
For instance, asking if there was anything else you could have done to avoid the accident is a quick way for them to learn that you were distracted or had an opportunity to act, but didn’t.
Referring Adjusters to Your Accident Lawyers
Whenever you’re pursuing legal processes for compensation after an accident, the best thing to do is always refer adjusters directly to your attorney. Your lawyer will gather all of the evidence on your side and take a written statement from you.
They will also know exactly how much information to give to the adjusters and when to stop talking altogether. Finally, your lawyers are an extra line of defense when the other insurance company is trying to pressure you into settling out of court.
Letters of Demand
Typically, insurance adjusters want you to agree to settle for a fraction of what you are owed. If they can get you to accept or sign something before going to court, they win. However, when you refuse to settle, your accident lawyers in Houston, TX will draft a letter of demand and send it to them seeking an appropriate payout in your favor.
If an adjuster continues to harass you, you can simply tell them that your attorney is already working on drafting a letter and will have it to them shortly.
Rules for Contacting You
When you tell the adjuster to call your attorney, make sure you also tell them that you will not be accepting any further calls from them. Again, they are not owed your time or your answers. Repeated phone calls after you have referred them to your attorney could be grounds for harassment and can help your case. Just make sure you’re taking notes of how often they are calling and how the conversations go so you can prove your side in court.
If you are pursuing a legal case against another driver following an accident, it is always best to stay tight-lipped until you get to the courtroom. While many people may call you looking for details, you should do your best to send them along to your attorney if they have questions. Otherwise, you could be letting them off the hook too easily. If you’re receiving unwanted calls about your accident, call on Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner to come to your aid.