How to Deal With Insurance Adjusters
Written by greg on October 20, 2013
We get many telephone calls from personal injury victims who get frustrated after dealing with an insurance adjuster from the negligent parties insurance company. The main complaint that we hear is that the adjuster was rude followed by ridiculous lowball offers.
It may help to understand that the typical insurance adjuster on a car accident type of case probably has up to 200 open files at any one time. They have a lot of pressure from their bosses and the guidelines that they are operating under are very strict. In other words they’re under a lot of pressure.
But this does not in any way condone behavior that is taken as rude; it does help to understand the adjuster and where they may be coming from. Additionally, insurance adjusters view the situation as an open file or claim number. To the personal injury victim it is personal- to the adjuster it is strictly business.
Now, understanding that the claim is a business decision for the adjuster and that they are generally limited in the parameters that they operate, personal injury victims can help themselves by following a few short suggestions.
ALWAYS BE NICE
Even when an insurance adjuster is rude or short with you it is never a good idea to respond in kind to them. Two wrongs never make a right and these are the same people that you are asking to write you a check.
Threatening an insurance adjuster is something that almost everyone would be tempted to do but it is also very counterproductive. They’ve heard it before and they don’t care. I will file suit – okay! Going to get a lawyer – okay! Threats to adjusters are counter productive.
Asking questions of the insurance adjuster will help clarify their position and also give you some insight on what you may need to do to move your case forward. Often if you follow the advice above, an insurance adjuster may actually give you helpful advice. We have had many personal injury clients over the years that were told by an insurance adjuster that they should probably hire a lawyer.
REALIZE YOU MAY NOT KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE
In a big city like Houston the odds of a person being in more than one accident over a ten-year period are pretty good. If you’ve been through a personal injury claim before you may have an idea of what is needed, but if you haven’t, you probably don’t. Consider taking advantage of a free consultation with the personal injury law firm early on after the accident.
TRY TO LOOK AT IT FROM A THIRD PARTY PERSPECTIVE
Looking at the cause of the accident and the injury claims from a third-party perspective can be very beneficial to a personal injury victim. Injuries by their very nature are personal and the victims tend to view it from their own perspective. If the case cannot be settled and you end up hiring a personal injury lawyer who files a lawsuit, is likely that 12 strangers may decide the value of the case. Looking at your situation as though you were stranger can help you better understand the reality of the claim.
Probably the biggest single factor that can impact the case is for someone to delay either taking action on the case or getting medical treatment that they need. In some cases, it is important to preserve evidence and actions are often necessary to accomplish that. Also, long gaps in treatment or even delays for initial treatment can have a negative impact on the case. From the third-party perspective discussed above, a juror may ask if the injury was so severe or problematic, why did the victim wait so long for treatment?
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE CONSULTATIONS
Some of the best Houston personal injury attorneys offer free consultations for accident victims. Obtaining advice on what to do and why soon after an accident can at least set you on the proper path toward resolution.
Texas has had fairly significant tort reform, which has negatively impacted the value of almost every personal injury case. In some instances, the negligent party actually gets the benefit of a personal injury being personally responsible and carrying health insurance. This can be a topic to cover with a free consultation from a leading personal injury law firm. If someone is telling you what a case is worth, and their case was not recent, those days are long gone.
A SETTLEMENT IS FOREVER
Often, people end up settling a case and then inquiring later on whether there’s anything more they can do to get more money from the case. This can be particularly dangerous when involving serious injuries and a quick settlement. The greater the exposure for the insurance company the more likely that they will try to limit that exposure by dangling a carrot in front of you as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, insurance carriers are in the business of profit making and not in the business of being fair to the injury victim. If an insurance company can pay $.10 on the dollar for a claim they will do so. Avoid quick settlements -if you have any questions regarding the extent of your injuries. The more serious your injury the more likely you will need help.
ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY DOES NOT MEAN PAYING FAIR VALUE
Personal injury victims routinely are told after a clear liability accident that the insurance company will “accept responsibility” or words to that effect. The accident victim takes that to mean that they can then expect a fair settlement offer. That is a big mistake. Accepting responsibility usually only means they will offer something- often less than the medical bills.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO HIRE A LAWYER- DO SO EARLY
If you’re going to hire a personal injury attorney to help you with your accident case, you’re better off hiring one early in the process then you are after having tried to handle it on her own for a while. Then only will you get advice that you need up front but you can stop worrying about the case and let the attorney handle it. And most importantly you did not damage the claim by doing something you should not have done.