When you contact your insurance company concerning personal injury, its claims adjuster will be your initial point of contact. This individual has three aims in mind: to investigate all facts surrounding your accident; to determine what he and his company believe to be a fair amount of compensation; and to pressure you into accepting it.
The insurance adjuster will start by speaking with you directly. He wants to get your version of how everything took place, but don’t be surprised if he’s skeptical about the things you tell him. His training and experience predispose him to believe that clients are either lying to him outright or at best merely shading the truth.
He will then decide whether your policy covers the injuries you are claiming. If he feels that it does not, he will bid you an immediate and unemotional farewell.
If you’re still in the running after this, though, the insurance adjuster will proceed with his investigation. In so doing, he will:
- Obtain and evaluate all official documentation in the form of existing police and accident reports.
- Seek out and speak with any witnesses that may have been on the scene at the time of your mishap.
- Review your medical records to understand the true value of your claim.
- Take on-location photos if possible.
After he has exhausted all other possibilities, don’t be surprised if he checks you out on social media as well in an under-the-table effort to dig up some dirt against you.
What the Insurance Adjuster May Expect of You
If you are claiming personal injury, the insurance adjuster will do everything in his power to obtain all bills and medical records connected to your claim in any way. If you or your attorney should be slow in turning over this documentation, many claims adjusters will ask you to sign a medical authorization that gives them permission to get these records on their own. Do not agree to this. You must never sign any medical authorizations without the express permission of a lawyer. If you do sign these forms, the adjuster could use the things he uncovers against you in the end.
The adjuster may also ask you to provide a recorded statement in which you describe the accident in detail. This is something else you should never do without your attorney’s express permission and preferably only in his presence.
The Insurance Adjuster’s Offer
Having accumulated all relevant facts, the insurance adjuster will confer with his higher-ups to decide upon the worth of your claim and try if possible to assign a percentage of liability. He will then make you an offer.
That offer is almost certain to be lower than you feel is warranted or fair, and if that’s the way you see it, you are probably correct. That’s because the insurance adjuster does not work for you. He works for the insurance company, and for that reason, he will not be operating with your best interests at heart. If this should prove to be the case, you might want to consider consulting with a lawyer or hiring a public adjuster on your own.
All Claims Adjusters Are Not Created Equal
After an accident, the insurance adjuster with whom you deal is most likely to be one of two types. He or she will either be a staff adjuster in the direct employ of the insurance company or an independent contractor hired by your insurer on an as-needed basis. Either way, these individuals are going to put the pressure on, doing their level best to push you into settling quickly. It’s part of their job to do this, but that doesn’t mean you must accept what might be a paltry offer.
In fact, you do have options. One of them consists of hiring a public adjuster. This is someone who will be working strictly on your behalf. Since you would be the one who is paying the fee, the law insists that any public adjuster you hire must represent you and you alone.
There is no question that a public adjuster will cost you money. Whether this is feasible for you could depend in large part on the terms of your policy. If it includes loss recovery insurance, that should cover any costs that you might incur in hiring your own public adjuster.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Your other option consists of hiring a personal injury attorney. This is likely to be your most intelligent choice. After all, the insurer is certain to have at least one lawyer of its own on staff, and hiring your own legal representation will put you on a more equal footing. Even more important, however, is the fact that an attorney will know the best and most successful ways to maximize the value of your claim.
The personal injury attorneys at Weiner Law Group have a wide experience in dealing with insurance claims. We are familiar with the strategies insurance companies employ to keep their outlay as low as possible, and we are proud of our ability to earn our clients the greatest possible amount of compensation.
Unless you’re ready to fight your insurance company, you can count on getting less than you the total amount to which your policy entitles you. With Weiner Law Group attorneys at your side, you can be sure of one thing: We won’t give up until we have obtained for you the highest amount of reimbursement possible.