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Avoid These 7 Insurance Adjuster Traps After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and confusing experience.  On top of dealing with injuries and car repairs, you’ll likely be contacted by an insurance adjuster from both your own insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

While they may seem friendly and helpful, it’s important to remember that their primary goal is to settle your claim as quickly as possible for the least amount of money possible. Here are 7 common traps insurance adjusters use and advice from an Ohio personal injury lawyer on how to avoid them:

Avoid These 7 Insurance Adjuster Traps After a Car Accident

1. Providing a Recorded Statement without Legal Counsel

Immediately following the accident, insurance adjusters may request a recorded statement to get your account of the accident. Adjusters are trained to be pushy and attempt to extract a statement from you. While this may seem harmless, anything you say in this statement can be used against you later.

It’s important to politely decline to give a recorded statement, and respond that you will be happy to cooperate once you have spoken with a lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you ensure your statement is accurate, protects your legal rights, and doesn’t jeopardize your claim.

2. Accepting an Early Settlement Offer

An age-old trap in the insurance industry is to immediately wave a check in front of someone after they were injured in a car accident. To some, it seems like a relief to expedite the process and see some money— but settling quickly can jeopardize your financial situation for years to come.

The offer is likely to be much lower than the full value of your claim, especially if you don’t know the full extent of your medical bills yet. Often, these up-front settlements will also ignore your non-economic damages such as mental anguish and pain and suffering, significantly lowering the value of your claim.

Play Video about Car Accidents 101

Founding Partner Allen Tittle breaks down your next steps after a car accident.

Don’t feel pressured to accept an early settlement— it is in your best interest to decline. It’s important to know exactly what you are owed, and what damages you are entitled to be compensated for. Speaking with a car accident attorney can help you determine the next steps in your claim.

3. Signing Medical Release Forms Without Review

An insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a medical release form that allows them to access your medical records from the crash. While this may seem reasonable, it’s important to have an attorney review the form first.

Many adjusters will send forms that are broader than necessary, and give the adjuster access to your lifelong medical history. Some adjusters will in turn use this information to try and paint a picture that your injuries were influenced by a pre-existing condition.

Reviewing the medical release forms with a car accident lawyer will ensure that the release is limited to the specific accident, and related injuries only.

4. Minimizing Your Injuries or Symptoms

In the aftermath and shock of the accident, you may not feel the full extent of your injuries. It’s important to have no delay in medical treatment, even if you think your injuries are minor. Adjusters will evaluate when your accident was, and when you sought medical treatment.

In our culture, sometimes we don’t want to make it seem like we are trying to get attention. Never downplay your injuries or symptoms when speaking to the insurance adjuster, even if you are just trying to be positive. Be honest and truthful about how you are feeling, or they can use it against you.

5. Posting on Social Media

This is a huge DON’T! We understand a car accident is a traumatic experience, and you may feel inclined to share this life-altering event with close friends and family. It’s important to avoid this urge, because insurance adjusters have ways of seeing your posts, sometimes even if your page is private.

While you may not think about it, it’s important to lay low on social media in general during the duration of your claim. Posting pictures of you smiling, enjoying yourself, and more can be framed to make it seem like your injuries weren’t as serious as you claim them to be.

Avoid These 7 Insurance Adjuster Traps After a Car Accident

6. Failing to Document Your Damages

It’s important to collect evidence from the start of the accident. To start, you should take pictures of your car at the scene, and then photograph it after to show the full extent of the damage. It is also crucial to document photographs of your injuries, and to continue to take pictures throughout your recovery process.

You should be keeping detailed records of all accident-related expenses, such as medical bills, car repair estimates, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket costs. This documentation will clearly outline your claim, and be crucial when negotiating a fair settlement.

7. Settling Without Understanding Future Expenses

After an injury, you may not know exactly how your injuries are going to affect your finances or quality of life down the road. Settling your claim too early could leave you financially responsible for future medical care, and uncompensated for a loss in quality of life.

An experienced car accident lawyer will hire a life care planner to help evaluate what the financial and lifestyle impacts of your injuries will be, and work to get you fairly compensated for these damages.

Turn 2 Tittle & Perlmuter | (216) 222-2222

After a car accident in Northeast Ohio, Turn 2 Tittle & Perlmuter. With millions recovered for our clients, we will work to get you justice in your claim. To learn more about car accident claims and how we handle them, visit our car accidents page.

If you would like to learn the next steps in your claim, call us now or fill out the digital form to schedule a free strategy session with one of our legal team members.