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Dealing With Insurance Adjusters After an Automobile Crash

Dealing With Insurance Adjusters After an Automobile Crash

Stress and emotions set in right after a car accident. Dealing with insurance adjusters, both your own insurance company's adjuster, and the at-fault driver's insurance adjuster, are equally as stressful and oftentimes frustrating. Showing emotion and anger toward the insurance company adjusters is not the way to go. It is important that you keep your cool and understand that cooperation, rather than tension, will likely lead to a better resolution.

Usually within a day after your car accident you will not only deal with telephone calls by both insurance company adjusters. Do not let these phone calls get in the way of your treatment for your injuries. Although you will need to cooperate with your own insurance company's adjusters when reporting a car accident, as former insurance company attorney, I do not recommend agreeing to a recorded statement by the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. 

They are doing this to use against you later in court if necessary. If you do not speak with an attorney first, or wish to retain a lawyer first, I suggest, if requested by the adverse driver's insurance company, that that you ask why the adjuster needs a recorded statement and why they cannot get the same information from a police report. The adjuster will likely say that it "is for our file", etc. 

If you decide to go through with the recorded statement, get the adjuster to agree that your own insurance company can take the recorded statement from their own insured driver. Also try to have the adjuster commit to an agreement that your statement cannot be introduced in court. If so, have them fax or mail such a written agreement to you.

Oftentimes the adjuster for the other insurance company will send medical releases for you to sign. I do not suggest signing these agreements. Simply tell the adjuster that you will provide them with medical records. You do not wish for them to try to use these medical authorizations to go on a fishing expedition. Believe me, they will.

Although space for this article does not permit a long discussion on what you should do, or not do, after a car accident, remember these seven simple rules:

1. Call the police immediately. Do not let the other driver to simply give you his or her insurance information.

2. Seek medical attention immediately. If you feel pain right after the crash, tell the officer and request an ambulance.

3. Write down the names, telephone numbers and addresses of all witnesses. Don't rely that the police officer will do so.

4. Take photographs of the scene of the crash and the damage to the vehicles, even if it is with a camera phone. Immediately email them to yourself or a family member in case you lose your phone.

5. Report the crash to your insurance company.

6. Follow up and cooperate with your doctors. Show the doctor your photographs of your damaged car so that he may understand the severity of the crash. If you have previous injuries, do not be afraid to tell your doctor.

7. Speak with a personal injury attorney. The consultation will be free. A skilled and compassionate attorney will visit you at your home and also take photographs of the damage to your car and your injuries.

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