If you have been hurt in a New York or New Jersey slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may receive a telephone call from the negligent party’s insurance company within a few days of your injury. The insurance adjuster will most likely be pleasant and will seem interested in your accident, your injuries, and your recovery.
But make no mistake: the insurance agent is not on your side, and it is not his job to look out for your best interests. Instead, it is the insurance agent’s job is to investigate your claim for the insurance company and to try to save the company money by denying or reducing your claim when possible.
Why the Insurance Company is Involved
In most cases, the owner of the property on which you fell carries property insurance. For example, if you fell at a friend's home then that friend likely has homeowner's insurance. In many cases, homeowner's insurance is responsible for paying the damages related to your injuries.
While the insurance company may be legally obligated to pay your claim, it is unlikely to do so without a fight. Insurance companies make money by taking in premiums and paying out as little as possible in insurance claims. In other words, every dollar that they don't pay you becomes profit for them.
Here, we discuss guidelines for talking to an insurance adjuster so that you do not hurt your claim for compensation.
How to Handle a Call With the Insurance Company After a Slip and Fall Accident
You need to be very careful of what you say to the insurance adjuster to avoid saying something that you did not mean to say or that could be interpreted in a way to deny or reduce your claim. Some adjusters may even ask questions to try and get you to admit that the accident was at least partly your fault. Follow these guidelines if you must speak to an insurance adjuster:
Remain polite. You want to remain calm, polite, and professional. This will help you think before you speak and present yourself as a credible, responsible person, which will strengthen your claim and leave a good impression with the adjuster.
Obtain contact information. Be certain to obtain the identity, position, and contact information for the person you are speaking to.
Give limited personal information. You should provide your basic contact information, like your name, address, telephone number, and place of employment. However, you do not need to give detailed information regarding your job, income, or family situation.
Do not discuss the accident. You do not want to discuss in detail what happened during the slip and fall accident. It is fine to provide the basics of the date, time, and place of the incident. However, tell the person that you need to speak to your attorney before discussing the details further.
Do not talk about your injuries. You also do not want to give the adjuster detailed information about your injuries. You really do not even know the extent of your injuries or what treatments you could need so soon after the accident. You could leave out important information or later discover that you were injured more than you originally thought if you provide too much information at this early stage of your claim.
Do not agree to a recorded statement. The adjuster may want you to agree to give a recorded statement, which is a tape-recorded question and answer session. You are not required to give one to settle your claim, and what you say could be used against you later when you are negotiating your settlement. Your best strategy is to politely refuse to the adjuster’s request.
Refer the adjuster to your attorney. You really want an experienced slip and fall accident attorney to handle your communications with the insurance adjuster. This way you can avoid making inadvertent mistakes that hurt your case. If the insurance adjuster contacts you, be polite and answer very basic questions, but then tell the person that you will have your attorney contact him to discuss your claim further.
It Seems Like The Insurance Adjuster Is Trying To Blame Me. Why?
In many cases, it does seem like the insurance adjuster is trying to blame you, the victim, for your own injuries. Many adjusters or agents will even ask you questions to try and get you to admit that the accident was at least partly your fault. The reason for these questions is simple. The adjuster's employer (the insurance company) makes money by paying you as little money as possible. If the accident was your fault, then the insurance company may not legally owe you damages for your injuries.
As a New York slip and fall attorney, I advise you to take specific steps in order to prevent the insurance company from playing this game and blaming you for injuries that someone else caused. It is important to be aware of the game that is being played and not to say anything damaging to the insurance agent. In fact, it is better to direct the agent to your New York slip and fall lawyer.
Get Help Fighting The Insurance Company and Contact A Slip and Fall Lawyer
Was a loved one or you injured in a slip and fall accident? Our experienced New York and New Jersey slip and fall accident attorneys are here to look out for your legal rights. Call our office today at 212-465-8840 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve.