Please note that the following tips are simply guidelines. We strongly encourage you to seek the guidance of a lawyer before interacting with insurance agents.
Interacting With Another Party’s Insurance Agent
- Remain calm and polite. Insurance adjusters are used to dealing with angry victims and claimants, but they are human and do not respond kindly to abuse. You may not know exactly how or when an insurance adjuster’s good will will pay off. Their job is to handle the claim and give you as little money as possible.
- Identify the person you speak with. Before discussing anything get the name, address and telephone number for the person you are speaking with, the insurance company and the person they represent.
- Give only limited personal information. You only need to tell the insurance adjuster your full name, address and telephone number. You can also tell them what type of work you do and where you are employed. At this point, you do not need to explain or discuss anything else about your work.
- Do not answer questions as to how the accident happened. Insurance adjusters or other representatives may try and get a recorded statement from you about the accident or simply engage you in conversation during which they will try to get you to tell them about the accident. Politely refuse to discuss any of the facts, except the most basic: i.e., where, when, the type of accident, and the vehicle involved if it was a traffic accident. Simply tell them the accident is under investigation if they request additional information.
- Do not give out names of witnesses or potentially responsible parties. If you are asked about witnesses or parties potentially responsible for your injuries, advise the insurance company to contact your lawyer. Your lawyer should give them this information to prevent potential inaccuracies that may hurt your case.
- Do not answer questions about the extent of your injuries. This information should only be given when you have completed all treatment and after your lawyer has secured all the medical records and bills. If the case is in litigation, your lawyer will also need to complete all proper depositions of the doctors.
- Take notes about your conversation. As soon as your conversation is over, write down all the information you received over the telephone, and information that you provided.
- Resist the insurance company’s suggestion to settle your claim immediately. The pain from injuries sustained in an accident may start days, weeks, or even months after the accident. If you settle your claim immediately and later have more medical or surgical bills due to injuries that appear after the settlement, you cannot ask for more money, even though the injuries can be traced to the accident. This could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in some instances.
- Under no circumstances should you sign anything. Among the first things you will receive in the mail from an insurance company handling an accident claim are various forms that the adjuster describes to you as “just routine”. However, these forms may give insurance companies direct access to your medical, personal, and employment records. The forms may also be a Release form disguising from any liability for the accident. No matter what an adjuster says about these forms, do not sign anything sent to you by another person’s insurance company.
Contacting Your Own Insurer
The relationship with your own insurance company is established by your policy, which is a contract between you and your insurer. You may be obligated by the rules of the policy to provide your insurance company with more information about your claim. Notification of the agent is important, but you are advised to have your lawyer contact your insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer has the necessary experience of how to do so and what statements should be given.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact David K. Kremin & Associates, PC at 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800) 275-2529.
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