Tricks Adjusters Use With Injury Claims
Written by greg on January 22, 2014
Most insurance adjusters have been trained to do a job for their company and follow procedures designed to protect the insurance company. While most insurance adjusters actually want to fairly settle a claim, the procedures that they must follow are designed to tip the scales in favor of the company acted expense of the victim.
The following are common practices that personal injury victims may not be aware of when dealing directly with an adjuster.
1. Leaving the impression that the adjuster will fairly address your damages. Generally, the innocent victim mistakenly believes that when the insurance adjuster says things like “we accept responsibility”, that that means that the offer for damages will be fair.
Most of the time, the personal injury victim only learns that the insurance company had no intention of being fair, when the insurance company makes an offer for damages. It is then, usually for the first time that the personal injury victim understands they really need an attorney.
2. Suggesting to the victim that they may not need an attorney or that they will not less with an attorney. What most victims don’t understand is that insurance companies handle hundreds of thousands of cases a month and without an attorney, the victim generally doesn’t have any leverage on the insurance company to be fair.
3. Getting a recorded statement – in some instances the insurance adjuster just wants to obtain the facts necessary to properly evaluate the accident. In others, the recorded statement is simply an attempt to obtain unfavorable admissions by an uninformed person prior to being represented by an attorney. Many adjusters have gone to school to learn how to obtain admissions that hurt the claimant’s case. Leading questions and loaded questions are common tactics.
4. Quick settlement offers with estimated future medical. Using this tactic an adjuster will seek to close the file early and estimate medical expenses that may be incurred. Unfortunately, the insurance company also requires a full release of liability and if the damages turn out to be more serious or the medical bills were excessive, the innocent victim is left holding the bag with no real recourse.
5. Seeking to apportion responsibility when the accident was clearly caused by their insured. Using this tactic, many adjusters seek to discount the damages that their insured has caused by claiming that the innocent victim was partly responsible. This is usually done even though the accident report shows the crash was caused by the negligent driver they insured.
6. Discounting medical bills and expenses – adjusters use this tactic to seek to reduce the amount that they need to pay for medical bills and expenses. While Texas law reduces the amount collectible by the victim to amounts that are “paid or incurred”, many adjusters seek to discount the actually paid or incurred bills by citing such things as excessive, unnecessary or disallowed. Occasionally the insurance company will send out the bills for an “audit” where a friendly company that they pay discounts every bill that they sent to them.
These are only a few of the common tricks of the trade used by some insurance adjusters to reduce the value of the claim that they must pay. Unfortunately, personal injury victims are usually at a disadvantage in that they are not used to the claims procedure and processes and don’t understand the adverse positions of the parties.
Personal injury victims are encouraged to seek consultations with an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney before they attempt to deal with an adjuster regarding a personal injury claim.