Avoid These Mistakes When Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016


What You Shouldn’t Say

What you say following an accident is very important- and saying a few wrong words can end up costing you multiple thousands of dollars.

Common statements that shouldn’t be said often include:

  • “I was distracted by my passenger(s).”
  • “I was just changing the radio station.”
  • “My tires are worn and I’ve been meaning to replace them.”
  • “My brake pedals have been weak.”
  • “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”
  • “I’m not injured and I don’t need medical help.”

Making such statements can make it more difficult for you when negotiating with a claim adjuster. Explaining yourself or talking your way out of such a statement just makes the entire process trickier. Less in more in these cases. Make sure to note down any remarks made by others involved in a crash.

Tips to Avoid Setting Yourself Up

Claims adjusters are trained to do everything in their power to pay as little as possible in settlement payouts. Even common phrases that aren’t even in regards to your accident can compromise your claim.

With this sort of greeting:

Adjuster: “Hello, how are you today?”

Client: “Good, and yourself?”

The claim is compromised right from the get-go. Why? You said you are doing “good.” Every word is measured.

So how do you avoid all these little mistakes? Don’t panic. If you’ve decided to represent yourself in your accident claim, here are some tips to help you through the mind-numbing process.

Don’t be too friendly.

We’re not telling you to be impolite or to disrespect them at all. Just show that you have a firm hand, and believe every word you say. Only your truth is the real truth. Be professional; set abusiness tone and don’t let yourself get too soft.

Don’t allow them to get your recorded statement.

If you have an attorney, recorded statements are safer. However, once you give a recorded statement, your claim is confined to the constraints made by the statement. Only the insurance company benefits from this.

Be on your guard. Don’t let the adjuster butter you up.

Adjusters are trained to try and engage you in informal conversations and will do everything they can to get you to relax and feel comfortable with them.

Don’t give opinions.

Limit the information you provide your adjuster to locations, dates, times, names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, and vehicle locations.

Don’t lie. It’s pointless.

If the adjuster catches a lie, you lose credibility, and anything you say from that point on will be questionable in their eyes.

Don’t sign any medical releases.

Save this for the end of your treatment. Adjusters don’t need to address your medical issues in the beginning.

You don’t have to give them your social security number.

This small piece of information gives your adjuster access to a vast amount of personal information. And although they aren’t supposed to, they can look up anything about you that they can use to their advantage.

Don’t mention anything about injuries you had prior to the accident.

This can greatly set back your claim. This can be used against you in many ways.

Don’t mention “whiplash.”

This is a huge caution sign to adjusters. Claiming whiplash without any medical proof is sure to give you opposition. Adjusters even argue whiplash claims that have already been diagnosed.

No exaggerating. Telling the truth is the best option.

Exaggeration can only strain your claim. You’ll have to remember exactly what you said and which parts of your claims you emphasized. Keep it short, simple, and real.

Don’t bother giving them information about your friends, family, or anyone you know.

You don’t want your adjuster speaking with anyone who might imply that you are dishonest.

Don’t assume that your claim will settle.

If you have to repeat everything in front of a judge, you’ll want to repeat exactly the truth. Otherwise, things will get even more difficult.

Don’t guess.

Don’t think you have to answer all their questions. If you don’t know, just say you don’t know. If you can remember, just say you can’t remember. You can always get any necessary information at another time.