After a truck accident, one of your first moves will be to call your insurance company and file a claim. The truck driver will do the same, filing through the trucking company’s insurer. You will typically receive a phone call from an insurance claims adjuster in charge of investigating the accident within a day or two of the crash.
Your conversation with this person is a minefield most accident victims aren’t prepared to navigate – often resulting in settlements that don’t come close to the true value of the claims. Here are tips for protecting your rights while speaking to a claims adjuster, from an experienced Florida truck wreck lawyer.
1. Never Admit Fault
From the moment you step out of your car at the crash scene onward, never admit fault for the wreck. Do not say you’re sorry to the truck driver or in any way place blame on yourself.
Conversations with the other driver, police officers, and especially insurance companies should never involve you admitting you were at fault for the accident.
This will protect you from taking more than your fair share of blame in the likely event that more than one party contributed to the collision. Instead, wait for official investigations and court proceedings to assign fault.
2. Stay Calm and Collected
It can be intimidating to speak with an insurance adjuster – especially when you’re already shaken from the crash. It’s important, however, to remain cool, calm, and collected while on the phone with an adjuster. You need to have a level head and keep track of what to say and what not to say during your conversation.
If you’re not in a state to do so, don’t answer the call until you are. If you have serious qualms about tackling the conversation altogether, entrust the task to a truck wreck lawyer instead. What you say during your conversation can greatly impact the state of your claim.
Our recommendation at Bulluck Law Group is that you have your truck accident lawyer get on the phone and navigate this conversation for you. They will know how best to handle the conversation in order to protect your rights and ensure the best compensation for the client.
3. Understand the Adjuster’s Bottom Line
It’s important to understand where the claims adjuster stands in regard to your accident claim, as well as their objectives for the conversation. The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. His or her main goal is to get you to settle your claim for the least amount of money possible.
Go into the first phone call knowing that the adjuster probably knows less about your case than you do and that he or she will try to encourage you to settle quickly and probably for less than you could receive with a personal injury claim or a lawyer’s help.
4. Stick to Facts and Basic Details
There is no rule that says how much you have to divulge to insurance claims adjusters. While you should always be honest, you do not have to give them any more information than they request. Answer questions truthfully, but do not speculate about what happened, what caused the crash, or who is to blame. Here are some tips on things not to say on your phone call.
Simply state things you know to be true, such as how fast you were driving and where the crash occurred. Do not give your insurer or the truck company’s insurer any of your own opinions about the accident. Feel free to tell an adjuster you don’t feel comfortable answering a question that seems in any way subjective.
5. Refuse to Record or Write a Statement
An insurance claims adjuster will almost always attempt to get you to agree to record a statement about your truck accident. Politely decline this request. If the adjuster records a statement, they can – and likely will – use it against you later. If the adjuster says you must record a statement to proceed with your claim, hang up and call a Florida truck accident lawyer.
Do not record a statement or even talk about your personal injuries until you’ve spoken to an attorney. You may not have all the facts of your case, and the things you say could reduce your chances for compensation. Make it clear to the adjuster from the beginning that you will not be discussing too much over the phone. Give limited information in your first conversation, and set limits on how often the adjuster can call you in the future.
6. Resist the Urge to Say Yes to a Fast Settlement
Quick settlements save the insurance company time and money, but they are typically not in the claimants’ best interests. Your claim’s value could be much greater than what the adjuster initially offers. Don’t take the bait. Stay strong and reject quick settlement amounts until you know how much your claim is really worth.
Valuating your claim is something an attorney can do for you, often during a free case evaluation.
7. Keep a Record of Your Conversation
Keep track of important information about your phone call with the insurance adjuster. Ask with whom you’re speaking, and write down the name, telephone number, address, and company he or she represents before you start your conversation.
Take notes during your conversation, jotting down information the adjuster gives you as well as what information you gave him or her. The more you can recall about your discussion, the more you can help your truck wreck lawyer in the future.
8. Always Talk to a Truck Accident Attorney
Talking to a truck insurance company’s adjuster after a wreck is a big deal. Don’t take it lightly and don’t underestimate the importance of watching what you say during the initial conversation. It is always a good idea to contact a Florida truck wreck lawyer for advice prior to speaking to an insurance claims adjuster.
A lawyer helps the entire process feel much less intimidating. Your attorney can act as a buffer between you and the adjuster, protecting your rights as a victim and fighting for maximum compensation.
To learn more about truck accidents, read our A Comprehensive Guide for Truck Accident Victims.