Do I Need a Lawyer Before Calling a Claims Adjustor?
The one entity standing between your accident and obtaining fair compensation on your claim is the insurance adjustor. Whether you’re partly to blame or not, it’s imperative to know your rights before agreeing to a settlement. After a collision, you will be dealing with your own insurance carrier and an adjustor of the other driver’s insurance company. It the adjustor’s position to research the accident, evaluate the terms of your policies, and then calculate a settlement value. Is it absolutely necessary to retain a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer before calling or speaking to a claims adjustor? No, in many cases it is not.
However, whether it is the at-fault driver’s insurance adjustor or an adjustor from your own company, having trusted legal representation is a smart call of action for numerous reasons. The most obvious is that it is the adjustor’s job to reduce the insurance company’s financial exposure, which means keeping settlements as low as possible. After all, insurance companies are in business to turn a profit, which means their staff are trained negotiators.
Legal representation gives you an advantage
If you hire a lawyer right off the bat – before speaking to a claims adjustor — you are already one step ahead in the game. Insurance companies may counsel you against hiring an attorney on the grounds that a settlement is forthcoming and legal costs would be redundant. In reality, they realize their usual tactics won’t prove fruitful with claimants who are represented. An experienced lawyer will negotiate a settlement that minimizes your liabilities and maximizes compensation – an invaluable asset in serious accidents that result in significant personal injuries and medical expenses.
Maximizing the value of injury claims isn’t just legal rhetoric. Take the 2008 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council which found that claimants with legal representation recovered nearly twice as much on their accident claims compared to those without an attorney. Even when you factor in the standard contingency fee agreement of 33 percent (the amount paid to the lawyers after a settlement), it still makes financial sense to hire an attorney.
Let your attorney do the talking for you
Auto accidents are emotionally-charged events. And while you are obliged to tell a claims adjustor your full name, address, and contact information, the rest of the details are best communicated by your attorney. If an adjustor calls you right away, try and keep your conversation short and to the point. Be polite and cooperative, but you can respectfully decline further discussion about the circumstances of the accident or your injuries, informing them that your attorney will be handling the rest.
If you are caught unaware with a phone call, the insurance adjustor may ask if they can record the conversation. Do not give them permission and tell them that you have a lawyer working on your behalf. The insurance adjustor may go to great lengths to seem friendly and be working “on your side” to elicit more details about the crash, but don’t fall for this ruse. Always think carefully before you speak and remember that written or recorded statements can be used in court to reduce your credibility and settlement payout.
Protect yourself before speaking to a claims adjustor
Whether you were hit by a distracted driver or rear-ended in a parking lot, insurance companies are just as eager as you to get the case resolved quickly. Unfortunately, this motivation does not imply fair dealing. Adjustors often use misleading language when discussing your claim with an eye toward testing the waters. If it becomes evident that you aren’t fully aware of your rights, and that you can demand reparations for out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, they will take advantage of this. When you partner with the Los Angeles law firm of Ellis Law, you can put these worries behind you. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of the system, how insurance carriers deny or underpay car accident claims, and what they are legally allowed to ask of you.
For any kind of accident causing severe injury or property damage, there is no substitute for having an accomplished Los Angeles car accident lawyer in your corner. Ellis Law is all too familiar with tactics used by insurance adjustors in California. We know the strategies they employ to diminish your damages and losses by citing such things as unnecessary, excessive or disallowed by the policy holder.
Ellis Law offers complimentary consultations for all prospective clients. Before you speak to a claims adjustor take advantage of a free case review with a personal injury attorney who consistently gets outstanding results.