After being injured in a serious car accident, you can expect sympathy, concern, and support from your friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, you cannot expect as much from insurance claims adjusters.
Car accident claims adjusters are typically less concerned about your health and long-term recovery as they are ensuring a profit for their company. Adjusters are trained by insurance companies, such as State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, Progressive, Nationwide, United Auto, Infinity, etc… to find ways to undermine your claim, and they are compensated when they succeed in resolving your case with the lowest settlement possible.
Though your claims adjuster may feign sympathy and friendliness, you should always keep their true intentions in mind: to pay you as little as possible for your car accident injuries.
Part of the reason you want to find an experienced car accident attorney is to keep from being manipulated, deceived, or bullied by your claims adjuster. An experienced personal injury lawyer is wise to the many ways they may try to harm your case. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common tactics.
Denying liability. Your auto insurance claims adjuster will look for any evidence that could prove their insured party was not liable, that you may have been at fault, or that the accident didn’t happen as you described it. You should avoid providing any statements related to your personal injury that admit or deny fault to a claims adjuster before speaking with a car accident / personal injury attorney.
Pressuring you into an unfair settlement. Insurance adjusters may try to convince you to accept a settlement that is much less than you are entitled to by assuring you that it’s the most you can hope to receive. They also may simply try to deny your claim, while implying that pursuing it any further would be a waste of time, money, and energy. Another favorite tactic is to meet you at the body shop and offer you a quick $500 or $1,000 check after you sign away your right to bring a claim or file a law suit. Never agree to a low-ball settlement or allow an adjuster to convince you to abandon your case before consulting with a personal injury attorney.
Recording your statement. If the other driver’s car insurance claims adjuster asks you to record a statement, it’s important that you politely but firmly decline. Insurance claims adjusters often record statements in an attempt to trap injured parties into harmful admissions. Car accident claims adjusters may attempt to use recorded statements as evidence you, often manipulating your words or taking them out of context.
Obtaining a signed medical authorization statement. Your car accident claims adjuster may ask you to sign a general medical authorization statement, which would give them access to your past medical records. It’s critical that you not sign a medical authorization statement or any other doctor without first speaking to an experienced car accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale.
Monitoring your activities. Your claims adjuster may go as far as following, photographing, and filming you as you perform routine activities. By monitoring you closely, your adjuster hopes to catch you in the act of doing something that demonstrate you are not injured, such as lifting heavy groceries or running after a bus. If they are able to find something that contradicts your described injuries in any way, they may be able to undermine your injury claim.
Googling you. Your claims adjuster will Google you to uncover information about you online and locate any social media accounts under your name. They’ll look through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts for posts, comments, and photos that could undermine your claim. For example, they would try to use a photo of you looking like you are having fun at a bar or party as evidence that you are exaggerating your injuries (even though you may have only been drinking water and taking pain medications) or a comment you made about your aching neck three years ago to show your injuries were established before your accident. Do not post pictures of the car accident, or of yourself, on your social media accounts during your personal injury case. It is all likely discoverable by opposing council if suit needs to be filed. Read about recent court decisions involving social media in personal injury cases.
Convincing you not to hire a personal injury attorney. This is a common tactic employed by claims adjusters, and possibly the one that can cause the most harm. Your adjuster may try to convince you that lawyers are expensive and unnecessary, assuring you that your claim will be appraised fairly without one. Your adjuster is well aware of the fact that hiring a personal injury lawyer will dramatically increase your chance of ensuring a much larger settlement.