When you are involved in a car accident in New Orleans, the insurance adjuster for the other driver might contact you to discuss the accident and your injuries. Before you talk to an adjuster, there are a few things you should know. In fact, we urge you to talk to our New Orleans car accident attorney before you talk to the insurance adjuster for the other driver.
What is an Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company or an independent adjuster hired by the insurance company for the other driver. The most important thing to understand about this person is that he or she works for the insurance company — the adjuster does not represent you regarding your accident claim. It is the adjuster’s job to investigate the accident and your claim.
The adjuster reviews the evidence to determine if the company’s insured is at fault, and if so, how much your claim is worth. In some cases, the adjuster may offer an amount to settle the claim. In other cases, the adjuster may report his findings to the insurance company and another agent will take over the claim from that point.
In either case, the adjuster is not trying to get you the most money for your claim. He is trying to pay the least amount of money for your claim because that is in the best interest of the insurance company. Therefore, you need to be very careful if you interact with an insurance adjuster without an attorney.
Should I Sign the Medical Release for the Adjuster?
No, we do not recommend that you sign a medical release or authorization for an insurance adjuster. The adjuster might tell you that he needs your records before he can pay your claim. However, you might not catch that the release does not specify records related to the accident.
If the insurance company obtains your full medical history, it will scrutinize your records looking for prior injuries, illnesses, and accidents. The company may try to use something it finds in your records to argue your current injury is a result of a past problem.
Your medical records are a very important element of your injury claim. As your attorneys, we want to present a compelling case for full settlement of all damages. Therefore, we want to include medical records that support the allegation you suffered an injury because of the accident. However, we want to protect your medical history. We must disclose relevant information, but your medical history should remain private except for records related to the injury and accident.
Should I Agree to Provide a Statement to the Adjuster?
Another common request by adjusters is for you to provide a recorded or written statement. We do not advise that you provide a statement without first consulting our office. The insurance company is seeking information it can use against you. Once you provide a written or recorded statement, you are bound by what you said in that statement.
If you are going to provide a statement, we advise you to do so only when you are represented by an attorney. Your attorney is present to ensure that you are not asked inappropriate or irrelevant questions or harassed by the person conducting the interview.
Do I Need an Attorney for My New Orleans Car Accident?
It is in your best interest to consult with a New Orleans car accident attorney, especially if you are not being charged for the visit. Our NoLA accident attorneys offer free consultations so that you can get answers to your questions before you deal with an insurance adjuster.
Contact Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm by calling (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to schedule a free case review. Get the information you need about your legal rights if you have been injured in a traffic accident.