Agreeing to the first settlement offer for your car accident claim might seem like an easy and straightforward way to obtain compensation for your injury since you won’t have to go through the laborious claims process. However, doing so will probably end up costing you money. Put simply, just don’t do it. Here’s what you should do instead:
Set Boundaries Regarding Contact
During your first discussion with the insurance adjuster, tell him right off the bat that you won’t be telling him much. Inform the adjuster that until you’ve completed your investigation of the accident, finished your treatment, and have recovered, you won’t be talking about how the incident occurred, the extent of your injuries, or what you think is fair compensation for your injury.
It’s also a good idea to tell the adjuster that you prefer written communication until you can send them your written demand and the negotiations for the settlement begins. In certain situations, however, you might still need to converse with the adjuster via phone. For instance, a car accident attorney in Utah says that if your car has been damaged in a car accident, you’ll probably have to discuss specific logistics regarding the repair of your car. He suggests that if this is the case, it’s best that you set limits regarding time and place for phone conversations, during mornings on weekends, for instance. Don’t forget to write down details of all your conversations with the adjuster.
Don’t Say Anything You’re Not 100% Certain About
Until you’ve examined the accident from every possible angle, healed completely, established the extent and exact nature of the injury, and worked out a fair compensation amount, you can’t really be 100% certain of anything. If you provide inaccurate or incomplete details during your conversations with the adjuster, the insurance provider will most likely use that as ammunition during the settlement negotiations. Be warned that insurance adjusters are usually masters at getting people to say things that they shouldn’t be saying, which could seem like some sort of admission of fault for the accident or limit the severity of your injury. To reiterate from above, say as little as possible until you’ve formally sent your demand for compensation and are ready to negotiate.
Never Sign Anything the Insurance Company Sends You
No matter how persistent the adjuster is and what he says about a document or form that you must sign, don’t sign it! If there’s one thing that you should absolutely never do, it’s this, as these forms might allow the insurance company the legal right to see your work, personal, and medical records, or worse, might be a release form in disguise, stating that you’re releasing the insurance company from liability.
Remember: you can and should ideally turn down the first settlement offer that the insurance company sends you for your personal injury claim. Follow the guidelines above to help ensure the best possible outcome for your claim. If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek help from a local personal injury attorney.