What Not to Tell a Claims Adjuster: A Guide to Protecting Your Rights

A lawyer reviews detials of an insurance claim with a personal injury client.The Silent Rule in Legal and Insurance Engagements

The warning “anything you say can and will be used against you” is not just for criminal proceedings; it applies when you’re up against insurance adjusters after a car accident. Insurance companies, aiming to minimize their financial outlay, can use your own words against you, making it crucial to tread carefully in your communications with them.

The Preliminary Advice: Seek Legal Counsel

Before diving into what should and should not be shared with an insurance adjuster, it’s paramount to emphasize the importance of consulting with a lawyer. Having legal representation can significantly influence the outcome of your claim. However, if you find yourself in a conversation with an adjuster before you have legal representation, here are some critical pointers:

Never Admit Fault

In the aftermath of an accident, especially in states adhering to contributory negligence laws like North Carolina, even a minor admission of fault could completely negate your claim. This includes even apologizing to another driver after the accident. Fault determination is a nuanced process best left to legal professionals.

Avoid Speculation and Unnecessary Detail

Sticking to the facts without venturing into speculation or irrelevant details is crucial. Innocent remarks or conjectures can inadvertently harm your claim, as can divulging unnecessary personal information.

The State of Your Health

While it’s natural to downplay injuries in the moment, stating you feel “fine” to an adjuster can be misinterpreted as an absence of injuries, thereby endangering your claim. It’s advisable to let medical records communicate the extent of your injuries.

Guard Your Personal Information

Disclosing your social security number or other sensitive personal information to an adjuster is unnecessary and can be risky. Share only essential information and always consult your attorney before doing so.

Recording Your Statement

You have the right to refuse recorded statements. Anything you say in such a statement can be scrutinized and potentially used against your claim. It’s best to decline politely and seek your lawyer’s advice.

Agreements and Signatures

Entering agreements or signing documents without your attorney’s input can prematurely lock you into unfavorable positions, undermining your claim’s value.

How to Handle Conversations with Adjusters

If you must speak with an insurance adjuster, here are some practices to protect yourself:

  • Remain calm and polite: Emotional responses can be used against you.
  • Keep conversations brief: Lengthy discussions can lead to oversharing or misstatements.
  • Document everything: Take detailed notes for your records, including the adjuster’s name and contact information.
  • Consult with an attorney: Before making any decisions or statements, getting legal advice can safeguard your rights and ensure you are fully compensated.

The Importance of Legal Representation

While it is possible to navigate a claim on your own, it is generally not recommended. Insurance companies offer lower settlements to unrepresented clients, exploiting their lack of legal know-how. A competent North Carolina car accident lawyer from Auger & Auger advocates for your rights and ensures you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Insurance adjusters play a crucial role in the claims process, but it’s vital to remember they represent their company’s interests, not yours. Our first line of defense for our clients is arming them with knowledge and the right legal representation to navigate these challenging waters. Our team is committed to protecting your claim and maximizing your compensation through meticulous negotiation and, if necessary, litigation.