What is an Insurance Adjuster?
An insurance adjuster is an employee of an insurance company whose job is to review the details of the car accident and determine the insurance company’s liability. In order to do this the adjustor will review the insurance claim by conducting interviews with the claimant and any possible witness to the accident. The adjustor will also review the claimant’s medical records, and consult with the police report.
Are Insurance Adjusters Trustworthy?
The general answer to this question is: NO. This is not to accuse all insurance adjusters of being dishonest people. However, it is important to remember that all insurance adjustors have some sort of loyalty to their employer. This loyalty brings with it the possibility that the adjustor will try to offer you the lowest possible settlement so that the company will not suffer a loss on your claim.
Many people are unfamiliar with insurance adjusters. If you make the mistake and believe that an insurance company has your best interest in mind you will most likely find yourself with a lower settlement than you deserve.
Should I tell the Adjuster about my Current Physical Condition when they Ask?
This is a personal decision. Just know that if you chose to disclose your physical condition to the insurance adjustor this information can be used against you in the event that you need to bring a suit against the insurance company to receive compensation.
The best route you can take is to discuss your situation with an attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you determine how you should discuss your physical condition with the insurance adjustor.
Should I sign insurance papers or give statements before my settlement is over? See the insurance doctor?
Again, remember that what you say to the insurance company WILL be used against you in court. The best thing to do is to refer the insurance adjustor to your attorney. This will prevent the insurance company from using any information that you give them against you.
Do not sign any papers until your settlement is finalized. This is the best practice because insurance companies could attempt to place language in these documents that are not favorable to you.
In fact, insurance companies often try to get claimants to sign releases before their claim is settled. If you sign the release, you will most likely not receive proper compensation from the insurance company. If you do chose to sign a document, make sure that you review the document or ask an attorney about the document before you make the decision to sign it.
Before you make the decision to visit the insurance doctor, know that the information that the doctor obtained may be used by the insurance company. Also, know that the insurance doctor has a loyalty to the insurer. They will often downplay your injuries. Discuss this situation with an attorney before you make the decision.
How Should I Determine the Amount of Money I Should Ask for from the Insurance Adjuster?
Consider a number of different factors when you decide what you want to ask for from the insurance company. First, consider the extent of your injuries. If your injuries have left you with severe injuries you should obviously ask for more compensation.
Next, consider whether you will have to miss any work as a result of your injury. People depend on their jobs in order to pay bills. If you cannot work after your accident ask for a high settlement. Also, consider whether you suffered property damage. If the accident destroyed the vehicle you were driving, you should ask for more compensation.
Consider that the insurance company will likely reject your first offer, so sometimes it is better to ask for more money than you really hope to receive. This will allow you to meet in the middle in the event that the insurance company does not accept your offer.
For more information on this, read our blog about “What is My Car Wreck Case Worth.”
What are some Tactics Insurance Adjusters Use to deny or Reduce the Claim Amount?
Taking Advantage of the Claimant
Adjuster will act as though they are on your side in an attempt to get you to make a statement that is against your interests. They will also try to catch claimants off guard. The adjustor will attempt to get in contact with the claimant before the claimant has a chance to determine how severe their injuries are. The adjustor will also likely try to contact the claimant before the claimant has a chance to retain an attorney.
Suggesting that the Claimant will be Better off if they Do not Retain an Attorney
Insurance companies like dealing with claimants that do not have legal representatives. If you have an attorney on your side it levels the playing field and you are more likely to get a fair settlement. Adjuster often tell you that you will receive less money if you hire an attorney.
Asking for a Written or Statement
Often, adjustors ask for written or recorded statements very early on in the claim process. This is because the adjustor wants to get the claimant on record stating that they do not have a severe injury. The adjuster could also be trying to trick you on how the accident happened. Always be aware that the adjustor is not your friend and think twice before you decide to make a written or recorded statement.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
If you have been injured in a car accident you may benefit from retaining an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney has the ability to assist you through the claim process. If you retain an attorney, an insurance company is likely to take you more seriously than they would if you were not represented.
Your attorney will also have expert negotiation skills. These skills will be used to your benefit when your attorney deals with the insurance company.
The lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy fight for their clients to receive adequate compensation for their injuries. If an insurance company is offering you a settlement that is not fair we will be up front with you. However, if we believe that an insurance company is offering you a fair settlement then we will also be honest about this assessment with you.
If you have any questions about the contents of this article we offer free case consultations to individuals who are attempting to determine what their legal rights are. Contact us today if you want assistance with your personal injury case.