Discussing Auto Accidents with an Insurance AdjusterBy Gabriel Levin on May 27th, 2016
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation , there were 121,317 reportable traffic crashes in 2014. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,195 people and injured another 79,758 people. Nevertheless, many drivers may not know what steps to take or basic information to share, or not share, after an accident. Individuals may even put their identities and safety at risk by sharing too much personal information. Consumers generally need only share their names and correct vehicle insurance information, which should include the phone numbers of insurance providers. Sharing additional personal information, such as driver’s license numbers and home addresses, can place consumers, their property and their safety at risk.
Conversations with an Insurance Adjuster
After an automobile accident, you will likely be contacted by an automobile insurance adjuster. There are several things to keep in mind before and during that conversation:
- Personal Information: Provide your name, address and telephone number as well as your employer’s address, but it is not necessary for you to provide any additional private information regarding your income, medical history and the like.
- Identify the Caller: Be sure to obtain the name and telephone number of the person to whom you are speaking as well as the name and address of their employer; the insurance company.
- Injuries: Even if the adjuster inquires as to your injuries, refrain from providing a detailed description. You may inadvertently leave out a detail or discover later that an injury has worsened or that you have suffered an additional injury.
- Accident Details: Do not provide a formal statement or engage in an informal conversation with the adjuster regarding the automobile accident. You can provide the date and time of the accident and identify the make and models of any vehicles that were involved, but are not required to discuss any further specifics with the adjuster.
- Remain Calm: Although you may be upset about the accident and your injuries, taking out your anger on the insurance adjuster does not help your case or allow you to receive compensation. It is important to stay as calm and polite when speaking with a Philadelphia insurance adjuster.
- Settlement Offer: Insurance adjusters sometimes offer a settlement during the first one or two phone calls. Quick settlements can save the insurance company work. More significantly, the insurance adjuster may try to get you to settle for a small amount before you know fully what your injuries are and how much your claim is worth. Agreeing may seem like a simple way to get compensation without having to go through the claims process, and a quick settlement is often tempting, but it will almost certainly cost you money, perhaps quite a bit. Be sure to speak with a Philadelphia automobile accident attorney to review any suggested settlement in order to determine if it fully compensates you for your losses.
- Avoid Recorded Calls: Many claims adjusters immediately push victims to give a tape-recorded statement, or casually ask if they may record the phone conversation, claiming that a recording will protect the victim later. It is important that you do NOT agree to have any conversation recorded. There is no legal obligation to be recorded, and it is against the law for an adjuster to record without the victim’s permission. The reason you should refuse is that most people tense up when they know they are being recorded, and forget to say important things or describe things clumsily or incompletely. A verbal statement or conversation is almost never as precise and thorough as the written correspondence you will later send the insurance company. Also, recordings take on far more importance than they deserve as evidence of what happened. It can be nearly impossible later to correct or expand on what you have said in a recording. Politely but firmly decline an adjuster’s request to record your statements.
Call a Philadelphia Automobile Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love is injured in an automobile accident, it is important to speak to an auto collision attorney as soon as possible. You may even wish to discuss speaking to an attorney prior to communicating with the insurance adjuster from the other side. The experienced automobile accident attorneys at the Levin Firm understand the legal issues that may arise in a vehicle accident and will always strive to ensure you recover any losses you may have incurred as a result. Our skilled single vehicle accident attorneys investigate your case and protect your rights under Pennsylvania law to make sure you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled. Call 215-825-5183 today to schedule a free consultation or call our toll free number at 877-825-8542.