DO’S & DONT’S: When Talking With an Insurance Adjustor
If you’ve been involved in a car or motor vehicle accident, you likely you will be contacted by both an adjustor from your insurance company as well as an adjustor from the other party’s insurance company. What is not commonly known is that both adjustors are trying to minimize the amount of money their company will have to pay you either now or in the future.
Be aware that in Ontario, no matter what any insurance company representative tells you, there is no requirement to speak to an insurance adjustor who represents the at fault party who caused the accident and your injuries.
However, you may be required to speak to a representative of your own insurance company when making a claim for No Fault Accident Benefits. No Fault Accident Benefits are provided under your own automobile insurance policy, and your own insurer is entitled to certain information. Keep in mind that an adjustor might ask for more information than you are required to provide.
The Application for Accident Benefits (OCF-1 Form) is a standard form application which requests information in order to determine your entitlements. It is very important to complete this form correctly and comprehensively in order to receive your benefits in a timely manner and not compromise your Accident Benefits Claim, and eventually your tort claim.
It is not recommended that you meet with an insurance adjustor directly without a lawyer present.
However, if you choose to meet with an adjustor, consider you actions carefully as the statements you make may jeopardize or compromise your personal injury claim moving forward. Any statement you provide may be used against you in a lawsuit.
Adjustors typically lead you through a series of questions, write down what you say, have you read it over and then ask you to sign the statement. The adjustors may not ask you questions that would help your case, and then argue at Trial that you never mentioned particular details when you gave a statement. The suggestion put to a Jury is that you are now “remembering” convenient facts to help you get more compensation.
The Preszler Law Firm has created this tip sheet in order to assist you on what you should do and what shouldn’t do when speaking to adjustors.
1. Write down the name, address and telephone number of the insurance adjustor and the insurance company along with the claim and policy number.
2. Provide your full name, address and telephone number.
3. Take notes of the conversation.
4. Ask the adjustor if they are aware of any witnesses, and copies of any other statements they have obtained.
5. Be very general when you describe your injuries. Tell the adjustor you will provide a complete, detailed list of injuries after your doctors have done a full assessment. Often medical injuries do not manifest themselves for days or even weeks after the accident. Be aware that by not providing a complete list of injuries, the insurance company will use this omission against you in the future.
1. Do not agree to an audio tape recording of the conversation.
2. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar — Insurance adjustors will engage you in an informal conversation in an effort to get you to relax so that you will provide as many details about the accident as possible.
3. Do not discuss anything but the basic facts of the accident namely, where the accident occurred; the date and time of the accident; the type of accident; i.e., motorcycle, motor vehicle etc.
4. Do not provide estimates about distances, car speeds, or time when describing the accident.
5. Do not agree to anything.
6. Do not sign anything.
7. Don’t answer family questions. You are under no obligation to give information about your family.
8. You are not obligated at this point to identify witnesses.
9. You are not obligated to discuss your pre-accident medical history.
10. You are not obligated to advise the insurance company whether you have had previous accidents.
11. You are not required to discuss whether you have a criminal record.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Preszler Law Firm for a free consultation at 1-800-JUSTICE® and remember, there is never a fee unless we recover money for you.