FAQ: Should I Talk to An Atlanta Insurance Adjustor After an Accident?
The answer to this question is almost a universal no. There are certain circumstances where it might be okay to talk with the adjustor, only with your attorney also on the call. For example, if there is no accident report and the adjustor is gathering information about details of the accident. Another might be if there is conflicting information on the accident report about who was in the car or who was driving. Finally, it might make sense in the contact of pursuing a UM claim which typically works a little differently because the terms and conditions of the policy imposes an affirmative obligation on you to cooperate.
ADJUSTORS DON’T HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST IN MIND
Ask yourself why the adjustor wants this information? It can generally fall into a number of categories. First, there could be a dispute about what happened, and the adjustor has talked with their insured about what happened who is giving them a different story than yours. You claim the light was green and the other driver says they have a green light is the classic example. Once you give a recorded statement, it can be used against you later on, whether to point inconsistencies in your deposition testimony or to poke holes in your story at trial. The more times you give a statement on the record, the better chance for there to be inconsistent statements. Even small inconsistent statements can have a big impact on the case down the road. In our office, I always want to see the accident report before any statements are given to make sure I have an idea of what the police officer thinks happened. Typically, the police officer talks with both parties involved in the accident and writes on the report what they said. I have taken numerous depositions of police officers, who almost universally say the same thing: they can’t remember this particular accident as they investigate hundreds of accidents each year, but in the normal course of investigating an accident they talk with both parties and write down what each said at or near the time of the occurrence. Thus, it makes the case difficult if you turn around and give a statement to the adjustor about what happened which is completely different than what is reflected on the accident report.
Second, the adjustor is trying to confirm certain details of your injury claim which can be deadly later on. For example, you are involved in an accident this morning, and although you are shaken up you don’t think you need to go to the hospital. The adjustor calls you and takes a recorded statement in which they ask you if you insured your back or neck from this accident, and you reply not really. After lunch, you develop stiffness and present at North Fulton Hospital with complaints of back and neck pain. The insurance adjustor may very well take the position that you were not insured from the accident, because you did not tell the police officer you were hurt and you told the adjustor you were not hurt on the day of the accident. This has happened many times, as people who are involved in accidents are generally in shock and the adrenaline takes over. It might not be until later that day, or even the next day or the day after, when they realize how much pain they are experiencing.
OUR ATLANTA CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
Third, the adjustor may be trying to elicit information which caps your medical treatment and the non economic damages portion of the case. This most often happens when I see clients who call me a few months after the accident. They may have seen a chiropractor or a physical therapist for a few months after the accident, and experienced some relief. The adjustor calls and asks how you are doing. You tell them that you are feeling much better. A few days later, you aren’t feeling any better, and you get referred for an MRI which reveals a herniation in your neck and eventual epidural injections. Down the road, the adjustor evaluates your case, and in the evaluation gives your credit for the chiropractor or physical therapy treatment but throws the rest out. The reasoning is that you recovered from the treatment and the subsequent treatment was not reasonable and necessary.
Call James today before you give a recorded statement. He can help navigate this process so that you don’t say anything that will limit the amount you can recover. As a lawyer who used to work for the biggest insurance companies in Georgia, he has been involved in hundreds of these statements. He can be reached directly at 404-902-3154.