If you understand insurance adjusters and their roles, you will have a significant advantage when negotiating your claim. Insurance claim adjusters go by many names, including claims representative, claims specialist, or independent claims analyst. However, all these titles refer to the same position with the same roles. Insurance adjusters aim to handle and resolve an injury or accident-related insurance claims. The adjusters should not intimidate you because, in the real sense, they do not have an advantage over you in the negotiation process. If you understand the facts of your claim, you may have power over the adjusters. Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can help you know how to deal with insurance adjusters.
Roles and Responsibilities of an Insurance Adjuster
If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you should file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the accident to help you get compensation. Upon filing a claim against the responsible party, you will negotiate with the liable party's claims adjuster from his or her liability insurance company. At times, you may not deal with an insurance adjuster from the liable party's insurance company. Instead, you may have to deal with a firm comprising of independent insurance adjusters. If the defendant's insurance company does not have local offices in a particular place, independent insurance adjusters may handle your case.
The independent insurance adjusters act in the same manner as an in-house insurance claim adjusters. However, independent adjusters often have limited authority to settle a case. Therefore, a claims supervisor at the insurance company's office will have to approve the settlement amount. However, the process of negotiating with an in-house insurance adjuster is the same as the process of negotiating with an independent adjuster.
Some entities, like state governments and large cities, usually receive many claims. These entities have their own claims adjustment offices. However, the process of negotiating with the government claims adjusters is similar to negotiating with private insurance adjusters. However, if you are negotiating with a government adjuster and your claim goes to court, the court may be hesitant to give you a generous compensation from public money. Therefore, you are likely to get a lower settlement if you are dealing with government entity adjusters. You are more likely to get better compensation when dealing with private insurance adjusters.
An insurance adjuster seeks to investigate your case, determine what happened, and determine the worth of your insurance claim. It is important to remember that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. Therefore, the adjuster is not on your side but the side of the insurance company. An insurance company aims to reduce your compensation and save the insurance company some costs.
Even though an insurance adjuster seeks to reduce your compensation, the adjuster also aims at ensuring that you do not file a personal injury lawsuit. Adjusters aim at settling insurance claims out of court. If a personal injury case proceeds to court, the jury will have to determine the party at fault. This may be risky for the insurance company because the court may award the plaintiff very high compensation. The insurance company is also likely to incur costs associated with a trial, including legal fees.
At times, you may not have to negotiate with the insurance adjuster in person. The adjuster has the authority to agree with you over the phone on the insurance claim settlement amount. If you agree on a settlement with the adjuster, the adjuster sends some paperwork to you to help finalize the settlement process. You should be aware that adjusters have some limits on the dollar amounts of the settlements they can handle. The restrictions mainly depend on the adjuster's experience based on the number of cases the adjuster has handled before. Insurance adjusters without ample experience may handle claim settlements ranging between $ 5,000 and $10,000. On the other hand, insurance adjusters with vast experience may handle insurance claim settlements ranging from $10,000 to $ 20,000.
An insurance adjuster is not likely to inform you about his/her authority in settling insurance claims. He/she can only volunteer the information only if you agree on a settlement higher than the adjuster's approval limit. In such instances, an adjuster will have to seek approval from a senior person, usually an insurance claims manager or an insurance claims supervisor.
An Attorney as a Claims Adjuster
After a car accident, you may decide not to file a lawsuit. However, even without filing a lawsuit, you may encounter an attorney instead of an insurance adjuster negotiating on behalf of the defendant. Insurance companies without local officers regularly use local attorneys or their staff attorneys as their insurance adjusters. Do not panic if you encounter an attorney instead of an insurance adjuster. Public entities may have their attorneys at city, county, or state level dealing directly with accident claims before a claim gets to court.
It is advisable to have a personal injury attorney by your side. This way, you will not feel intimidated if you encounter an attorney instead of an insurance adjuster during the negotiation process. It is crucial to note that an attorney adjuster will not carry out things differently from a non-attorney claims adjuster. An attorney is likely to be more aggressive than insurance claims' adjusters. However, your attorney can withstand the pressure.
What happens when you are filing a claim under your own automobile uninsured, underinsured, or automobile collision coverage?
If you file a claim under your coverage, your insurance agent will avoid dealing with you directly. Instead, the agent will hand over your insurance claim to the claims department. The request will be totally out of the hands of your agent. You will have to negotiate for a settlement or compensation with a claims adjuster and not your agent. It is important to note that the adjuster will not be on your side but will be acting as a representative of the insurance company.
Deciding on a Settlement
Before an insurance adjuster decides on a settlement, he/she considers the same facts that judges typically consider when handling personal injury cases. For instance, the adjuster will take into account your medical expenses. In considering your medical expenses, the adjuster considers the past costs incurred due to the injuries suffered in the car accident. If you are still undergoing treatment, the adjuster takes into account the current medical expenses and the future medical expenses you are likely to incur.
The adjuster will also consider lost wages and loss of earning capacity. This is the money lost due to the inability to participate in money-making activities due to injuries suffered during the vehicle accident. The insurance adjuster will also consider your pain and suffering while deciding on an insurance settlement. The insurance adjuster will also consider other adverse effects of your injuries.
It is easy for the adjuster to decide on some damages like medical expenses and lost income because they have a monetary value. On the other hand, damages like pain and suffering a subjective and may not be easy for the adjuster to decide.
How to Handle an Adjuster
It is crucial to understand how insurance adjusters settle claims because this will help you know how to deal with them. Usually, insurance adjusters have two aims. The first aim is to reduce the money spent by the insurance company in settling claims. The second aim is to spend little time in settling claims. Various tips for dealing with adjusters include:
Understand the Facts of Your Case
Many insurance adjusters handle countless claims every month. An insurance adjuster may handle between 50 and 100 claims every month. An adjuster seeks to clear and close a claim file as soon as he/she can. The rating of the adjuster also depends on the number of cases an adjuster can handle without involving the insurance company lawyers or supervisors. If an insurance adjuster is aware that you understand your insurance claim and you know the worth of your crime, he/she is not likely to stall your compensation.
You will be surprised at the negotiation stage to learn that you know more about your case compared to the insurance adjuster. Most insurance adjusters, especially the ones who handle small cases, do not have specialized medical and legal training. Some adjusters may not even have enough time to study and understand your insurance claim. Therefore, you take time to understand your insurance claim, and you will have the upper hand over the insurance adjuster.
An insurance adjuster may understand the insurance claims business more than you do. However, the adjuster may not understand the facts of your car accident case better than you. This is because you were present at the time of the car accident, and the adjuster was not. You fully understand the injuries you suffered at the time of the crash, including the seriousness of the injuries and the pain you suffered.
It will be easy to negotiate with the insurance adjuster if you have enough evidence to support your claim. For instance, ensure that you have medical reports and photographs to help outline the damages you suffered. The insurance adjuster has many claims to deal with and may only take a few minutes every week to deal with your case. Therefore, if you take ample time to understand the process and you ensure that you stay focused, you will have a negotiating advantage over the adjuster.
Build a Strong Case
When coming up with an insurance settlement, insurance adjusters often focus on the insurance limits and the strength of your case. The insurance company cannot give you the compensation that exceeds the limits of the coverage/ policy. For instance, if the liability insurance of the liable driver is $60,000, the maximum amount the insurance company can pay you as compensation will not exceed $60,000. If your injuries and damages exceed the at-fault driver's insurance drivers, you will have to claim the deficit directly from the driver.
If you have a strong case to prove that you suffered injuries in a car accident, the insurance adjuster is likely to give you a higher compensation. It is, therefore, crucial to seek the help and counsel of a personal injury attorney to help you build a strong case. Your focus should be on building a strong case. If you have a weak case, the adjuster will be confident that even if your case proceeds to trial, you are not likely to get much. The adjuster is, therefore, likely to offer you low compensation for your damages.
Do Not Disclose Your Lowest Acceptable Figure
An insurance adjuster speaks and negotiates on behalf of the insurance company. It does not matter whether you are dealing with your own insurance company or making a third-party claim. You should know that the adjuster will put the interests of the insurance company first. The adjuster will investigate the car accident, assess your car insurance coverage, and make you a settlement offer. Before you contact the insurance company to file your claim, it is critical to determine the worth of your claim. You also need to have in mind the lowest compensation you can reasonably accept. However, never reveal the lowest compensation you are willing to accept to the adjuster. Instead, emphasize the strong points of your claim when you first speak with the claims adjuster. It is essential to have your attorney assist you because the adjuster may indicate factors or items in your claim, which are difficult to support and prove. At times, you may have to reconsider your claim, especially if you notice that the adjuster has some candid facts.
When dealing with an insurance adjuster, you are likely to engage in some back and forth with the claims adjuster as you negotiate on compensation. No matter how long it takes and how persistent the adjuster is, ensure that you do not go below the compensation you are willing to accept. You may have to hold several telephone conversations with the insurance adjuster. You may also have at least one face-to-face meeting with the insurance adjuster. The typical negotiation for car accident claims involves three or four telephone conversations with the insurance adjuster and at least one face-to-face meeting. No matter how long the negotiations take, do not feel hurried, stressed, or intimidated by the insurance adjuster. You should be patient to the end and remember that you have a right to access compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident.
When dealing with an insurance adjuster, you may feel agitated, especially if the adjuster rejects your claim at first. However, for a successful outcome, it is advisable to be fair and respectful to the insurance adjuster. You should remember that the insurance adjuster is not being personal with you but acting on behalf of the insurance company. If you want the insurance adjuster to treat you reasonably, you, too, have to reciprocate the fairness. While some insurance companies may avoid paying what your claim is worth, the majority of claims adjusters in California are honest and respectable insurance experts. Most car insurance companies in California settle claims quickly and fully. After all, the insurance adjuster is likely to have many claims lined up, and he/she has to attend to them all.
You should understand that insurance claims adjusters often have limited authority to handle claims settlements. The adjusters may have to seek counsel from the senior claim managers. The insurance adjuster also has to gather facts from the policyholder as well. Therefore, the work of an insurance adjuster is stressful as well. Be respectful and fair when dealing with the adjuster. However, if you feel that the amount offered by the adjuster is not sufficient, do not fail to point out this fact.
Do Not Sign Any Papers or Documents After the Injury
After sustaining injuries in a car accident, you should contact your personal injury attorney immediately. However, if you need to seek medical attention, you can do so before contacting your attorney. You may notify the relevant insurance company about your involvement in an accident. However, a notification is all that you should offer. If you have suffered injuries, avoid signing any documents or papers that the insurance company offers you. Avoid making any written or recorded statements. If the defendant's insurance company contacts you, inform them in a polite manner that you have to consult with your attorney first. By doing this, you will avoid giving out information that the claims adjuster may later use to reduce your claim settlement amount.
After your involvement in a car accident, you may have some questions and some concerns about the accident. Ensure that you pose these questions to your personal injury attorney and not the insurance company personnel. Do not surrender or cave into the intimidation of the defendant's insurance company when negotiating your claim.
If you feel that the insurance company is acting in bad faith, you may sue them to help access compensation. For instance, you may feel that the insurance company is avoiding its duty to policyholders and other claimants. You have a right to bring legal action against the insurance company based on insurance bad faith.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
If you need assistance in dealing with insurance adjusters, Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can assist you. Our attorneys will do their best to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 424-231-2013 and speak to one of our attorneys.