You should only speak with an insurance adjuster for the limited purpose of setting up a claim. You do not need to give a recorded statement and we strongly advise against your doing so. It should be sufficient to give them your contact information, advise that you have been in an accident and that their insured is at fault. Let them conduct their investigation, speak with their own insured and get the police report to establish fault. If they insist on getting a complete version of the story from you, let them know that you are willing to do so – after speaking with a lawyer. The kind, concerned insurance adjuster is gathering information to defeat or minimize the value of your serious injury claim. Don’t be fooled. Just because they tell you they are accepting liability doesn’t mean that they are going to fully compensate you and make things right.
Some insurance claims adjusters will send you a letter or call you and tell you that you don’t need a lawyer. They might tell you that your claim will be settled faster, you get to keep all of the recovery rather than pay a percentage to a lawyer, and that you can always hire a lawyer later. Remember, these people are not on your side. Their goal is to settle your case as cheaply as possible.
You should always discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer before agreeing to anything. The majority of lawyers, including DJ Banovitz, will answer your questions in a free consultation. Ethical lawyers will tell you up front if they think that there is a benefit to hiring them. You should have an idea from a professional what the value of your case is compared to others.
Delaying settlement until the full extent of your injuries, damages and losses is known may in your best interest. It might seem attractive to accept a quick settlement of a few thousand dollars. Beware – when you settle and release your claims, if it turns out you are more badly hurt than you thought, you don’t get another bite of the apple. The bottom line is you should speak with a lawyer before speaking with an adjuster.