David M. Sargent
Should I Be Working with the Insurance Company Directly?
Recorded Statements - Non-Negligence and Comparative Negligence – Colorado
If it is your insurance company, you might decide to work directly with the assigned adjuster. You should cooperate with your insurance, but be cautious. A claim against your insurance could make the adjuster your unofficial barrier to recouping losses. They make money by minimizing pay-outs while collecting your premiums.
If it is with the at-fault insurance carrier, then you should be extra-cautious. These insurance adjusters have no motive other than to minimize payouts to claimants. And there is no contractual duty to work with you in good faith. Paying the least to you is their job.
This is why cases go to court. Let the juries decide. Of course, insurance companies know that they can weed out the majority of people who either (a) don’t want to litigate for a number of valid, innocent reasons, or (b) know that it is cost ineffective for a plaintiff to litigate in relation to the injuries. For that reason, you may be better off not work directly insurance company unless you know what you are doing. It is easier to have someone who knows the process and language do it.
For example, the insurance company will want to speak with you as soon as possible to get a recorded statement. Why? To verify your position on what happened, in order to then use this information against you. You could consider this discussion somewhat like a police interrogation…except they are a private company looking to avoid payment.
What questions will the adjuster ask? The adjuster will always ask questions in a motor vehicle accident like:
- “What was the weather like?”
- “Where were you coming from?”
- “Did you have your seatbelt on?”
- “Did you see the vehicle before contact?”
- “When did you see the other driver?”
- “How many impacts were there?”
- “Did you take your foot off the gas before the collision?”
- “Where were you looking at the time of the impact?”
- “Where were your hands located at the time of the impact?"
Now, these questions might seem harmless. But, they are used to reduce or deny your claim. The adjuster is looking to establish a basis for a non-negligence of its insured or to establish “comparative negligence.” That is, the adjuster wants to show that you were partly or more than 50% at fault.
Why 50%? Because, if you were 50% or more at fault, the defendant is off the hook. Would it surprise you that adjusters commonly restate the slightest comparative negligence as the claimant being “over 50% at-fault”? These cases have to be litigated.
So, if you are considering whether you should work directly with the insurance company consider working with a personal injury attorney to understand the risk. Protect your case. Call an attorney at (303) 359-1869.