There are a quite a few stratagems that insurance claims adjusters like to employ to their benefit and your disadvantage. In this article, an Oakland personal injury attorney examines some of their favorites.
Taking a Statement
While there is nothing immediately questionable about an adjuster’s desire to obtain a statement from you, a skilled Oakland personal injury lawyer will look carefully to be certain that all is as it should be. One of the adjuster’s duties is to gather all of the pertinent information in order to conduct a proper investigation of the claim. Naturally, this involves obtaining statements from everyone who had anything to do with the incident. This data tells the adjuster which of the options available to him he should choose. This might be to work toward an agreement, refuse the claim or pay it. The statement, whether signed or recorded, lies at the very heart of the matter. Failing the statement, an interview with the claimant is the next step.
When an adjuster takes a signed statement, it is in a question-and-answer format. The adjuster records the claimant’s answers as they are spoken with the claimant making corrections or adjustments at the end of the session. There are specific questionnaires used by insurance companies for various types of cases, and each is specific to the kind of incident involved. One blanket form would not do as there is a considerable difference between the circumstances surrounding a slip-and-fall in a supermarket and an automobile collision. Once the statement is taken, the claimant will place his or her initials beside any changes. If both parties are satisfied, the claimant is asked to place his signature on every sheet with a written acknowledgement of the claimant’s having read the total number of pages on the last page followed by final signature signifying agreement with the whole and verifying the truth of the contents.
After the final signature is obtained from the claimant, the adjuster may place his or her own name beneath it or ask another person to sign the document in witness to it. Whether or not the claimant receives a copy depends upon whether or not the claimant makes it clear that a copy is desired. Unless specifically requested, your Oakland personal injury lawyer often finds that no copy is offered and subsequently may not be easy to acquire.
These are taken as the claimant speaks. They may be recorded on tape in a face-to-face meeting by means of a cassette recorder or taken over the telephone. Permission must be given in order to record the statement whether it is a telephone call or not. From the insurer’s perspective, recorded statements are quicker and therefore more efficient. Since they are can be taken through the phone, travel is not an issue, nor is its related expense. This saves not only money but time as well as an adjuster can obtain several recorded statements for each signed statement. Normally, the agent will write a summation of the recorded statement or the tape may be sent for transcription to a stenographer or typist.
The Prevailing Trend
Due to the increased cost-effectiveness of recorded statements, they have tended to replace signed statements over the past few decades. There are some who feel that this has led to a decline in the overall quality of how claims investigations are currently being executed compared with the past.
Seek Qualified Assistance
Be sure you are well and properly represented. Contact the Orr Firm, your Oakland personal injury attorney, by calling 510-985-4600 today.