There are many car accidents every month in Southern Utah. Car accidents are stressful. Perhaps the saddest part is that the stress does not go away when you leave the scene of the accident. There are two different claims you may or may not have after any car accident. The first is property damage (damage to your vehicle and other personal property), the second is bodily injury (damage or injury to you). When you first place a phone call to your insurance company, you are simply notifying them of an accident. They will assign adjustors to your claim. Those adjustors will call you as soon as possible so they can start gathering information that will allow them to pay you as little as possible. It is not that they are evil human beings, they’re not. They are employees. Usually good employees. Employees of a huge company who pays them to value claims for as little as possible, then get you to accept their offer happily. This process helps their company turn a profit. They are doing their job, so there is no reason to be angry or rude with them. In fact, treating them as your adversary will likely slow the process down and will not help you. So how should you deal with the various insurance adjustors that will call you after an accident? The following are some basic tips to help you be successful in dealing with any insurance adjustor you come across.
- Be courteous but careful. Be polite and cooperative. It is human nature to respond negatively to negativity. Your insurance adjustor is likely dealing with hundreds of claims at any one time. Do not be the claimant who gets notated as a jerk in your adjustor’s notes after the phone call. That is how they will remember you.
- Be cautious. Do not give away too much information. Stick to what they need to know, just the basics. Any time they ask for personal information, or more particularly, a signature, make sure you proceed with extreme caution. You may want to consult a St. George Utah personal injury attorney first.
- Be prepared. Always have your documents and a pen and paper handy. You need these for two reasons. It can be very difficult to get an adjustor on the phone. You will usually be leaving a message and waiting for a call back. When they do call, you must be ready. They may want certain types of documentation from you, such as the police report or you medical bills. Keep those in a folder in your car so you have them with you at all times. You will need the pen and paper because you should create notes of your conversation. Adjustors are commonly being reassigned, you do not want to waste time negotiating the same issues twice. If you take good notes, and send documentation to the insurance company. You will be much better protected.
- Be patient. Insurance adjustors will use all kinds of tactics to get you to settle your claim as early as possible, for as little as possible. These may even include strategies such as calling you at a busy time so you are forced to get off the phone quickly, or even calling you during the holidays so that you are more likely to be desperate for a little extra cash. Do not fall for these. Wait it out. Accept an offer on your time table.
- Always counter offer. Never accept the first offer. That is the insurance adjustor’s floor. Ask for an amount even higher than what you think is fair, that way, when the adjustor counter offers back to you, he will choose a number in between his original offer and your counter. That is likely to be the fairest amount.
- Call an attorney. This article and others like it can give you the basics. What this article cannot do is replace the enormous value that an experienced car accident attorney would add to your case. Attorneys only get paid if you win your case, and their fee will be minimal compared the added value they will bring to your claim.
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.