Do I Need a Lawyer Before Talking to a Claims Adjuster?
After an accident, you can count on fielding phone calls from a variety of insurance adjusters. Your own insurance carrier will want to speak with you immediately to determine if you were at fault. The other driver’s insurance adjuster will likely call for similar reasons. In many cases, you could hear from them within hours of the crash. Should you speak to a lawyer before talking with an adjuster?
The truth is, you should never talk directly with an adjuster in the first place. While you are required under the terms of your policy to work with your insurance company, that does not mean you have to deal with them one-on-one. A car accident attorney in New York could serve as your go-between with all interested insurers.
Why you should never speak with an adjuster
First and foremost, insurance adjusters are not making social calls. When an adjuster reaches out after an accident, their primary goal is to help their employer avoid as much liability as possible. Often, this is at your expense.
This is the case whether the adjuster works for your insurance company or the other driver’s. Sure, you have a contract for insurance with your carrier. That does not make the adjuster your friend, however. If you are liable for an accident, finding a way to avoid paying out on your claim could save your insurance carrier thousands of dollars.
The conversations you have with an adjuster will be recorded. These tapes could wind up providing the insurance company with grounds to reject your claim, depending on what you tell them. Insurance adjusters will often use leading questions to get you to admit fault – even when you were not responsible for a crash. They will also note any inconsistencies between various statements you make.
At the end of the day, insurance adjusters are trained professionals that have experience with this type of negotiation. For most drivers, this could be the first time ever dealing with an insurance claim. This disparity of experience could work against you during a call.
What to do when they call
When an insurance adjuster calls, they will often imply that you have no choice but to talk to them. This is especially common when it is your own insurance provider on the phone. While you are required to cooperate with your insurer, that does not mean you are not allowed to defer to legal counsel immediately after a crash.
You have options when adjusters call before you have had a chance to speak with an attorney. First and foremost, you can just ask to call them back. Informing the adjuster that you are busy, but that you are happy to speak with them shortly could buy you time to obtain counsel. Before you hang up, be sure to obtain all of the adjuster’s pertinent information. This includes their name, insurance company, phone number, e-mail address, and fax number.
After you hire an attorney, your response to an adjuster would be different. It is fine to answer their call, but you should immediately inform them that you are represented by counsel. Respectfully ask them to contact your attorney to discuss your claim. You should have the contact information for your attorney handy so that you can provide it to your insurance carrier. After the call, let your attorney know that the insurance company reached out.
Let an experienced attorney help
You have plenty on your plate following a vehicle accident. An experienced attorney could lighten the load by dealing with the insurance companies on your behalf. This is more than just a convenience, however. Seasoned injury attorneys have ample experience negotiating with insurance adjusters over the value of the claim.
At Douglas & London, we stand ready to serve as your advocates after a crash. We understand what the insurance companies are looking for when they call. Our attorneys have the experience necessary to get the most out of your insurance claim without putting your recovery at risk.
Ready to move forward with your injury claim? Contact Douglas & London as soon as possible to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.