One of the most difficult and delicate aspects of handling an auto accident claim is dealing with the dreaded insurance adjuster. Generally, within a few days of an accident you will be contacted by an adjuster from the responsible party’s insurance company attempting to settle the claim. Regardless of how friendly or sympathetic the insurance adjuster seems, beware…the adjuster is not your friend!
No matter how confident you feel about your negotiation skills or how rushed you feel to settle your claim so you can get your car fixed, it is never a good idea to deal with insurance adjusters without an experienced car accident attorney on your side. Even if you have worked with insurance companies before, there are still a lot of pitfalls that you may fail to recognize.
The insurance industry is a billion dollar “for-profit” industry. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators whose goal is to reduce costs for their employers (the insurance company). They are trained to minimize the amount of money they payout and to deny claims so the insurance company can increase their profits. Insurance adjusters often ask tricky questions designed to get you to agree to their version of events. They are looking out for their employer’s best interests – not yours.
Insurance adjusters will try to settle your claim as soon as possible and minimize the amount of money they pay you for vehicle repairs, medical care, and lost wages. They will pressure you into giving a recorded statement and signing a settlement agreement or check. Do not let them pressure you into giving a statement or signing anything until after you discussed your case with an experience personal injury attorney.
It might seem reasonable to endorse the check you receive from the insurance carrier in order to get the body shop to complete the repairs on your car. But do NOT sign anything! The fine print may release your personal injury claims in addition to the compensation for your vehicle damage – which means that if you are hurt and you accept the check you may not be able to pursue any additional compensation for your medical expenses or pain and suffering.
You only have one opportunity to recover from the losses caused by a car accident. Before speaking to or accepting a settlement offer from an insurance adjuster, please give California Personal Injury Attorney, Todd M. Friedman a call for free consultation. He will help ensure that your injury claim is resolved in your best interests.