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Five Tips on Dealing With an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident in Virginia

by Lori L. Smith

posted on

Our Virginia car accident lawyers list five tips on dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident.

Car accidents in Virginia can be painful and disorienting. Many traffic collisions result in serious and fatal injuries. Victims injured by another driver’s negligence can require months of medical treatment and rehabilitative services.

Even if you are involved in only a minor accident resulting in property damage, the crash still can be startling. It can be difficult to know how to proceed.

At Marks & Harrison, we have assisted Virginia residents injured in car accidents for decades. We provide aggressive representation to each of our clients.

We know how difficult it can be to think about your insurance claim or filing a lawsuit when you are dealing with hospital bills and lost wages.

However, it is extremely important to think carefully about how you will handle the insurance companies from the very start. Statements you make at the scene of the accident or to an insurance adjuster, especially in a recorded statement, could significantly impact your claim.

Pay attention to these tips for dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident in Virginia.

  1. Never admit fault after a car accident.

    You should never admit fault when you are talking with anyone after a car accident, including the other driver, law enforcement officers and especially an insurance adjuster.

    Virginia is a “pure contributory negligence state.” This means that even if a plaintiff is only one percent at fault for causing an accident, he or she will be unable to recover any damages.

    You should know that an insurance adjuster is not on your side. The insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. That insurer wants to pay out as little as possible. As such, the insurance adjuster may look for ways to try to avoid paying your claim.  The adjuster will pounce on any indication that you may have been at fault.

    So, even if you suggest or unintentionally provide information that you may have been at fault, it could possibly lead to being unable to recover anything for your injuries.

  2. Do not give a recorded statement.

    As we mentioned, it is extremely important to be honest and stick to the facts when you are speaking with an insurance adjuster. At the same time, you do not want to give even a brief statement to the other person’s insurance company if it is going to be recorded.

    Many insurance companies ask injury victims to make recorded statements. While this might sound like a relatively straightforward task, you do not want the insurer to have your statement on record. Your words can – and most likely will – be used against you.

    In some instances, an insurance company will require a recorded statement to proceed with your property damage claim. You should not do this until you have spoken first with a Virginia auto accident lawyer.

    If your own insurance company requests a recorded statement from you, you are required to comply, but you should contact an attorney first.

  3. Stick to the facts and avoid offering any opinions.

    Do not provide any of your own opinions about the accident to the insurance company – either your own insurer or the other driver’s insurer.

    At some point, one or more adjusters may call you and ask you a series of questions. While it is important that you answer those questions honestly, you should stick to the facts.

    If the insurance agent asks any questions that require you to provide your opinion or to provide information that is in any way subjective, just stick solely to facts.

  4. Be careful to avoid discussing your injuries.

    In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the insurance company may ask you about the injuries you sustained. It is essential that you avoid providing any information about injuries until you have spoken with a car accident lawyer.

    You may not have all of the facts about your injuries. You may not realize you are injured or you could leave out important information that your healthcare provider would give about the injuries you sustained.

    If you accidentally leave out important information or provide information that is not 100 percent medically accurate, you could risk losing your right to recover damages.

    More importantly, you may not know about the full extent of your injuries. As the Mayo Clinic explains, some car accident injuries like whiplash can take time before symptoms appear.

    If you fail to disclose information about a specific injury, the insurance company may try to use that to prevent you from recovering anything for that injury.

  5. Do not give a recorded statement.

    As we mentioned, it is extremely important to be honest and stick to the facts when you are speaking with an insurance adjuster. At the same time, you do not want to give even a brief statement if it is going to be recorded.

    Many insurance companies ask injury victims to make recorded statements. While this might sound like a relatively straightforward task, you do not want the insurer to have your statement on record. Your words can – and most likely will – be used against you.

    In some instances, an insurance company will require a recorded statement. You should not do this until you have spoken first with a Virginia auto accident lawyer.

    If your own insurance company requests a recorded statement from you, then you should decline to speak as well until you talk with a lawyer.

  6. Do not agree to a settlement until you meet with a lawyer.

    In some situations, the insurer knows that its insured is responsible for an accident. The insurer may try to settle with the victim.

    However, you should never accept a settlement offer until you speak with a lawyer.

    Insurance companies want to pay as little as they can to settle a case. They are never on the side of the person involved in the accident.

    While a settlement offer might look appealing — especially if you are worried about how you will pay your bills — you should not agree to a settlement without your attorney’s advice. You may be able to obtain a much larger settlement than what the insurer initially offers to you, especially if you do not realize the full extent of your injuries.

Talk with Our Virginia Car Accident Lawyers

When you are dealing with an insurance adjuster after a car crash, it is extremely important to have an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer on your side.

Our firm has been assisting injured plaintiffs for more than 100 years. We are dedicated to helping Virginia residents who have sustained injuries because of another party’s negligence. We will advocate tirelessly on your behalf.

Contact Marks & Harrison today to learn more about our services.

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