After being injured in an auto accident, the thought of negotiating with an auto insurance claims adjuster can be stressful. Here, experienced attorney, Douglas Lauenstein relieves some of that stress by detailing best practices for handling discussions with auto insurance adjusters.
The Role of an Auto Insurance Adjuster
An insurance adjuster researches the accident, interprets the insurance policy under which a claim is being filed, decides liability and calculates the value of the claim. The adjuster works for the insurance company who may be liable for the claim and they are essentially justifying the settlement to the insurance company.
Be Respectful, But Cautious
Because the insurance adjuster works for the company paying the settlement, many assume that they will treat you unkindly or unfairly. As to being treated unkindly, if you are polite and respectful when interacting with your claim adjuster most will treat you with respect in turn. A claims adjuster’s job is either to deny liability or settle the case for as little value as possible. Their job is not to treat you fairly.
Know the Value of Your Claim
The value of your claim will be based on your physical injuries, past and future medical bills, the extent of your pain and suffering and other factors like lost wages. It is critical that you carefully keep any bills related to the accident, as well as record wages lost and pain and suffering sustained. Taking photographs, video, or maintaining a written record of your accident is a great way to help validate your claim.
Have the Adjuster Justify a Low Offer
Never assume that the first offer an adjuster makes is their last: settlements are usually not agreed upon until several offers and counter-offers have been made. If an offer seems unreasonably low, ask the adjuster to justify their settlement value. This can provide key insight into the adjuster’s thinking, and help you decide whether to hold firm or lower your valuation.
Never give a recorded statement to a liability insurance adjuster without first consulting with an experienced attorney. The adjuster may lead you into saying something that isn’t 100% accurate and this statement may seriously compromise your claim. Sometimes the negotiation will come to an impasse, or the adjuster will act particularly difficult. Do not engage with an aggressive or otherwise unreasonable adjuster. If you’ve tried to handle your claim by yourself up until this point, it may be time to hire an experienced attorney.
Hire an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney from the Beginning
Consider hiring an experienced auto accident attorney from the beginning of any claim in which you suffered bodily injury as a result of the accident. Dealing with insurance companies can take weeks, months or even years in serious claims cases. The insurance company is well-equipped to ensure they give you the smallest settlement possible. They take little consideration of the pain and suffering you’ve sustained. Acquiring the help of a skilled attorney well-versed in auto accident insurance claims procedure is your best defense, which will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. For more information, we urge you to contact us today!