Generally speaking, most accident victims are not overly familiar with the claim process, and they are often surprised to learn about all the various characters who may have an impact on their claim. Insurance adjusters are perhaps the best example of this, as they will ultimately act as the gatekeeper to your potential settlement.
Insurance adjusters act on the behalf of insurance companies by investigating and reviewing claims in order to decide how much coverage will be extended, if any. For each claim, they will review medical records, inspect property damages, and conduct interviews with claimants and any witnesses. They may go by different titles, such as claims specialists, representatives, analysts, etc., but their task of settling claims for as little as possible is always the same.
Adjusters may not be the most popular people around, but they are definitely good at their jobs. Retaining an experienced injury attorney is the best defense against adjusters and insurers as a whole–let’s take a closer look at how adjusters operate and why you should never take them lightly:
The Duties of An Insurance Adjuster and the Importance of Proper Representation
Insurance companies like to market themselves as being there for you at all times, but unfortunately we’ve dealt with them enough over the last 10 years to know that that is simply not the case. At the end of the day, they are businesses too, and they can’t survive by paying every dollar to every claim. That’s where adjusters come in–their job is to resolve the most claims possible with the lowest payouts possible.
Most adjusters will be employed by the insurers themselves, but they can also be independently contracted. This is often done if the insurer doesn’t have an office near your location. Government agencies typically have their own dedicated adjustment offices because of the large volume of claims.
One of the biggest reasons why it’s important to retain experienced legal counsel for an accident claim is that adjusters have a lot of the same skills that attorneys do—some are even attorneys themselves. Not only that, but a large percentage of insurance executives are attorneys or have legal experience. They are highly skilled negotiators and litigation specialists, and if you don’t have the right help, you could get swept up in the process and walk away with less than what you deserve, or nothing at all. Retaining an attorney is the best way to fight fire with fire.
Adjusters’ Process for Evaluating Claims
As mentioned above, the role of an adjuster is to pay as little as possible as often as they can. In order to do that, they must scrupulously review every detail related to the claim to look for any wiggle room they can find. They will look at your previous medical history, your driving record, and any damaged property to see if there is any way that they can discredit your claim or somehow lower its value.
However, even the best adjusters cannot wriggle out of a solid, air-tight claim. Oftentimes, they will gauge the situation to see what they can or can’t get away with–in other words, if you don’t have an attorney and they sense that you are unfamiliar with the process, they will attack with full force, but if you are calculated and represented, they may try and cut their losses by offering a settlement.
If you stay on top of the claim process by keeping organized records, diligently following treatment and prescription regimens, and communicating with your attorney, you should be in good standing when an adjuster does come around.
Additional Tips for Dealing With Adjusters
As a final note, here are some tips to position yourself for success:
- Discuss potential settlement values and goals with your attorney before filing a claim
- Know that initial offers will be made in attempts to get you to settle for less
- If an offer is unfavorable, ask for written reasons as to why they offered that sum
- Make sure your attorney has noted all applicable forms of damages, including non-economic losses
- Once terms have been agreed upon, always request a written offer
Need Help With a Claim? Contact Van Law Firm Today
If you have more questions about how insurance companies factor into the claim process, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with award-winning car accident attorneys, contact the Van Law Firm office nearest you as soon as possible. We’ve been defending the rights of accident victims for over ten years now, and with $50+ million recovered to date, we’re just getting started. Call now for more information.