Should I Meet With the Insurance Adjuster Before My Car Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident in South Carolina, you may be wondering if you should meet with an insurance adjuster to discuss the details of the accident.
While it may seem like a good idea to work with an adjuster to resolve your claim as quickly as possible, it’s essential to understand the potential risks involved. Even though the insurance adjuster may seem friendly and helpful, it’s critical to know that they work for the insurance agency and do not have your best interests at heart (unless those interests are aligned with their own).
Below, we’re tackling some of the most important reasons why you should never meet with an insurance adjuster after your automobile accident in South Carolina.
The Adjuster Cares About Protecting Their Insurance Company, Not You
Insurance adjusters are trained professionals who work for the insurance company. They investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and settle claims quickly and cheaply. This means they’re only interested in paying you as little as possible for the damages from your accident. So, while they may seem friendly and helpful, their ultimate goal is to protect the insurance company’s interests, not your own.
You May Accidentally Jeopardize Your Case
When you first meet with your insurance adjuster, you’ll likely be asked many questions regarding your accident. However, you should always be mindful of the information you divulge, including never accepting responsibility or fault for the accident.
Why? Because any admission of guilt, an apology for wrongdoing, or an acceptance of blame can be used against you later during your claim. Even innocent statements or admissions could be used to minimize or deny your claim. If you aren’t sure if you should say something, try contacting a personal injury attorney beforehand.
You Likely Don’t Know Your Full Legal Rights
Insurance companies typically have a highly skilled team of lawyers working for them to protect their best interests. Therefore, without a lawyer actively working to protect your claim, it’s entirely likely that the insurance company will find ways of manipulating you into settling for less than your claim is actually worth. An experienced car accident attorney ensures that scrupulous insurers can’t take advantage of your lack of knowledge of South Carolina law.
You Won’t Receive a Fair Settlement Offer
An insurance adjuster is sent to deal with your claim to handle it as quickly and cheaply as possible. This means that adjusters often resort to discreet tactics intended to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer that is less than what your claim is actually worth.
While their first offer may sound tempting, if it’s almost too good to be true, chances are good the adjuster knows something you don’t, like the fact your case is worth far more than they are offering. The only way of knowing for sure if the insurance company is making a fair offer is to contact a personal injury attorney, who will ensure, based on all the facts of your case, that you make the right decision moving forward with your claim.
They May Have You Sign Paperwork that Prevents You From Filing a Suit
Never sign any paperwork without reading the fine print, especially if it’s been sent over by the insurance company. 99% of the time, it’s best to have a lawyer review any paperwork before signing anything. Oftentimes insurers will send over release forms in the days or weeks following your accident, knowing that many injuries don’t present themselves until weeks or months afterward. It’s always a wise idea to check with your lawyer before signing any type of bodily release form. Once you do sign it, insurance may be able to dismiss your claim.
Speak with Your Attorney Before Answering Any Calls from the Adjuster
At some point following your accident, the insurance adjuster will likely call, and they may try to insist that you have no choice but to talk to them about your accident. While it is true that you must cooperate, this does not mean you waive the right to speak through your attorney. Thus, you can simply tell them to call your attorney for further information.
If you don’t have an attorney at the moment, ask them for their contact information and tell them you will have your legal counsel call them back once you’ve hired an attorney. The less you say, the better.
In summary, meeting with an insurance adjuster after an automobile accident in South Carolina is generally a bad idea. Because most insurance companies have an experienced legal staff on hand, it’s best to level the playing field by coming equipped with one of your own.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney who can protect your legal rights also ensures you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. A skilled personal accident attorney will help you to negotiate a fair settlement that covers the full extent of your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.