If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Iowa, you might receive a call from the other party’s insurance adjuster. Before you decide whether or not to speak with them, you need to know how to protect your rights.
What’s most important to realize is that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. Even if they sound concerned about you over the phone, their ultimate goal is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
Tips for Negotiating With an Insurance Adjuster After a Car Accident
If you decide to speak with the insurance company, here are a few tips on how to handle the adjuster’s phone call after an Iowa car accident:
- You are not required to give a statement. Often, the adjuster will record your phone call to use against you later. You may be shaken up and not yourself for hours, days, and even weeks after a car accident. Or you may be nervous or stressed about the accident. This may lead to you giving incorrect details. Instead, be aware that you are not required to give a statement to the insurance company without a lawyer present.
- Only give them the basic information they need. If you choose to speak with the insurance adjuster, be sure to give them only the basic information. This could include your name, contact information like your phone number and address, and the date and location of the car crash. You should not discuss the details of your injuries with them, what you “think” happened to cause the crash, or any other specific details. Doing so could mean the insurance company uses your statement against you during settlement negotiations.
- Stick to the facts. Stick to the facts when describing the accident to the adjuster. Avoid making any assumptions or guesses about what happened. The more you go into detail, the more the adjuster could twist your words into a misinterpretation of what happened.
Instead, answer the adjuster’s questions truthfully, but don’t embellish or go into more detail than is necessary.
- Don’t admit fault. Sometimes after a crash, you can say things that may imply you had a hand in causing the accident. You may have suffered a brain injury and be confused or find it difficult to express yourself properly. If that’s the case, you should not speak with an insurance adjuster until after you are feeling better and are able to express yourself. Obviously, you shouldn’t admit fault for an accident you didn’t cause. But be sure you’re not giving the adjuster any wiggle room when it comes to your side of the story.
- Keep track of your expenses. Keep track of any expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills, car repairs, and lost wages. Provide copies of these documents to the insurance adjuster when requested. These bills will eventually need to be paid, whether it is by you or by the person who hurt you. It’s a process known as subrogation, and it’s why these bills should be part of any settlement your Iowa car accident lawyer negotiates for you. Otherwise, you may be paying them out of your own pocket – leaving little to nothing for you after all the bills are paid.
- Don’t sign anything without consulting an attorney. Don’t sign any documents or agreements without consulting an attorney first. Insurance adjusters may try to get you to sign away your right to sue or accept a settlement offer that is lower than what you’re entitled to.
Remember that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not you. Their goal is to settle your claim for as little as possible, so it’s important to protect your rights and interests throughout the process.
If you’re unsure about how to handle the insurance adjuster or feel that you’re not being treated fairly, consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and help you get the compensation you deserve.
RSH Legal offers free, no-obligation case evaluations to Iowans who have been injured in a car accident. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.