Should I talk to an attorney or an insurance adjuster after a car accident?

Hi, this is Tom from Hal Waldman and Associates and the topic of this particular video is going to be whether you should talk to an attorney or an insurance adjuster following a car accident. By the time that many people have called our office, they’ve already talked to an insurance adjuster. And to a certain extent, that is not something that we can prevent.

Typically, when somebody is involved in a car accident, they have damage to their car, they want to get their car fixed. And the first thing that they do is they call their own insurance company to make that happen. If the client happens to have been injured in the accident, then oftentimes, the insurance company will open up a medical claim, and the client will have spoken to that medical adjuster.

In addition to the property damage adjuster, to a certain extent, you have to speak to and communicate with your own insurance company. The thing that we are concerned about is whether or not you’ve spoken to the other party’s insurance adjuster. There are some concerns with that. Typically, because no matter how nice or polite they are to you, they’re really not on your side.

They are on the side of the person who caused the accident. And that’s true, even if you and the person who caused the accident, are insured by the same company. So you have to take particular care to make sure that when somebody from an insurance company is calling you, you know whether they’re acting on your behalf, or whether they’re acting on behalf of the other driver.

For that reason, when somebody calls us, one of the first things that I tell them at the conclusion of our conversation is that they should not be talking to insurance companies. And when a person retains us to represent them, one of the first things that we do is we send out a letter to all of the insurance companies telling them that they need to contact me and not the client.

A particular example that comes to mind about the importance of not talking to insurance adjusters is a young woman called me years ago, and she was involved in an accident where somebody had turned left in front of her. And the person that had turned left in front of her also happened to be drunk at the time. The caller was injured, and she wanted to think about whether she should hire a lawyer or not hire a lawyer. And so we ended our conversation.

A couple weeks later, she called me back and said she wanted to hire me. So I sent her the paper, she sent it back to me I called the insurance company. And the insurance company said the insurance company for the other party said they were only going to pay her 80% of her property damage. And I said what what do you mean, your driver was drunk and turned left in front of my client? And the insurance representative said, heah, well, your client was speeding. And I said, How do you know that? And she said, because your client called us and gave us a recorded statement. And the speed limit was 45. And she said she was going 50. Now, when I went back, and I told that to the client, she was upset and I said to her, you remember I told you don’t talk to the insurance company. But she did. And because she had that one phone call, she lost 20% of her car’s property value. So that’s a really good example of a reason why you call a lawyer and not an insurance company.