If you’ve been involved in a Virginia Car Accident recently, it’s likely that the insurance adjustor for the guy or gal that hit you is calling you . And you’re probably worried about whether you can (or should) talk to them. While we at BenGlassLaw recommend always calling an attorney first, should you choose to do so, you can certainly talk to the insurance adjustor.
But there’s a couple things you should keep in mind when doing so:
1. You’re not required to give a recorded statement.
It’s likely the first thing the insurance adjustor will ask you – “will you give us a recoded statement?” Our advice is to not give one because it’s not required. They may claim that they can’t deal with you or they will “close out your claim.” But they know that at any time (within the statute of limitations) that you can file a law suit. So it does them no good.
Instead, tell them that you’re still treating and exploring your options. Should you ultimately choose that you want to attempt to settle your own case (without the use of an attorney), you will give them a written demand anyway. They don’t need the recorded statement to adequately process your claim. What’s more, they may try to use it against you if they are able to.
2. You’re not required to sign a medical release form.
If you choose to pursue your accident claim, at some point, you will need to produce “relevant” medical records so that they can properly evaluate your claim. You will also produce the accident report, photographs of damage and injuries, medical bills and other documents. After all, it’s your burden to prove your damages.
If you sign the medical release, they will not only acquire your “relevant” medical records; you should assume they are going to get all of your medical records. While they may not be able to use all the records against you, there’s simply no reason they need your urology records from a procedure 10 years before the accident.
3. You probably don’t know the defendant’s insurance limits. But you can force the adjustor to disclose those limits if your medical bills exceed $12,500.
For those of you that have high medical bills, we always urge you to talk with an attorney before pursuing your claim. That said, Virginia law compels the insurance company to disclose their insured’s limits once your bills exceed $12,500.
Aside from providing them the bills, the police accident report, and sufficient medical records showing a connection, there shouldn’t be much issue in getting their limits. If the insurance adjustor isn’t up front about this process, then you need to speak to an attorney immediately before going forward.
4. Be respectful. Being an insurance adjustor isn’t an easy job. And you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Keep in mind – this doesn’t mean that insurance adjustors are your friend. But one of your golden rules (not just in deal with adjustors but people in general) should be to treat others as you’d like to be treated. I think by also trying to understand the otherside, it makes you a more compelling and sympathetic claimant, which means more value in your claim.
Being an adjustor is a pretty difficult job. Generally, they don’t get paid well. They live by deadlines. And they are trained to see people as dollars and not people. They also have to deal with attorneys (and who in their right mind would like attorneys?!).
So when dealing with them, be very respectful and polite. It doesn’t meant that you have to be a door matt. But you can stand your ground respectfully.
What’s more, it’s common sense that you get further when people like you. I’m not saying that adjustors will give away the store because you’re nice. But when things are close, it will usually benefit you. And if you cant come to an agreement, being nasty or rude will definitely not help your case.
We hope you find this article helpful. Of course, if you have any questions, call BenGlassLaw.