After being involved in an accident in Virginia, there are a number of things that you’ll need to do. In addition to reporting the accident and seeking medical care, you’ll also need to file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. After your claim is filed, an insurance adjuster will open an investigation into your case to determine how the accident happened, who was at fault, and what your claim is worth. From there, you’ll be offered a settlement that is supposed to be reflective of the amount of damages you’ve suffered.
While the process may seem straightforward, most first settlement offers are much less than claimants deserve, and there are frequently cases in which claimants are shocked by the fact that their claim is low-balled or denied altogether. As such, here are three things to keep in mind when talking to the insurance adjuster that may help to improve the outcome of your case.
1. An Insurance Adjuster Will Be Looking for Ways to Diminish the Value of Your Claim
The job of an insurance adjuster is to save the insurance company money, which means finding any possible way to reduce the amount of money that the insurance company pays you. You should be on guard and aware of this, and always remember that even an apparently pleasant insurance adjuster is not your friend. Be careful about what you say to an insurance adjuster, and don’t be surprised if an adjuster disputes your claims about the amount of damages suffered or how the accident occurred.
An adjuster has no right to record your statement without your permission. DO NOT AGREE TO BE RECORDED. Any information you provide to the insurance adjuster can be used against you. For example, the insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a document releasing your medical records to them, which you may assume is reasonable to do. However, the insurance adjuster may find a prior condition within your records that indicates you had similar pain or injury at some point in the past, or that you were partly at fault for the accident (such as having a prescription for glasses and not wearing them at the time of collision). Statements you make can also be used against you, so avoid any admissions of fault or deviating from the facts.
A very important thing to know is that you do not have to agree with an insurance adjuster or accept a settlement when one is offered; you can–and probably should–reject a first offer and negotiate for a greater settlement amount.
Finally, remember that you have the right to contact an attorney, and that an attorney can represent you in all dealings with an insurance adjuster. At the law offices of Hampton Injury Law, Attorney Mr. Hoen is ready to take your case and fight for you. Call Hampton Injury Law today for a free case evaluation and more information about the claims process.