Dealing with Charlottesville Insurance Adjusters: What You Should Ask
It is important to know when you are talking with insurance adjusters that they are highly trained and skilled negotiators that begin setting the parameters of settlement on the very conversation with you. With this in mind, if you are discussing your Virginia personal injury claim with an insurance adjuster, I would suggest that you not only be prepared when you have the conversation but that you also consider asking any questions you might have for the adjuster at the onset. Here are some questions that you may find helpful to ask the adjuster:
1. "Are you willing to accept fault for the accident?": The answer will invariably be "no." Even in a situation where you are a passenger and rear-ended by another driver, the insurance adjuster will not accept responsibility for the accident. Do not mistake their willingness to pay for property damage with their willingness to accept liability for the injuries that you have.
2. "If you want to record a statement from me, may I please take a recorded statement of your driver?": Again, the answer will invariably be "no." The insurance company wants to take your statement and may even tell you that they need to take it proceed with the claim. They do this knowing that most people will not be prepared when they give a recorded statement to the insurance company. If there is any doubt in your mind of whether or not you should give your statement, consider their response to you when you ask to take a statement from their driver. They know that taking a statement from their driver will not be helpful to them. It is information they want, but they do now want to share with you.
3. "Why do I need to give a recorded statement if all the information about the accident is included in the police accident report?": You're likely to get many different answers when asking this question. The truth is the adjuster has probably already spoken to their insured, maybe spoken to the police officer, and likely has the accident report in front of them. The reason they want to take your statement, which is not admissible in court, is that they are hoping you will give them some information that they can use against you when negotiating your claim.
4. "Why do you need an open medical authorization to consider my personal injury claim?": If you are handling your claim by yourself, an adjuster will ask you for a medical authorization so they can get your medical records and bills. If you look closely at the medical authorization, you will see that the authorization has no timeline, no specification of which medical records they can collect, and it does not restrict to any particular medical providers. Ask the adjuster why they need medical authorization instead of the medical records from the treatment you received because of your injuries. They won't tell you, but the answer is that they want to look into your medical history to try to find some pre-existing problem that they can relate some of your injuries to.
5. "How much insurance does your insured have?": If you are not yet convinced that discussing your case with an insurance adjuster is a one-way street, ask this question. I can almost assure you that the adjuster is not authorized by their insurance company to tell you what the insurance policy of their insured is. Meanwhile, they will likely know your insurance policy limits and whether or not your have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and whether or not you have medical expense coverage for your vehicle. This is simply how insurance companies operate. They want to control the information and let you have it when and if they want you to have it. However, they also want you to fully cooperate with them and will be very friendly at the onset by assuring you that they will make a fair offer to you. Many people come to me having already attempted to work with an insurance company. However, when it came time to settle the case, they found they were left with nothing but a very unreasonable offer.
If you are unsure whether the insurance company you're dealing with is being sincere try asking one or more of these questions from them and see what kind of answer you get.
If you have been injured in an accident in Charlottesville or the surrounding area, contact The Warren Firm at 434-688-0899 for more information.