Dealing with insurance companies is often a complicated experience. After all, insurers have their own interests in mind. They are businesses and do not always focus on helping claimants get fair compensation for accidents.
According to data, the average car accident settlement in America was $23,900, with most accident victims receiving less than $10,000. That is why car accident and personal injury victims must know how to deal with insurers in order to ensure their right to fair compensation.
At Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law, we go the extra mile to help our residents protect their right to fair compensation. Our team has the resources, knowledge, and practice to assist your specific situation. We proudly serve clients in Bolingbrook, Aurora, Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Lisle, Wheaton, and Woodbridge, Illinois.
The Insurance Adjuster's Role
An insurance adjuster works for an insurance company. Their role is to investigate the circumstances of a claim. Generally speaking, insurance adjusters work in the insurer's best interests, not the claimant's. As a result, insurance adjusters find ways of denying claims or reducing payouts.
Insurance adjusters carry out the following tasks:
Adjusters investigate claims to ensure they are legitimate. Adjusters are trained to detect fraud or inaccurate claims.
Adjusters use available information to determine liability in an accident. Adjusters also work with other insurance companies to agree on a liability decision.
Adjusters recommend approving or denying a claim. While they do not have the final say, they can build the case for approval or denial.
Adjusters talk with claimants, witnesses, and other relevant stakeholders to determine their role in the claim. Adjusters use interviews to gather and cross-reference information. Adjusters use this information to support their liability decisions and recommendations for approval or dismissal.
Speaking with an Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters ask claimants to provide a recorded statement to explain the circumstance of their claim. Please bear in mind that providing a statement becomes part of the public record. As a result, anything said in a formal statement can become part of legal proceedings.
Therefore, there are three reasons why claimants should refuse to provide a statement:
Insurers Use Statements Against Claimants
Essentially, anything said can and will be used to deny a claim. For instance, if a claimant admits fault during an interview, that information could be used to deny the claim.
Insurers Use Statements to Reduce Compensation
Insurers can base liability decisions on partial fault. In such cases, the claimant's partial responsibility, such as a 20% responsibility for an accident, can be used to reduce their compensation by 20%.
Insurers Use Statements to Establish Inconsistencies
Adjusters phrase questions to establish inconsistencies in the claimant's story. These inconsistencies can be used to deny claims or reduce compensation. Inconsistencies allow adjusters to support fraud allegations.
Please bear in mind that official statements are given under oath. Therefore, claimants must be extremely careful to avoid providing false or inaccurate information.
What to Say During a Statement with an Adjuster
While it is not recommended to speak with an adjuster, choosing to speak with one can help support the claimant's side of the story. In particular, speaking with a professional car accident and personal injury attorney is highly recommended before speaking to an adjuster. Moreover, an attorney may be present during the recording. Claimants may choose to allow their attorney to speak on their behalf during the interview.
That being said, there are several issues to keep in mind when speaking to an insurance adjuster:
The Statement Should Not Be Recorded
Claimants should request adjusters not to record the statement. Claimants can also submit a written statement via their attorney.
Do Not Admit Fault
Admitting fault during a statement can easily lead to claim denial. Therefore, claimants must ensure they never actually state they were at fault, even if they were.
Avoid Answering Unclear or Vague Questions
Unclear or vague questions may be traps. It is best to refuse to answer the question or seek clarification. Above all, claimants must avoid answering questions they do not know the answer to.
Avoid Offering Information
Claimants are advised to answer the questions asked strictly. It is highly advisable to avoid offering or volunteering information. There is no telling how an adjuster can use information in their liability or denial decisions.
Keep Things Short and Simple
Claimants must avoid talking too much during interviews. Please remember that the longer one speaks, the likelier the chance to fall into a trap. Plus, talking too much may mean offering unsolicited information or disclosing potentially harmful details.
Avoid Signing Documents Without an Attorney Review
A golden rule is to avoid signing anything without attorney review. Claimants are within their right to request attorney review of any documentation submitted for review.
Retaining a trusted car accident or personal injury attorney is a crucial step in ensuring people's right to fair compensation.
What Information Do Adjusters Request from Claimants?
In general, adjusters request the following information:
Date of birth
Date and time of the accident
Questions regarding alcohol or substance use
Details about the accident
Who was at fault for the accident
An explanation of material damages
An explanation of personal injuries
If the claimant has sought medical treatment
Speak with an Experienced Attorney
Don't face insurance companies on your own. Speak with an experienced attorney who can provide reliable guidance.
Protect your right to fair compensation. Contact us at Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law for reliable legal guidance. We proudly serve clients in Bolingbrook, Aurora, Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Lisle, Wheaton, and Woodbridge, Illinois.