An insurance adjuster is an agent for the insurance company investigating your personal injury claim. Insurance claims adjusters may be employed by the insurance company, or they may work for independent adjusting firms hired by the insurance company. Their job is to limit the insurance company’s liability for claims.
Regardless of whether you deal with independent insurance adjusters or claims adjusters employed by the insurance company, there are several things you should know about insurance adjusters. This information could prevent the insurance company from minimizing the money you deserve for a personal injury or accident claim.
The Insurance Adjuster Does Not Work For You
An insurance adjuster is not your friend. Claims adjusters work for the insurance company, even if the person is an independent adjuster. Therefore, they protect the insurance company’s best interests, even if that means working against what is in your best interest.
Claims adjusters may handle all types of insurance claims.
They handle claims for:
- Property damage
- Car accidents
- Defective product injuries
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice claims
Almost any type of claim filed with an insurance company is assigned to a claims adjuster to investigate.
The adjuster investigates the claims to:
- Decide if the insurance company should pay the claim because its insured is at fault for causing an injury or damage; and
- Determine the amount the insurance company should pay to settle the claim.
Claims adjusters typically have the authority to settle a claim within a certain range. If the adjuster cannot deny a claim, they settle it for the lowest amount they can convince the injured party to accept.
Claims Adjusters Are Trained Professionals
An insurance adjuster may act like your next-door neighbor. They may wear casual clothes and engage you in idle conversation.
Do not be fooled. You are dealing with an experienced, highly trained insurance professional. The adjuster knows insurance laws and how to use those laws to protect the insurance company.
Claims adjusters want you to believe they are on your side. They want you to trust them. If so, they can convince you to accept a lower amount for your claim or obtain evidence the company can use to deny your insurance claim.
Claims Adjusters Work to Decrease Your Claim Amount
Insurance companies train their claims adjusters to use a variety of tactics to convince you to settle your claim. For example, the adjuster may ask you to make a recorded or written statement. They may go as far as claiming that they must have a statement to open a claim.
The purpose of these statements is to trick you into saying something the company can use to fight your injury claim. For example, if you casually mention that you overslept the day of the car accident, the company may claim you were speeding or distracted because you were running late for work.
If you speak to an insurance adjuster before consulting with a personal injury lawyer, be honest and specific with your responses. However, do not offer any information, including information not directly related to the insurance claim.
The adjuster’s goal is to shift the blame for the cause of the accident or injury to you. Under Florida’s modified comparative fault laws, your compensation could be reduced (or even eliminated) if you are partially to blame for the cause of the accident. If the insurance company can shift some of the blame to you, it does not have to pay as much money for your claim. If it can shift most of the blame to you, it won’t have to pay you damages at all under the state’s 51% bar to recovery rule.
You Are Not Required to Accept a Settlement Offer From a Claims Adjuster
Making a quick settlement offer is another common tactic insurance claims adjusters use. The adjuster offers a low amount to settle your claim before you understand the value of your damages.
For example, the adjuster knows you have been out of work due to the accident. They offer you a quick settlement because they know you need the money. However, you have not completed medical treatment.
If you accept the settlement offer, you cannot file a lawsuit or demand more money for your claim. So even if your doctor tells you that you need surgery or you have a permanent impairment, you released all rights to file a claim when you signed the settlement agreement to get the insurance check.
You have the right to negotiate a settlement and consult with a personal injury attorney in Gainesville, FL. Do not let an insurance claims adjuster pressure you into accepting a settlement before your doctor releases you or you seek legal counsel.
Contact a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
You do not have to deal with the insurance company alone. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows these insurance tactics well and will fight to maximize your compensation. Contact a law office today to schedule a free consultation with a Gainesville personal injury attorney.