What to Say (and Not Say) To an Insurance Claim Adjuster After a Car Accident with Injury
In the days after an injurious car accident, you’ll get a call from the at-fault party’s insurance claims adjuster, a person who gathers information to assess your auto insurance claim. Know that adjusters work for the insurance company and will often look for ways to minimize the amount they have to pay you. You’ll want to be cautious of what you say to this highly trained professional. Here are important tips to remember when speaking with an insurance adjuster.
What to Do When an Insurance Adjuster Calls
- Stay calm and polite. You may still feel angry or stressed days after the collision, but it’s best to present yourself as a cooperative, reasonable person to the adjuster. They will not consider you favorably if you come across as combative or difficult to deal with.
- Note the caller’s details. Ask for the adjuster’s name, contact details, and insurance company. Write these down so you can reach them in case you have concerns down the road.
- Stick to basic facts. You may provide the most basic details such as your name and contact info, the location and date of the crash, and what car you were driving. Other than that, politely decline to give more details. You have the right to refuse to answer the adjuster’s questions or to consult with a car accident lawyer first.
- Keep it brief. Give only short answers and feel free to end the conversation after a few basic questions. You may say you can’t discuss much on the phone, or that you prefer to discuss further at a more appropriate time.
- Note the Q&A. After the call, write down the adjuster’s questions and the answers you gave. It doesn’t have to be a word-for-word log, but it should help you remember what information you provided.
What to Avoid When an Insurance Adjuster Calls
- Don’t agree to recording. The adjuster will likely ask you if they can record the conversation. The law does not require you to agree to this. It’s best to refuse to record, as your recorded statements could be spun against you later on.
- Don’t give more details than the basics. Avoid giving a narrative of the car accident. You may even decline a yes-or-no question if it pertains to how the collision occurred. Also, avoid telling the adjuster about your injuries. The extent of your injuries may be greater than you initially think.
- Don’t lie, speculate, or give opinions. Remember this motto: Stick to the basic facts. Don’t add opinions such as who’s at fault, what triggered the crash, or what the damages might be. More importantly, don’t lie or even embellish the facts, as this can compromise your insurance claim and become grounds for serious legal trouble.
- Don’t agree to a medical release. A medical release is a document that allows the insurance company to access your medical records. Never agree to sign this release if the adjuster asks you about it. Later in the claims process, your attorney can provide the relevant documents to them.
- Don’t settle without a lawyer’s guidance. One of the main goals of an insurance adjuster is to get you to accept an early settlement. Their initial offer is likely a “lowball” – an amount much less than you really deserve. Avoid accepting settlement offers until you’ve consulted a personal injury lawyer.
Examples of Safe Things to Say to a Claims Adjuster
You’re in control of what you say to the insurance adjuster. Besides the most basic details like your name and contact info, you don’t have to give further answers even if they press you with questions. Here are some sentences you may use to restrain the conversation while staying courteous to the adjuster:
- “I don’t know.”
- “I can’t answer that right now.”
- “I’d rather not give a statement now.”
- “The accident is still under investigation so I can’t comment.”
- “I’ll discuss this at a more appropriate time.”
3 Crucial Sentences NOT to Say to a Claims Adjuster
Above, we’ve shared the Dos and Don’ts of communicating with an insurance adjuster. Now, we want to highlight three specific statements that will most likely hurt your claim. Avoid saying these words to the adjuster:
- “It was my fault.” Never admit fault, even if you believe you did something that contributed to your injuries. The adjuster will take any sign of negligence on your part to minimize your settlement or outright deny your claim. It’s best not to assign any blame at all, whether on yourself or other parties. If the adjuster asks you who instigated the crash or who you think is to blame, refuse to answer. Discuss this only with your attorney.
- “I’m sorry.” Apologizing can be taken as an admission of guilt. You may feel terrible if another person was hurt in the accident, but this is not the time or venue to make apologies.
- “I’m fine” “I’m okay” or “I feel fine.” For many people, it’s almost an automatic response to say “I’m fine” when someone asks them how they’re feeling. Watch out for this trap. If you tell the adjuster you feel okay, they can take it to mean that your injuries aren’t serious. It can also harm your chance of maximizing your settlement for pain and suffering.
What to Say to Police After a Crash in California
Besides the insurance adjuster, you’ll be speaking with police officers or highway patrol when you report your car accident. It’s important to cooperate with them by answering honestly, but also keep in mind that the insurance company could dig through the crash report for anything they could use against your claim.
If the officers arrive immediately at the accident scene and start asking you questions, you can say, for instance, that you’re unsure about specific details because you’re still in shock. When they ask about your injuries, you can point at areas where you’re wounded or feel sore, but tell them you don’t know what those injuries are or how serious they are.
California gives you 24 hours to make a written crash report with law enforcement. You can call a lawyer to help you file this report, ensuring that you provide accurate information while protecting your rights.
Contact Our San Diego County Personal Injury Attorney
Southern Californians trust the Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers for our reliable legal service for accident victims. With over 20 years of experience, we can help you navigate the legal aftermath of your car collision. We’ve effectively done this for numerous clients with highly successful results – so far, we have obtained over $100 million in settlements and verdicts.
Call us when you’re talking to insurers or filing a crash report. Your consultation is free. Call Hamparyan today at (619) 550-1355.
Robert Hamparyan is one of California’s most accomplished personal injury lawyers. Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers San Diego was founded so that Robert could bring more of his skill and knowledge to personal injury victims in all types of cases. Robert and his team have dealt with semi truck accidents, wrongful death cases, brain & spine injuries, and many other types of personal injury cases with soaring success.
Recent Blog Posts
- Is Lane-Splitting Legal for San Diego Motorcycles?
- What Percentage Do Personal Injury Lawyers Take in California?
- What to Say (and Not Say) To an Insurance Claim Adjuster After a Car Accident with Injury
- Third-Party Auto Insurance Claims in California: What You Need to Know
- City of San Diego Number of Car Accidents by Car Accident Type from 2017 to 2022
I’m with you every step of the way.
Schedule Your Free Case Consultation
We’ll Come To You
Our attorney will travel to your home, or hospital, at your convenience and request.
Call Us Anytime
We are available to discuss your case anytime. Give us a call at (619) 550-1355.
Completely Free Consultation
Meeting and/or discussing your case with our attorney is completely free.
San Diego Office
Hamparyan Personal Injury
Lawyers San Diego, APC
275 W Market St #1000
San Diego, CA 92101
Hamparyan Personal Injury
Lawyers San Diego, APC
2221 Las Palmas Dr, Suite H
Carlsbad, CA 92011