If you or someone in your family is injured a car accident, you will be forced to deal with an auto insurance adjuster. If the accident was not your fault, you will deal with the auto insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
What do auto insurance adjusters do?
An auto insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company who will evaluate the vehicle damage and injuries after a car accident. It is important to know that the auto insurance adjuster is paid to save money for the insurance company. They save money by paying you as little as possible for your car accident injury or vehicle damage. Before speaking to an auto insurance adjuster it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer for advice on your case. Often, your best choice is to allow a lawyer to speak to an auto insurance adjuster for you.
A common tactic of an auto insurance adjuster is to try to minimize your injuries. They are trained to downplay your injuries, and have much more experience doing this than you will have. Common arguments from auto insurance adjusters include, “the car that hit you was not going very fast”, “you didn’t immediately go to a doctor”, “you didn’t miss any time from work”, or “you contributed to the accident”.
Negotiating with a car insurance adjuster
Your first contact with an auto insurance adjuster will be a telephone very soon after your accident. I have had clients receive a phone call while they are still in the hospital. WARNING: It is best not to speak to an auto insurance adjuster without first contacting a personal injury attorney. However, if you do speak to the adjuster, here is some advice:
- Don’t let them rush you. Auto insurance adjusters want you to agree on a settlement as quickly as possible. Why? Because they know you will take less money if you are in a hurry. Do not settle until you have completed all medical treatment related to your injury. A quick settlement will preclude you from claiming any injuries that arise afterward.
- Be prepared. Before you speak to the auto insurance adjuster, have documentation for everything you want to be compensated for. This includes medical bills, vehicle damage estimates, lost wages, and other losses. You will need to prove to the adjuster that you were injured, and to what extent.
- Speak to a lawyer. Speak to a personal injury lawyer who regularly handles auto accident claims. Remember, personal injury attorneys often do not charge for a consultation. Some cases do not need a lawyer, and you can handle on your own. See my blog, Do you need an attorney for your car accident claim?
- Always ask for more than what you want. Start negotiating much higher than the number that you ultimately want to settle for. The auto insurance adjuster will only feel like he has done his job if he can get you to lower your demand. Speaking to a personal injury attorney will help you determine how much your claim is worth, and what a fair settlement would be.
Auto insurance adjusters are very experienced at getting you to accept less money for your injuries than you should. Follow this advice and most importantly, contact a personal injury attorney. At Minick Law we offer free consultations about your case.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.