During our free consultation I learned that the insurance adjuster had convinced both women to submit to a recorded statement conducted by him as well as sign an unrestricted medical release. When I asked why they had agreed to these requests they both said they thought they were required by law to provide that information to the insurance adjuster. They were both surprised to learn that there is no legal requirement to comply with these kinds of requests. More recently the insurance adjuster has taken a more adversarial tone with them and they decided it was best to consult with an attorney before they move forward.
The above scenario is all too common. It is not unusual for an insurance adjuster for the at fault driver to contact you almost immediately after the accident and engage in a dialogue. Often the adjuster will assume a compassionate tone ingratiating him or herself in an effort to disarm the victim and form a sense of camaraderie. In doing so they will dispel the victim’s need or right to consult with an attorney to explore their rights and benefits. Instead, the adjuster will masquerade as a concerned friend wanting to help you through this difficult time.
It is important to dispel that notion right from the start. The insurance adjuster is NOT your friend, confidant, agent, or fiduciary. Their goal is to limit your claim and pay you as little as possible for your injuries. They want to take your recorded statement immediately after the accident while you are still in shock, confused, disoriented and scared so that you might say something that can later be used against you to challenge your claim. Remember, you are NOT required to provide the insurance adjuster for the at-fault party with any statement, recorded or otherwise.
Also, do not be deceived into believing you must provide a signed release for your medical records. The adjuster will tell you that they must have a release for all your medical records so they can review them before making an offer to settle your claim. It is true that they will require medical records to evaluate your claim before making an offer, but an unrestricted medical release provides them with unfettered access to your entire medical history whether it is related to the accident or not. Do you really believe the adjuster should be entitled to review your obstetrician’s records because you sustained a neck injury in a car accident?
Finally, I do want to clarify one point. The above only applies to what an insurance adjuster for the at-fault party may be entitled to. It does not necessarily apply to an insurance adjuster for your own insurance carrier. To learn more about this please contact our office to schedule a free consultation before making a decision that could adversely impact your case.