Five Common Lies an Insurance Adjuster Tells
People carry insurance to protect themselves against accidental injuries, and against financial liability for causing an injury to someone else. That means that after an injury, you have a good chance of interacting with an insurance adjuster.
An insurance adjuster’s job is to evaluate an insurance claim and to decide whether and how much the insurance company will pay. The adjuster’s goal in most cases is to figure out how to minimize that payment as much as possible.
In their efforts to find reasons not to pay a claim, insurance adjusters may outright lie to claimants.
Here are just some of the untruths an insurance adjuster may tell you in hopes of undermining your insurance claim.
Lie #1: You Must Give a Recorded Statement
Insurance adjusters want to get you on tape. Why? Because if they can get you to say something out loud that hurts your claim, they want it on tape as evidence to use against you.
Adjusters may lie and tell you that you must give them a recorded statement. With rare exceptions, that’s just not true. You probably do not have to give a recorded statement to an insurance company representative, and you certainly don’t have to do so right now. If an adjuster tells you that you must give a recorded statement, politely say you’re not ready to do so and call your personal injury attorney to find out how to proceed.
Another common tactic that insurance adjusters use to get a recorded statement from you is to tell you they want to record the call for “quality control purposes.” If you do not object to the recording by stating that you don’t agree to the recording, then the information you provide in that recording is fair game.
The best way to avoid giving a recorded statement to an adjuster is to let an experienced personal injury attorney handle your communications with the insurance company. That gives you control over if and when you ever give a statement on tape.
Lie #2: We Need Your Social Security Number
The insurance company does not need your Social Security number to evaluate your claim or to issue payment to you. Unfortunately, though, if you fall for the lie and provide them with this information, they can use it to run a background check on you. They will use information from your driving history or criminal history to discredit you.
Lie #3: You Must Use Our Preferred Doctor, Auto Body Shop, Etc.
Insurance companies will often strike “deals” with physicians or auto body shops who agree to provide lower-priced services in exchange for repeat business. While there is nothing illegal about an adjuster suggesting a doctor or shop that they prefer you to work with, in most cases, they cannot require you to use their recommended provider. You own your car and your body, and within reason, you can choose to get both fixed wherever and by whomever you wish.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however. In workers’ compensation cases and claims against your own health insurance policy, you may have to use a provider approved by the insurance company. Your attorney can advise you if there is an exception in your case.
Finally, during your claim’s evaluation, an insurance company can sometimes require you to have an independent medical exam (IME) by a physician of their choosing. This exam will not prove you need care, but rather, the insurance company will use it to prove you don’t. Your attorney can help you to prepare for an IME if you need to undergo one.
Lie #4: You Must Sign a General Release
A general release will release the insurance company from any liability for future claims from you for compensation. It’s common to sign a release in connection with a negotiated settlement of a claim, but never do so
until you review it with your lawyer. In all cases, signing a release could leave you with unclaimed expenses and no recourse.
Lie #5: You Don’t Need an Attorney
Insurance adjusters will often try to deal with you directly and as soon as possible after you get hurt, before you can speak with an attorney. They do this because they know that an experienced lawyer on your side will make their job of disproving or reducing your claim much harder. In other words, they want to take advantage of you.
A skilled personal injury attorney can insulate you from an insurance adjuster’s lies and other tactics by providing you with:
- A free, no-obligation case evaluation in which you have time with an attorney to obtain answers to your legal questions and to explore your options for seeking compensation.
- A valuation of your case that provides a full-picture glimpse of the expenses and quality-of-life impacts you have incurred because of your injury and those you will likely incur. Many claimants who have received a quick, lowball settlement offer from an insurance company are surprised at how much their case is actually worth and how little the insurance company was hoping to get by with paying.
- A determination of all sources of liability and all insurance resources that can compensate you. Insurance pays nearly all personal injury claims, either through settlement or award.
- The collection of evidence and witness testimony you need to prove your claim. In addition to lying, insurance adjusters have other tactics to reduce your claim, such as arguing that the accident did not happen the way you said it did, or they blame you, or they blame your injuries on a pre-existing condition. An experienced personal injury attorney can gather the documentation you need to show when your injuries occurred and how they affected you.
To learn more about your rights when an insurance adjuster wants to talk to you about your personal injuries, contact a skilled personal injury lawyer today.