The number of telephone calls we get with the same complaint is unbelievable. The “adjuster will not return our phone calls.” Many people do not want to hassle with the insurance claim and want some recognition that their claim will be paid and some semblance of fairness.
Unfortunately, insurance companies for the adverse driver rarely operate on that basis. It is important to understand that this is probably not personal on the adjuster’s part. Still, they are overloaded with cases and saddled with a system designed to slow down injury claims and reduce the number of claims. The insurance company may not matter whether State Farm, Geico, or another auto insurance provider.
Here are a few tips for dealing with an adjuster on a car accident claim.
Accidents Raise Many Questions and Concerns
If you have been in a car wreck that was not your fault, you probably have many pressing needs. For example, the repair or replacement of your vehicle, alternative transportation, and help with your medical bills and lost wages if you have been injured. Adjusters will not pay most claims or take action until they have spoken with the insured. This requirement usually delays the claims process and leads to hard feelings by the victim.
Often the adverse adjuster wants a statement from you first.
If the adjuster has not gotten their own insured’s side of the story, the case can be stalled in most cases, or you may get a lowball offer. Exceptions would be if the insured is in jail and arrested for drunk driving, the adjuster may proceed with the case. Getting a drunk driving accident lawyer is recommended, though.
Look to Your Auto Policy For Benefits
Hopefully, you will have “full coverage” on your auto policy, and a review of your policy to determine your coverage should be a step you would consider when the adjuster will not return your telephone calls.
If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) under your own automobile insurance policy, that will help you with medical bills and lost wages up to the amount of the policy limit. That protection should cover not only yourself but your passengers as well.
Look to see what coverages you have related to “Collision,” such as rental car reimbursement, and what your deductible is for your own property damage. If the adjuster for the negligent driver will not return your call, there are two main strategies.
First Try the Squeaky Wheel Strategy
The first is the squeaky wheel strategy which dictates that you frequently call to put your name at the head of the list for the adjuster to return your call. Many insurance adjusters have more cases than they can handle, and the squeaky wheel approach is usually effective.
Always be nice to the adjuster. Even when aggravated by inactivity, the old saying “you catch more flies with honey” applies in this situation. It costs nothing to be nice, which may help your claim get addressed quicker.
Consider a Claim With Your Insurer for Car Repairs
Another approach is to deal with your insurance company for property damage and personal injury protection claims. Because it’s your own insurance company, you will generally receive much better treatment. Many insurance companies like State Farm deal with their own insured in a more friendly way than they would otherwise.
If you are out of your own deductible, make sure you ask your insurance company in writing to “sue for or otherwise collect” your deductible from the driver that caused the accident. Your insurance company is used to handling insurance claims. It is often better to let them deal with the adverse insurance company on your property damage. You should receive a check from your insurance company for reimbursement if they collect your deductible.
Ask to Speak With a Manager
If all else fails, ask to speak with a manager. Be wary of looking too negative, and explain your need for a response from the company. Please know that the adjuster will not pay a claim until they have satisfied themselves as to liability on their insured.
Dealing with an adjuster requires patience and preparation.
If the Insurance Company is Yours, Consider Contacting the Texas Department of Insurance.
Filing a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance should be a last resort and only if the adjuster who will not respond to a claim is from your insurance policy. The other guy’s insurance company, generally, has no duties to respond to you, and filing a complaint against the other guy’s carrier will not bear fruit with TDI.
With Severe Injury, Call an Attorney
If you have been seriously injured, you should consider talking to a personal injury attorney early in the claims handling process, certainly before giving any documents or statements to the adverse insurance company. Most law firms handling accident cases offer free consultations, and it is a good idea to call one and take advantage of that offer.
Frequently, the first time a car accident victim realizes that they probably need a lawyer, the damage has already been done to their claim. The longer you go in the claims handling process without representation, the harder it will be to retain a top personal injury attorney in Houston.
This is a situation in which what you don’t know can hurt you.
Call Baumgartner Law Firm for a Consultation if You Have Questions About an Injury Auto Accident.
If you were hurt in a crash in Houston. For a no-obligation consultation, call the auto injury lawyers in Houston at Baumgartner Law Firm at (281) 587-1111.