By Staff Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC
Perhaps a big rig jackknifed in front of you on a snowy freeway, causing a serious accident. Or maybe your son suffered a concussion during a football game after his coach refused to take him off the field. In either case, you’re likely feeling confused, shaken up and anxious. In addition, you want to obtain fair and just compensation for any damages, such as lost productivity, medical and surgical bills, and vehicle repair costs.
After an accident caused by someone else’s fault or negligence, a possibly liable insurance company may soon call you. When this happens, be on your guard. Appreciate that the company’s representative (the adjuster) is your adversary, not your advocate. Even though adjusters will express concern about your well-being (and may genuinely feel this concern), their primary objective is to minimize what the company pays claimants.
Here are five disturbing tactics adjusters deploy:
- Obtaining recorded or written statements to use against claimants.
Following an accident, you may suffer impaired judgment and lack the capacity to think clearly due to the effects of pain medication. Adjusters know to take advantage of this, and they could ask to record your statements in hopes you will say something to hurt your case.
In an attempt to be amiable (or brave), you might downplay your symptoms or say something seemingly innocuous, like “I’m feeling better than I did yesterday,” which the insurer could later twist to “demonstrate” that you weren’t hurt and that your claim is trumped up. Talk with an attorney before you speak with an adjuster on the record.
- Advising claimants not to hire attorneys.
Adjustors can make it seem perfectly reasonable to settle your case without an attorney to avoid legal fees. But this math doesn’t add up. Research published by the Insurance Research Counsel (IRC) found that claimants who retained attorneys collected on average three-and-a-half times as much money, even after subtracting out legal fees, than did those who negotiated on their own.
- Requesting your authorization to access your medical records.
If you give your consent, adjusters can scrutinize your history to find evidence to discredit your claim, such as a psychiatric disorder or a pre-existing condition that can erroneously be attributed as the cause of your present injuries.
- Hiring an investigator to follow you.
Believe it or not, an investigator may secretly videotape you performing an activity in the hopes of collecting evidence that your claims of injury are exaggerated. To avoid discrediting scenarios, be as accurate as possible when describing your injuries.
- Misrepresenting the law.
In addition to trying to discount the validity of your claim, the adjuster may go a step further and actually lie about or misconstrue laws relating to your claim.
Who To Call When The Insurance Companies Are Involved
Call The Gasper Law Group in Colorado Springs at 866-204-6973 or 719-227-7779 to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney about how to handle an insurance adjuster effectively.