You can expect a call from a bodily injury adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company in the week or so following the car accident. The bodily injury adjuster will be assigned to the case after their insured has reported the claim or you have called the at-fault driver’s insurance company to report the claim. The role of a bodily injury adjuster is to determine your injuries and report back to their company about your claim. This process internally is called setting reserves. Reserves are the amount of the money the insurance company earmarks as the potential cost required to resolve your car accident claim. The injury adjuster will attempt to plot your injury claim into a certain category. You can consider the categories to be based on injury severity, be it insignificant, minor, moderate, or severe injuries. The insurance adjuster will also whether or not wage loss is owed.
The bodily injury adjuster will attempt to determine how severe your injuries are based on the damage to the vehicles and statements from you. Each call with the bodily injury adjuster will be documented, be it through an audio recording or notes made on the adjuster’s claim system. During the call with the bodily injury adjuster, expect everything you say to be recorded in some fashion. This is of concern, especially if you report you mistakenly report your injuries as minor or attempt to downplay your injuries because of your optimism. Once hired by an injury victim, We often discovery our client made statements such as: “I’m not doing too bad today,” or, “I’ve had a good week.” These statements are often taken by the insurance company to mean that injuries have resolved or that you’re feeling much better and that further progress is expected.
Of course, having a good day, a good work, or even some improvement in your condition does not mean that the injuries have resolved, or that the injuries were insignificant. Despite this, you can expect the insurance company to take a view to protect its own profits, which means they build the case to pay you less money in the future when attempting to resolve your injury claim.
Think twice before providing a statement to a bodily injury adjuster if you may hire a lawyer to handle your car accident claim. Lawyers become concerned when they discover multiple statements given to a bodily injury adjuster before they were brought on to assist. It’s often the case that the client has provided unhelpful information accidentally, which may make the lawyer’s job harder. If you are considering hiring a lawyer, speak to the lawyer and ask whether a statement will be helpful for your case.
At NOVA Injury Law, we only allow clients to provide statements at the lawyer’s office while the lawyer is present. These are statements that are arranged by the law firm and done in a controlled setting to ensure that our client’s narrative is clear and appropriately reflects their reality of injuries and the aftermath caused by the car accident.
If you are considering pursuing the claim without a lawyer, it is likely inevitable that you’ll have to provide a statement. The insurance company may require it before they consider compensating you for your injury. If you are going to give a statement, you must ensure that your injuries are reported to the insurance company clearly and that they accurately reflect your injuries. If you were working with a lawyer, the lawyer should only arrange for the statement once there is some clarity over your injuries and that your potential damages have been considered and can clearly communicating during the statement taking. You must consider these issues and apply the same rigour as a lawyer would when preparing for and providing your statement. After the statement, a personal injury lawyer should work with the insurance adjuster to ensure that your injuries are appreciated and that the appropriate reserves are set for your claim. If you are self-represented, you can expect to have an ongoing exchange with the injury adjusted after your statement as you move towards negotiating a settlement.
If inappropriate reserving has been set on your file by the injury adjuster, it will become much more challenging to resolve your claim for a fair some. The challenges will remain if you eventually hire a lawyer to handle your injury claim.
Be sure to consider the limitation period applicable to your claim. All claims, no matter where the accident occurred, have a time limit before the claim expires. In Nova Scotia, the standard limitation period for an auto accident is two years. In order to not lose out on your right to make a claim, you must either settle your claim with the insurance company or file a legal claim with the court before the two-year anniversary of the accident.
At NOVA Injury Law we are keen to protect our clients’ interests at every stage of the case. If you are considering retaining a personal injury lawyer, speak to NOVA Injury Law and learn why we are a trusted choice by a car accident and injury victims across the province and beyond. We highly recommend seeking our legal advice before speaking to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
NOVA Injury Law offers free consultations for all motor vehicle cases. We will help you understand your rights and decide whether you need a lawyer for your injury claim. No matter which route you decide, know that you can get honest feedback from us about your case and your rights before you proceed any further.
Need help deciding whether to give a statement?
Jeff Mitchell is an experienced personal injury lawyer dedicated to representing injury victims after an accident. With free consultation and no win, no legal fee agreements, there is no downside to speaking with us about your claim! Call us today: 902.442.8853