Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2022 at 7:59 pm
The hours and days after an accident are probably a blur. You’re trying to figure out what happened to you. You might still be in the hospital or trying to get out of bed with a pair of crutches. Then someone calls you. “Hi, this is Bob from XYZ Insurance! Got a minute to talk?”
No matter how cheerful and friendly they act in their commercials, insurance companies are not your friends after an accident. They are not there to help you, and they don’t have your best interests in mind. And if they’re calling on behalf of the other party, they really aren’t looking out for you. Insurance adjusters want one thing, and that is to pay as little as possible for everything.
What to Do When the Adjuster Calls
The best thing to do when Bob from XYZ Insurance calls is to say you don’t have time to talk right now and hang up. Under the terms of your policy, you have a certain amount of time to report the accident to your insurance company, and you are allowed to take all of it. Typically, it is 30 days. Then you should seek legal advice. Our lawyers from the Abel Law Firm can help you talk to Bob and any other insurers who may be trying to get your attention.
You Should Never:
There are some things you should never do or say when Bob and his eager colleagues call, trying to catch you off guard after an accident.
- Never say you feel fine. Never discuss your injuries in any way. Insurance agents are looking for ways to minimize your injuries so they can deny your claim. If they call you three days after an accident and you say you’re “doing fine,” it can be taken to mean your injuries are not severe. However, you are not a doctor. Don’t try to give a diagnosis to the agent that could conflict with the actual doctor’s report. Tell them they’ll have to wait for the medical report.
- Never say you were at fault. This includes apologizing or asking if the other party is all right. Something as minor as “I’m sorry this happened” can be used as a statement of accepting responsibility. State the bare facts in response to direct questions.
- Never speculate about the accident. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. People hate to look like they don’t know everything, so we make things up. In an accident investigation, made-up statements can be used against you. If a flowerpot fell on your head, don’t say you think it might have fallen out of a window, just say, “I don’t know where it came from.”
- Never agree to say anything on the record. The adjuster might ask if it’s okay to record your statement, or you might hear a ten-second beep on the phone line. Unless your attorney is present, never say anything that is being recorded.
- Never accept the first settlement or indicate you will agree to something that sounds like one. For instance, do not say you agree to send the company all your emergency room bills “so they can cut you a check.” Don’t agree to anything until an attorney can review the agreement.
Finally, be very wary if you hear an adjuster say something like, “you won’t need an attorney for this.” Having legal counsel for any negotiation is always your right. If the insurance company suggests that the process would go faster if you just let their attorney handle the review, you should contact your own attorney immediately.
How We Can Help
At the Abel Law Firm, we’ve been defending our clients against unfair claim denials and bad faith practices since 1976. We know that most insurance companies aren’t out to cheat you, but some are, and you need help to tell the difference.
If you’ve been injured in any kind of accident that wasn’t your fault and need legal advice, call our team. We will manage the phone calls, do the paperwork, and make sure you don’t have anything to do but recover from your injuries. When it’s time to negotiate a settlement, our attorneys will make sure your rights are protected, and we’ll demand the compensation you’re entitled to receive.