Should I Talk to an Adjuster After I Have Gotten Into an Auto Accident?
What is usually the first contact that they've had?
The other driver's insurance company will try and contact you about what happened at the accident. This is usually someone from the insurance company that is called an adjuster. Not an attorney, but someone who handles the case before it goes into the litigation process.
Why is this person trying to contact the client directly?
Well, the first thing you should know is that this person is not your friend. This person is trying to get statements from you that’s going to help their driver, not you. The first thing that they’re going to do is ask you how the accident happened. Then what they will try to do is get statements from you that are inconsistent from the police report. Often times, there will be an officer when there is an accident that will gather statements from both parties. What the adjuster is trying to do is get statements that are not what you gave to the officer. They will then try to shift the blame to you.
Another thing that they will do is ask you how you are feeling. Often times, they will get a call from the adjuster about 2-3 days after the accident and a lot of clients won’t feel any pain for about 7 days. What they will try to do is get the statement that you have no pain and use that against you. The adjuster is trying to limit the insurance’s financial obligation to you to pay back for the injuries. They will say that the pain is caused from a different activity, or a prior existing pain that you have.
One big thing they are trying to accomplish is that any statement that you make regarding how the accident occurred or the injuries you’re suffering, if the case is not settled and goes to trial, they can use it against you.
What are the advantages of talking to a lawyer prior to talking to the adjuster?
An attorney will wait and build your case, then they will contact the adjuster to try to get a favorable settlement.
When the attorney is talking to the adjuster, are the statements made admissible?
No, they are not. They are called offers to compromise which under California Evidence Code 1152, allow the attorney to talk to the insurance adjuster about the injury that is suffered, why it’s the other driver’s fault, and none of that can be used against you. Through this, you can usually get a more favorable claim.
One of the first things you should do when getting into an auto accident, is getting in contact with an attorney so they can build your case and help you reach a more favorable outcome.
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