It’s Highly Advisable to Have a Skilled Injury Lawyer by Your Side When Dealing with an Insurance Adjuster after an Accident in New Jersey
An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster or claims examiner, is a specialist who examines insurance claims to establish the scope of an insurance company’s obligation and the appropriate level of compensation for the policyholder. Their role is crucial in the insurance industry, as they assess the validity of claims and help determine the appropriate settlement for covered losses. However, knowing what you should and shouldn’t do when dealing with insurance adjusters after an accident is absolutely imperative to obtain the compensation you are truly entitled to. Being prepared with knowledge and information is critical. Better yet, have an attorney at the ready to preserve your rights and advocate on your behalf.
What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do in New Jersey?
Insurance adjusters can work for insurance companies directly or be independent professionals hired by insurance companies on a contract basis. They handle various types of claims, such as property damage, personal injury, or liability claims.
Adjusters review insurance policies, investigate the circumstances of the claim, and determine whether the policy covers the loss or damage. They gather evidence, inspect damaged property, interview involved parties, and consult experts (e.g., contractors and medical professionals) to assess the extent of the loss or injury.
They analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the claim to determine who is at fault or responsible for the incident. Based on their findings, they negotiate with policyholders, claimants, and other parties to reach a fair settlement amount. Adjusters serve as a point of contact between the insurance company and the policyholder, providing updates on the claim’s progress and answering questions.
What is the Role of a Car Insurance Company?
The purpose of a car insurance company is to provide financial protection and coverage for individuals and their vehicles in the event of accidents, damage, theft, or other covered incidents. Car insurance is a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company, where the policyholder pays a premium in exchange for the insurer’s promise to provide compensation for covered losses.
Car insurance offers financial protection to policyholders by covering the costs associated with damage to their vehicles or property and injuries to themselves or others involved in accidents. It helps individuals mitigate the potentially significant financial burdens arising from accidents, repairs, medical expenses, or legal liabilities.
Insurance companies help policyholders transfer the risk of potential losses to the insurer. By paying a premium, the policyholder shifts the financial responsibility to the insurance company, which pools the premiums from many policyholders to cover the claims costs.
Insurance companies employ adjusters and claims examiners who investigate accidents, assess the damages, and handle claims. They play a crucial role in determining the liability, evaluating the extent of the damage or injuries, and facilitating the claims process to ensure timely compensation for the policyholders.
Overall, the purpose of a car insurance company is to provide financial protection, manage risks, and ensure peace of mind for policyholders in the face of potential losses or liabilities arising from owning and operating a vehicle.
Learn the Legal Requirements For Insurance Companies After An Accident
In New Jersey, insurance companies have specific legal requirements to fulfill after an accident occurs. These requirements are designed to protect the rights of policyholders and ensure that claims are handled fairly.
Insurance companies must acknowledge receipt of a claim within 10 business days and respond to the claim within a reasonable time frame. They should provide necessary claim forms and instructions to the policyholder. They must handle claims in good faith. This means they must fairly and honestly evaluate the claim, communicate with the policyholder promptly, and make a reasonable effort to settle the claim promptly, offering a fair settlement.
Insurance companies must inform policyholders of their rights and obligations during the claims process. They should communicate any limitations, deductibles, or exclusions that may apply to the claim. Also, they must explain in writing if the claim is denied explaining in minute detail the provisions, exclusions, or conditions that justify the denial.
Adjuster Communication with the Policy Holder
The drivers in the accident should be contacted within 48 hours by the insurance company. The first call is preliminary, taking down the details of the accident. An investigation is opened for the adjuster to determine who or if anyone is to blame and to what extent. An adjuster can also send a questionnaire to be completed by the driver and their attorney. It is valuable to stay in contact with the adjuster and assist in providing all of the information possible, but your attorney can do that if you choose.
Is the Insurance Adjuster Responsible for Gathering Information After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, an insurance adjuster is responsible for gathering relevant information to assess the extent of damages and determine the appropriate compensation. The specific information collected may vary depending on the insurance company and the circumstances of the accident.
The adjuster will gather information about the accident’s date, time, and location. They may also inquire about the weather and road conditions during the incident. They will collect information about all parties involved in the accident, including their names, contact details, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. If there were any witnesses to the accident, the adjuster may obtain their contact information and statements regarding what they saw or heard.
They will also request the police report, which may contain diagrams of the accident and the officer’s assessment of fault. Details about the vehicles involved, such as make, model, year, and license plate numbers, will be recorded, and they may request photographs of the damaged cars. If any injuries result from the accident, the adjuster may request medical records and bills to assess the extent of the injuries and medical expenses.
An Attorney Can be Your Best Ally Before Talking With An Adjuster
It is best to contact a seasoned personal injury attorney and allow them to communicate with the insurance adjuster. It would be best if you didn’t give the adjuster any written statements or signed forms that will provide them with access to your medical records without first checking with your attorney. Your attorney can request that the adjuster contact them exclusively if more information is needed.
Wondering about Talking with the Other Insurance Company?
While it’s essential to report a car accident to your insurance company, there are some reasons why experts recommend being cautious when talking to the other party’s insurance company without proper guidance.
First, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, and their goal is to minimize the company’s financial liability. They may use your information to build a case against you or downplay the extent of your injuries or damages. Anything you say could be used against you during the claims process.
Secondly, without legal representation or understanding your rights, you may unintentionally say something that could jeopardize your claim. Insurance companies have experienced adjusters who are well-versed in negotiating settlements, which could put you at a disadvantage when trying to handle the situation on your own.
In some cases, the full extent of injuries sustained in a car accident may not be immediately apparent. By talking to the insurance company before you completely understand your injuries, you may inadvertently downplay or overlook specific symptoms or complications that could arise later. This could affect your ability to receive proper compensation for medical treatment.
Also, insurance companies may contact you early on to offer a settlement. Accepting a settlement with a full understanding of the extent of your damages or consulting with a legal professional may result in accepting an adequate amount to cover your losses.
Insurance companies have a reputation for prolonging the claims process by requesting unnecessary documentation, asking repetitive questions, or making lowball offers. These tactics are designed to frustrate claimants and pressure them into accepting a less favorable settlement.
To protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation, consult a personal injury lawyer with the knowledge and experience to proceed with handling your accident claim before conversing with the other party’s insurance company. An attorney can guide you through the claims process, negotiate on your behalf, and help you understand your rights and options.
What If I Change My Original Version of Events?
Insurance adjusters are investigators. They put together all the evidence to recreate the scene as accurately as possible. If you change your statement based on evidence, they would have probably come to that conclusion anyway. If you recant and there isn’t anything to support your changed statement, it may be harder for you and your attorney to prove it.
Contact a Lawrence NJ Personal Injury Lawyer Before Talking to Insurance Adjusters After a Car Accident in New Jersey
At Cohen and Rielchelson, our personal injury attorneys are passionate about obtaining a fair settlement for our clients in Princeton, Trenton, Lawrenceville, East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Titusville, Pennington, Robbinsville, Mercer County, and across New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We will interview witnesses, doctors, experts, and any others who can build a case for your benefit. Our attorneys know the tactics the insurance companies use to minimize your injuries and damages.
Did you know that most accident victims receive better settlements by having legal representation than they would by negotiating independently with the insurance company? Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that aim to get you to settle for as little as possible.