Car wreck: Should I speak to the other side’s insurance adjuster? (Be careful!)

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Car wreck: Should I speak to the other side’s insurance adjuster? (Be careful!)

Car wreck: Should I speak to the other side's insurance adjuster? (Be careful!)

I’ve been handling personal injury, wrongful death, and similar cases over the last 25 years.

Over those 25 years, there is one question that has come up a lot: Should you speak to the other side’s insurance adjuster?

So you’ve been in a car wreck and the other side had insurance, which is good. 

Now the adjuster from the insurance company reaches out to you and says, “Hey, I want to talk to you. I want to get a recorded statement so I can understand what happened. It will help me to be able to help you.”

Before deciding whether or not to speak with the adjuster, there are a few things you need to understand about who they are and what they do.

The insurance adjuster is not your friend.

First, understand that the adjuster works for the other insurance company.

This adjuster from the other company is not your friend. 

They may be friendly to you on the phone or they may be nice in emails.

However, they are not your friend. 

You may decide to talk to them because you feel like they are a nice person or you have a connection with them. 

It may seem like they are trying to do the right thing. 

But this is simply not the case. 

This is not their job. 

Their job is not to get you the most money that you’re entitled to. 

Their job is to pay out nothing if possible.

If they can’t do that, then their job is to make sure you get as little money as possible. 

They never want to pay you what you’re fully entitled to.

This is what’s right for them to do – it’s literally their job. 

They don’t represent you. 

This is not your own insurance company and they have no obligation to you. 

Instead, their obligation is to their insurance company, and their insurance company wants to pay out as little money as possible. 

Should you talk to the adjuster?

If you decide to talk to them, I would be very very hesitant to give them a “recorded statement.”

Normally they will say, “Hey, this statement is being recorded.”

But any time you are talking to them, you can assume you are being recorded. 

So be very careful about this. 

What they want you to do, either on your own or through your answers to their very skillful questions, is to get you to say in a “recorded statement” that the injuries you have are not as severe as they really are. 

Here’s an example of how they do this:

I’ve been in a car wreck and I’m talking to this seemingly nice insurance adjuster. 

The adjuster says to me, “So you were hurt in the wreck?”

I say, “Oh yeah, my neck has been killing me.”

Adjuster: “Okay, so your neck was hurt. Tell me about that. Did you ever hurt it before?”

Me: “No, I didn’t have any neck problems before.”

Adjuster: “Anything else?”

Me: “No, it’s really just my neck.”

Adjuster: “Okay, so it is only your neck that’s bothering you and your neck has never hurt you before?”

Me: “Yes, that’s right.”

Now, I am exaggerating a little for the example, but here is what the adjuster has done through this line of simple questions.

If my shoulder hurts, they will use that recorded statement to point out that you only talked about your neck. 

Well, my left knee also hurts but I didn’t mention that because I was fixated on my neck. 

Then they go through my medical records and it turns out 6 years ago I complained to a doctor that I was having neck pain. 

So, the only injury is my neck and I “lied” about that because they had me say on a recorded line that it never bothered me before. 

I had forgotten that I had trouble with it 6 years ago.

So this very nice adjuster asked a few very simple, informal questions and it became a big problem for me later. 

You have to be very careful when talking to these adjusters. 

As you’re describing the wreck, if you leave anything out at the end they’ll say, “Is there anything else that you need to tell me? Anything else that’s important?” and you say, “No, I think I’ve covered it all.”

But you left out some detail that could come back to hurt you. 

I’m not saying that you should never talk to them. 

You make that decision if you’re representing yourself. 

If we represent you or another lawyer represents you, then speak with your lawyer about it. 

Whatever you decide, be careful

Remember that this adjuster is not your friend.

They are not here to get you a fair settlement. 

In fact, they are here to make sure, if at all possible, that you get an unfair settlement. 

It’s not that they are inherently bad people, it is just their job. 

They are not paid to be your friend. 

This same thing happens during litigation cases or wrongful death cases during depositions for my clients. 

I’ll tell my clients as they are about to be deposed, “Look, this guy is going to be nice to you. But he is not your friend. He is being nice so that you will lower your guard and say things you shouldn’t say.”

So just be careful when talking to someone from the other side. 

If you’ve been in a wreck in the state of Alabama and you have questions, feel free to reach out to us and I’ll be glad to answer any questions that you have. 

You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form and we will get in touch with you quickly. 

Thanks for reading!

-John Watts

P.S. If you are interested in more information about car wrecks & personal injury claims, check out some of our other articles below:

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