Houston, TX Car Accident Lawyer
Within a few days after a car accident, you may receive a call from an insurance adjuster. While he or she may attempt to keep the call friendly and casual, this is a conversation that you should approach with extreme caution. If you give away too much or let your guard down, the conversation could affect how much you can recover in damages.
Here are some tips for handling the conversation with the insurance adjuster in a way that is not detrimental to you.
- Do Not Agree To Have Your Conversation Recorded
An insurance adjuster may ask your permission to record your conversation, perhaps with the excuse that it is for your protection or some vague “quality control.” Anything you say in the recording is evidence that, if damaging to your claim, is very difficult to refute, correct, or expand on later. You have the right to refuse to have any part of the conversation recorded, and you should assert your right very clearly at the beginning of the conversation.
- Set Limits on Conversations
This means keeping the time you spend on the initial conversation short and restricting the amount of information that you share with the insurance adjuster. However, it also means making clear that you will not make a habit of receiving his or her calls. In the interest of presenting and receiving accurate information, you should conduct most of the proceedings related to the claim in writing.
- Identify the Caller
When you first answer the phone, the adjuster will probably identify himself or herself by name. Ask for the information again so you can write it down. In addition to the adjuster’s name, collect his or her contact information (phone number and address), and the name of the insurance company he or she works for. Confirm the name of the insured, i.e., the other party involved in the accident, whose name you should have collected at the scene.
- Give No Details Related to the Accident
The only details about the accident that you have to share are:
- The type of accident
- The vehicles involved
- When and where it took place
- The identity of any witnesses
If the adjuster presses you for any further information, politely inform him or her that your investigation of the accident is still ongoing. Do not discuss any details of your injuries, and just say you are “still treating.”
During this phone call, you should remain polite but guarded. The adjuster may press you for more information or to accept a settlement, neither of which is typically in your interest. One of our attorneys can help you deal constructively with the insurance company.
Contacting a car accident lawyer
One final thing to keep in mind when working with insurance companies is that if you do take the company to court or reach a settlement, the company will almost always pay you promptly. If your accident occurred in or near the Houston area, we recommend working with a lawyer who has proven experience working in local and state courts.