What Is an Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster, or a claims adjuster, is an individual who works as an investigator on behalf of an insurance company. When a policyholder files a claim, or another party (such as the plaintiff in a personal injury case) files a suit against a policyholder, the adjuster will investigate all aspects of the claim in order to determine what actually occurred during the incident which spurred the claim.
When an insurance adjuster is investigating a claim, he or she will attempt to obtain as much information relating to the events upon which the claim is based as possible. Such evidence can include photographs, medical records, interviews, police reports, and anything else that may be relevant.
The Role of an Insurance Adjuster in a Maryland Personal Injury Claim
If you or someone you love has been injured and you are pursuing a personal injury claim, it is important to recognize what role a claims adjuster will play in such a suit. While it is true that the job of the adjuster is to investigate the circumstances of a claim, he or she is not a neutral investigator by any means. The job of the adjuster is not to gather the relevant details and determine the truth what happened; the job of the adjuster is to gather any and all evidence which is beneficial to the insurance company. The sole concern of an insurance company in dealing with personal injury claims is financial: to avoid paying any compensation whatsoever, or paying the smallest amount possible.
Why You Should Avoid Speaking with an Insurance Adjuster
If you have been in an accident and an insurance adjuster attempts to speak to you, the best course of action is to decline any contact and instruct the adjuster to contact your attorney. Insurance adjusters will use a variety of tactics to get accident victims to make a statement that in some way minimizes their injuries and/or admits some degree of fault. Such tactics often include:
- Surveillance: It may sound far-fetched, but often times victims are put under surveillance by the insurance company in an effort to catch them behaving in a manner that is contrary to the injuries sustained. For example, if you sustained a shoulder injury and an adjustor captures footage of you carrying heavy bags of groceries just days after injury occurred, they would present this as evidence to demonstrate you are not as injured as you claimed.
- Surprise Visits: Instead of surreptitiously watching you, an adjuster just may show up unannounced at your door in effort to catch you acting in a way that would hurt your case, or to try and obtain information from you when you are not adequately prepared or expecting to answer questions. These visits may even occur while you are still taking pain medication or sedatives, which can impair your ability to communicate clearly.
- Requesting Medical Records: An insurance adjuster may attempt to approach you and ask that you sign a form, giving the insurance company access to your medical records. While there is a valid reason why an insurance company will need to review medical records relating to the incident, sometimes these forms are specifically designed to be overly broad and give the insurance company access to way more than just the records relating to the current injury. With unlimited access to your medical records, an insurance company could attempt to blame current symptoms on something they find in your medical past in an attempt to minimize your payout.
- Advising You That You Don't Need a Lawyer: One of the most powerful weapons a victim in a personal injury claim can have when sitting down with the other party's insurance company is an experienced attorney, and claims adjusters are all too aware of this. Adjusters will tell victims that the interviews they request are just for information-gathering purposes, and that no lawyer is necessary. The questions they ask during interviews are specifically designed to make victims minimize the extent of their injuries, and without legal counsel, many people agree to sit down with an adjuster to make a recorded statement, only to later find their words were used against them.
Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys
All too often, accident victims are forced to deal with insurance adjusters in the aftermath of a serious injury when they should be spending their time and energy focusing on their recovery. If you or someone you love has been injured, contact the Gilman & Bedigian team today. We will deal with insurance company representatives so your energy can be focused on moving forward with your life.