I have been representing accident victims against insurance companies for the past 15 years. By representing hundreds and hundreds of accident victims over the years, you begin to see how the insurance industry deals with victims after they begin the claim process following the accident. I have found that most insurance adjustors are highly trained adversaries, although most people would never think this, at least not in the beginning of the claims process. Now, most people understand that the insurance company's job is to make money and that one way it does this is by settling claims for less than the claim is worth. Yet, most people are unaware of how sophisticated, yet simple, the methods the carrier will utilize to help it accomplish this goal.
If you have been in a car accident you will be interviewed by both an adjuster from your own insurance company and by an adjuster from the other party's insurance company. Both adjusters are trying to minimize the amount of money that their company will pay. Follow this tip sheet to make sure you do not jeopardize your personal injury claim during these phone interviews.
DO'S Write down the name, address, and phone number of the insurance adjustor and insurance company. Provide your full name, address and telephone number. Take notes and of the conversation. Ask the adjuster if they are aware of any witnesses. Be very general when you describe your injuries.
Tell the adjuster you will provide a complete, detailed, medical description of your injuries after you and your doctors have done a full assessment. DON'TS Do not agree to an audio tape recording of the conversation. Insurance adjustors will engage you in an informal conversation in an effort to relax you and get as many details about the accident as possible. Do not discuss anything but the basic facts of the accident: a) where the accident occurred; b) Date and time of the accident; c) type of accident - motor vehicle, slip and fall.
You do not need to provide details about your work, such as income, schedule or details of what you do at your job. Do not agree to anything. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. Don't answer family questions. You are under no obligation to give any information about your family. You are not obligated at this point to identify witnesses.
You are not obligated to give the adjuster the name of your doctor.
Christopher M. Davis is the managing partner of Davis Law Group. He brings over 15 years of practical yet innovative experience to personal injury cases. He practices law in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Mr. Davis at http://www.InjuryTrialLawyer.com or http://www.seattleaccidentnews.com.