What Not to Say to Insurance Adjusters

  • After a vehicle accident, you should speak to your insurance company. Your auto insurance policy will probably cover some of the accident expenses, including medical costs and repair to the vehicle, but it would be wise to be careful about what you say to the insurance adjuster. If what you say is taken out of context, you could have your claim denied, or you may receive much less compensation than you expected.

    After the accident, you will probably be stressed and flustered, so it is easy to say the wrong thing. If you have been in an accident and are planning to speak to your insurance adjuster, remember NOT to say the following things:

    "It Was My Fault"

    Do not admit fault for the auto accident. When you describe the accident, do it in a straightforward and factual manner. Do not add your opinion -- just stick to the facts. The insurance companies for both sides will work out who was at fault, or who was more at fault. There could be factors in the crash that you do not know about that could affect fault, such as a defective car part, distracted driver or an obscured traffic signal.

    Even if you are determined to be at fault, the other driver also may have been at fault. You still could be entitled to compensation. If you make an admission of fault, it could be used against you later by the police or one of the insurance companies.

    "I Am Not Hurt"

    Do not make declarations after the accident that you are not certain are true. While some car accident injuries are obvious immediately after the event, others are not. You may not realize that you have a concussion, internal bleeding or whiplash. These injuries may not become apparent until several days have passed.

    That is why it is imperative that you get checked by a physician immediately after a car accident. You should have the medical record started immediately by a medical professional. That way, if any injuries become more apparent after a few days, you can show the insurance company and attorneys that you were checked out medically right after the wreck. If you wait to be examined until a week has gone by, the insurance company will likely try to claim that your injuries are unrelated to the accident.

    "This Is My Official Statement"

    When you talk to an insurance company, it is likely that they will record the conversation. If so, what you say can be construed as your official statement of what happened. You really should not give an official statement about a crash until you have at least talked to a personal injury attorney. Remember, you are under no obligation to give an official statement to the insurance company. It can be taken out of context and used against you. It is better to talk to an attorney first.

    "I Think"

    Remember to stick to only the facts when talking to an insurance adjuster. If you do not have a fact to relate, you should just say ‘I don’t know.’ If you say anything that starts with ‘I think,’ you are unsure and are offering an opinion that could be used against you later. For example, the adjuster could ask how fast you were going. If you say, ‘I think I was going 45’ and the speed limit was 40, you could have just damaged your case, even if you were actually going 40.

    Names of Other Parties

    Stick to basic information when talking to an insurance company. Do not give them names of anyone in the family or friends. If you end up in a lawsuit, those people will be dragged into it; attorneys will want to depose them about what you said to them about the accident.

    "I Accept"

    Never accept the initial offer from an insurance company if you have not consulted an attorney. It is likely the insurance company is offering a very low amount. Every insurance company knows roughly what common car accident claims are worth and will usually offer well below that amount. They hope they are dealing with a layman who does not retain an attorney. If they can get you to accept a low offer, it saves the insurance company money.

    Talk to an attorney before you consider any settlement offer.

    Conclusion

    After a car accident, you will need to deal with the insurance company by phone in most cases; but unless you are positive you have no injuries and the property damage is very minor, it is always advisable to at least review your case with an experienced car accident attorney before you speak to the insurance company. Far too many people end up with a much lower settlement than they could have if they had retained counsel.