Tips On Dealing With A Letter From An Insurance AdjusterLast updated on: September 20, 2022
There are two situations that differ from each other when a letter from a claims adjuster is received. One, is when the insurance company is your own and you have filed a claim on your own policy. The second, is when the insurance company is attempting to settle with you because you were injured by another party.
If you have filed a claim on your own policy and have received a claim adjuster’s letter, it may be for an amount that is lower that you have anticipated. If this is the case, you need to consult with an attorney.
At this point you simply need to speak to an attorney to understand your policy and learn if you are entitled to more compensation. It is common for an insurance company to lowball the settlement offer in an effort to keep the average payouts low.
A second situation that may happen is getting a letter from a claims adjuster on behalf of an insurance company that is paying out a personal injury claim. This could be coming from a business owner whose property you were injured on, or it could be the insurance company of the driver of a car that hit your car. Another common incident is that you were on your bicycle and were struck by a car.
Pedestrians also get hit by cars every day. If you were the injured party and an insurance company contacted you in any way, you need to get an attorney. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a claims adjuster; it could be an attorney from the insurance company that the driver is part of.
If you are absolutely sure that you have not been injured in any way and there was only property damage, it is only a matter of knowing whether the amount offered will cover repairs. The caveat is that unless you are certain you were not hurt, after you receive compensation for your property damage, the case will be closed for further compensation and any related injuries or side-effects of the incident will be voided.
An attorney will know what type of long-term health issues might qualify as requiring compensation. If you were hurt, an attorney will be able to provide accurate arguments based on evidence when negotiating with insurance companies so that you may receive a just settlement.
Contact Zinda Law Group Today to deal with a stubborn insurance adjuster.
Regardless of whether you find yourself in the first or the second situation, there are additional tips you should know when dealing with insurance adjusters. Here are eleven tips for you to keep in mind before you interact with an insurance adjuster:
1. Insurance Adjusters Will Try To Say You Don’t Need An Attorney
Insurance companies know that most people do not have much experience with the law. They know that you are looking for a professional to help you deal with the aftermath of the accident. Sometimes, insurance adjusters paint themselves as the appropriate professionals to help you through your claim and discourage you from hiring an attorney.
Insurance companies also have experience with accident victims who hire attorneys. They know that lawyers fight aggressively for their clients to get them the compensation they deserve.
When insurance companies know that their client is the party at fault, they will probably offer you the smallest amount possible to cover your expenses, excluding many of the damages the victim rightfully deserves.
Experienced attorneys know how to calculate the damages you incurred up until the present moment, and they know how to include your future damages in the compensation you seek. For example, you may have received an injury that requires follow-up surgeries and your future earning capacity might be reduced because of the injury.
Extra surgeries, physical therapy, reduced earning capacity, and other damages often means increased pain and suffering as well. Insurance companies try to downplay your pain and suffering because they want to reduce their amount of non-economic damages they owe you. An attorney advocating for you knows how to express the pain and suffering you experience after an injury.
2. Insurance Adjusters Will Try To Record You
You will have to communicate with insurance companies often in order to be compensated for your injury. Throughout that communication, the insurance company may try to record you. The company does this so that it might latch onto something you say and use it against you later.
Although you should not allow the insurance adjuster to record you, you should take detailed notes throughout all your interactions with the insurance adjuster. Note what the adjuster says about the amount of damage, the cost of repairs, who is conducting the repairs, and any promises or offers the adjuster makes so that you can compare it with the final offer.
3. An Insurance Adjuster Can Use Your Medical Records Against You
Your insurance adjuster will need access to your medical records as proof of the injury you suffered and the medical expenses you accumulated. The type of injury you suffered also gives the insurance adjuster an idea of the appropriate non-economic damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
However, the insurance adjuster’s access to your medical records can work against you if you have not diligently attended to your injury’s recovery. If you delayed visiting the doctor after the accident, the insurance company might try to assert that your injury could not have been as serious as you claim it is. Visit your doctor as quickly as possible after an accident.
4. The Insurance Adjuster Is Not On Your Side
An insurance adjuster might be pleasant towards you to convince you that he or she is working on your behalf. Remember that the adjuster works for an insurance company that tries to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. Any friendliness the insurance adjuster exhibits is likely to deter you from speaking with a lawyer who would fight on your behalf.
5. Insurance Adjusters Can Delay The Payment Of Your Claim
Insurance adjusters may try to delay the payment of your claim to make you accept a low offer out of frustration and impatience. Insurance companies can employ a variety of tactics to accomplish this, such as changing your representative, asking you for documents that it does not need, asking you for small pieces of information at a time, and allowing the adjuster to stall investigations into your claim.
6. An Insurance Adjuster Works For The Insurance Company To Lower Your Settlement
It is part of the insurance adjuster’s job to reduce your compensation amount as much as possible to maximize the amount of money the insurance company makes. You might receive an offer that falls far below the compensation amount you need and deserve. The adjuster and company want you to accept a low offer without bothering to negotiate for a more appropriate amount.
7. Insurance Adjusters Want You To Admit Accident Fault Regardless Of The Truth
Insurance adjusters might pressure you to talk to them without an attorney so that you say something that forces you to accept fault for the accident and pay for it out of pocket. The adjuster in your case might directly ask you to give a statement about the accident or might more subtly have a conversation with you about how the accident happened.
To avoid saying anything against your interests, do not engage in any conversations of that nature. Give only the information that is absolutely necessary, including when and where the accident happened, the type of accident, and the names and contact information of witnesses who saw the accident. If you do give more detailed information about the accident, do so only after speaking with your lawyer.
8. The Insurance Adjuster Will Use Your Words Against You
Try to avoid speaking with the insurance adjuster directly at all, and have your attorney speak with the adjuster instead. Even if you carefully watch what you say to the insurance adjuster, you might accidentally deceive the adjuster by being too careful. This could be disastrous in your negotiation with the insurance company.
9. The Clock Ticks
The insurance adjuster might try to stall to make you agree to a low settlement, but sometimes the reason for stalling is even more nefarious. An insurance adjuster might try to run the clock on the statute of limitations for your claim.
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have after an accident to file your claim. The amount of time can vary by state and type of claim, but it is typically one to six years for personal injury cases.
If you wait to sue until after the statute of limitations has passed, you can be barred from legal compensation altogether. An insurance adjuster who pushes you up against the time limit for the statute of limitations might force you to take a lower settlement than you otherwise would.
10. Handling Negotiations With The Adjuster
Do not accept the first offer the insurance company makes without checking in with a lawyer first. The insurance company expects you to negotiate an amount with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster might surprise you and accept your offer just to close your case quicker.
When you speak with an attorney, you can arrive at a value for your claim based on the attorney’s past experience with comparable cases. The attorney will inform you about whether a settlement offer is appropriate, but the amount for which you will settle is ultimately up to you.
11. An Insurance Adjuster May Avoid Communication To Cause Frustration
An insurance adjuster regularly deals with people who have just experienced unfortunate accidents. You might expect them to be highly sympathetic and helpful. As we mentioned earlier, your insurance adjuster might be especially kind to discourage you from seeking legal counsel.
Other times, insurance adjusters take the opposite approach. You might find that your insurance adjuster has difficulty getting back to you, does not seem to understand your policy, or does not seem to listen to you.
Whether or not this behavior is intentional, it can cause you to get frustrated and take the first settlement simply so you won’t have to deal with the insurance adjuster anymore. Again, an attorney can take over communication with the insurance adjuster on your behalf to try and ensure that you are adequately compensated.
A Note On Car Accident Claims Adjusters
Car accident claims adjusters calculate the value of your vehicle after you are in a car accident. They assign a percentage of damage to the vehicle and can determine that the car is totaled if the repairs cost too much. However, a car is not necessarily considered totaled when its repair costs exceed its value.
Also, an auto insurance company might try to convince you that you must use an approved auto repair shop from its list, but this is not true. Insurance companies often have agreements with auto repair shops so that the repairs are cheaper and save the insurance company money.
If you or a loved one have been contacted by a claims adjuster, speak with an attorney at Zinda Law Group. Call 888-541-6283 for your free case evaluation today.