In 2020, over 205,000 people in Texas sustained injuries in a car accident. Many of these individuals will have a car insurance adjuster contact them – even when they’re in the hospital. If you’re in an accident, you can be confident that an adjuster will be in touch with you.
Dealing with an adjuster is complicated because the individual will act like a “friend,” but they have a job to do.
Navigating working with an adjuster is possible if you follow the advice below.
What’s the Job of a Car Adjuster?
An adjuster’s main responsibility is to inspect any damage that occurs during an accident. The adjuster will examine the vehicle and the injuries that you sustain. These individuals are not doctors or nurses, but their job entails providing you with compensation following the accident.
Many adjusters are friendly, but their goal is to:
- Limit the time to a settlement
- Save the insurer money
Insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind. Instead, these individuals will offer a low settlement amount in hopes that you’ll say yes. Often, the settlement offered is below the value of your injuries and damages to the auto and/or personal property.
Tips for Dealing with a Car Adjuster
Understanding the role of a car insurance adjuster will empower you when following the tips below:
- Remain respectful: You never want to be disrespectful to the adjuster, but you never want to provide them with more information than they ask. The adjuster may try to see your side of the story, but they will use anything you say against you.
- Decline the first settlement: Adjusters do not have your best interest in mind and will want to settle for as low of an amount as possible in as little time as possible. Decline the first settlement offer and continue declining until the figure is in your best interest.
- Never allow access to your medical records: “Insurers want to look through your medical records to find pre-existing conditions, ” explains Fleming Law Personal Injury Attorneys. You have a right to decline access to your records. The adjuster will scour your medical records to find any reason to point fault at you for the accident or to downplay your injuries.
- Avoid recorded statements: You should avoid giving a recorded statement. Many victims feel pressure to provide a recorded record, but this statement can be used against you to try and lower the settlement you receive.
In all of the tips above, it’s important to remember that you have a right to accept a settlement that you deem sufficient, but you also have a right to say “no.”
An accident can include multiple damages that a regular person may overlook. For example, your vehicle may need repairs or replacement.
In this case, a settlement of $20,000 may seem sufficient, but let’s assume that you sustained a broken vertebra in your back. The settlement would also need to consider:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
When considering wages, it’s crucial to think well beyond the time lost at work. For example, if you hurt your back and can no longer fulfill your duties, you may have to retrain for another position or may not be on the same career trajectory as you could have been if you were never in an accident.
An attorney will be the best person to consult with because they can ensure that the settlement you agree to is in your best interest and covers the true, total cost of damages.
Once you accept a settlement, you’ll be sent a written agreement that you will sign. The agreement will in 99.99% of cases include wording that stipulates by agreeing to the settlement, you agree not to pursue any additional compensation from the insurer for the same accident.
This waiver is legally binding.
However, the law does allow for an exception to the rule in which you can pursue further damages. For example, if new evidence shows that the defendant coerced you to sign or acted in a fraudulent manner, then it may be possible to file a lawsuit after settling.
You can also sue a second defendant, especially if you find out about their involvement later.
However, for the vast majority of car accidents, once you sign a settlement agreement, that’s it: you cannot pursue further damages.
If you’ve been in an accident, you can avoid dealing with an adjuster by contacting a lawyer. Your attorney will represent you, talk to the adjuster and ensure that you’re not damaging your chances of receiving compensation.