Just as there is no way to predict when you may be involved in a motor vehicle accident, so there is no way of knowing exactly what will happen in the days and weeks to follow. So much depends on the extent of your injuries and the prognosis of your recovery that it may seem as though your life is on hold for a while.
Despite all the uncertainties, you can almost guarantee you will be dealing with an insurance adjuster at some point. It is likely the insurance company will make contact with you by phone or in person to verify your injuries and gather additional information about your accident. However, if you are not prepared for the methods insurance adjusters often use to garner information from you, you may unintentionally damage you chances of obtaining a fair recovery.
What to expect from an adjuster
An insurance adjuster's job is to save the company money by finding ways to undersell your claim. You may not realize this is happening because of the careful training adjusters receive to learn how to interact with accident victims. They will put you at ease and express concern about your health because they know this is a good way to get an accident victim to talk. As soon as you let down your guard, you may make a mistake the adjuster can use against you, for example:
- Letting the adjuster commiserate with your situation may overwhelm you with concern over your finances so that you will accept a quick settlement.
- Accepting a settlement before receiving a complete diagnosis may leave you with much less than you deserve or need.
- Allowing the adjuster to record your conversation gives him or her the chance to use your words against you out of context.
- Signing a blank authorization that gives the adjuster access to all your medical records, not just the ones related to your accident, may result in the insurance company claiming your injuries are pre-existing.
Another trick insurance companies use is to add more and more demands for proof of your lost wages. Knowing you are recovering from injuries, their hope is to bog you down in paperwork until you are too weary to fight them.
One way to deal with the schemes of an insurance adjuster is to limit the contact you have with an insurance adjuster and instead refer him or her to your Washington attorney. A personal injury attorney understands the tricks insurance companies use and will not be intimidated or confused by their tactics. Having a legal advocate may improve your chances of obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries from every possible source of liability.