Filing an insurance claim is the primary way to obtain compensation if you’re hurt in an accident. Insurance company representatives (called adjusters) will investigate the claim to determine how much money they believe it’s worth. But be warned: An adjuster is trained and paid by the insurance company. They’re out to protect the company’s bottom line, not your best interests.
Claims adjusters are crafty. There are several tactics they employ to encourage claimants to accept far less than what they deserve. Avoid being manipulated by reading the following tips from Christensen Law.
How to Deal with an Insurance Claims Adjuster
Ideally, an experienced personal injury attorney will handle the communications with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. That protects you from accidentally saying something that could be used against you. However, if you have to speak with an insurance claims adjuster before hiring a lawyer, protect yourself by:
- Providing the basic facts: Report the date, time, and location of the accident. You don’t have to make any kind of statement or discuss any injuries yet.
- Not speculating about fault: A thorough investigation will determine who is to blame for the accident. Don’t make guesses or apologies that could be misconstrued later.
- Write down important information during the call: Get the name and extension of the claims adjuster, the date and time of the call, and essential details about your conversation.
- Confirm deadlines: If the insurance company asks you to submit something to them, get confirmation of a deadline and then review the request with a personal injury lawyer to ensure it’s fair.
Glossary of Terms
Examples of common terms and acronyms that adjusters may throw around in conversation include:
- BIPD: Bodily injury/property damage, usually referring to the coverage limits of the relevant insurance policy.
- UM/UIM: Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which provides compensation to an insured individual under an auto policy when another driver who caused a car accident lacks insurance or lack sufficient coverage to compensate the accident victim.
- DOL: Date of loss, or when you sustained injury or damage.
- FOL: Facts of loss. If the insurance adjuster asks you for a FOL, they want an official written or recorded statement from you, which you should never give until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
- R/S: Shorthand for “recorded statement.”
- SIU: Special investigation unit, a department of the insurance company that gets involved with claims where an adjuster suspects fraud or other improprieties.
Words matter, and it’s easy to get trapped by an insurance adjuster’s carefully designed questions. As a general rule of thumb, always be honest, but never give more information than what is needed to answer an adjuster’s question.
Red Flag Questions
Some red flag questions you might hear from an insurance adjuster that should warn you the adjuster may be trying to trap you include:
- “How are you feeling today?”
- “Who had the last opportunity to avoid the accident?”
- “Would you be willing to sign some documents?”
The best answer to any adjuster’s question is: “We can address these issues after I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a lawyer.”
What Not to Say
Some questions and topics you shouldn’t discuss with the insurance adjuster include:
- The nature or extent of your injuries
- The details of the accident
- Extensive personal details about your work, your family, your income, or your expenses
Tricks Insurance Adjusters Use
Some of the tricks that adjusters use to get you to accept an unfair or insufficient settlement include:
- Reassuring you that they want you to get a fair settlement
- Requesting a written or recorded statement
- Requesting access to your entire medical record
- Pushing you to accept a settlement before you talk to an attorney
- Asking you to sign a full release at the scene of an accident or shortly afterward
- Monitoring your social media accounts
- Delaying your claim
- Misstating your coverages or policy limits
- Telling you that the first or one of the first settlement offers is the “final offer”
Get Help From Our Personal Injury Lawyers Now
Don’t fall prey to the tactics insurance adjusters use to minimize or deny compensation to deserving Michigan claimants. Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney at Christensen Law. Our award-winning trial lawyers can explain your rights and push for the best possible results in your case. Call or reach out to us online today for a free consultation.