When you file a claim after an accident or injury, the insurance company assigns an adjuster to your claim. The insurance adjuster investigates your claim to determine if the company is liable for your damages because its insured caused your injury. If the adjuster determines the company is liable, they decide how much your claim is worth.
The process should be fair and impartial, as the claim is based on contract law and personal injury laws. However, insurance companies are for-profit entities, so they are in business to make money.
Therefore, the insurance adjuster protects the company’s best interest by limiting liability. Limiting liability means paying you less for your personal injury claim, including undervaluing damages. Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance adjuster or even talk with an adjuster about your claim, it is crucial to know these important things about insurance claims adjusters.
A Claims Adjuster Is Not on Your Side
The claims adjuster is not your friend, even though they might be friendly. The adjuster is always doing their job. Therefore, if an adjuster tells you they will get you the best possible settlement amount or they will “fight” for you, the adjuster is merely gaining your trust and putting you at ease.
It is much easier to convince someone to accept a low settlement offer when that person believes the adjuster is on their side and working for them. Another reason adjusters are friendly is that people are less likely to talk to a personal injury lawyer when they believe the insurance company is treating them fairly.
It is always in your best interest to meet with an injury lawyer for a free consultation. An accident attorney has your interest as the top priority. An attorney's only concern is to recover the maximum compensation for your injury claim.
The Insurance Adjuster Does Not “Chat” With You Because They Are Friendly
Insurance adjusters ask all types of questions. In many cases, the questions might appear more like a friendly chat instead of an interview for a claim.
For example, an adjuster might ask how you are feeling. The adjuster might follow up by saying they hope you have been able to get back to your normal routines, so you don’t miss out on things you and your friends and family do together. If you say you are fine and have not missed out on anything, the claims adjuster might use those statements to argue your damages are not as severe as you claim because you said you were okay and back to normal.
Likewise, the adjuster might ask you what you were doing before the accident. If you say that you overslept, the adjuster might describe how they overslept that day and were rushed to get to work. You agree that it is terrible to oversleep, and you were in such a hurry that day to get your children to school and get to work because you were running late.
The adjuster uses your statements to argue you were speeding and distracted. Therefore, you contributed to the cause of the car accident. Blaming you for the accident is a way to lower the value of your claim under contributory fault laws.
It is never wise to agree to a written or recorded statement. It is better to refer the adjuster to your personal injury attorney to handle instead of talking to the adjuster about the claim.
Insurance Adjusters Use Delays in Medical Care Against You
In the same way the adjuster uses what you say against you, the insurance adjuster might use a delay in medical care to lower the value of your claim. The adjuster might argue that the accident did not cause your injury because you did not go to the doctor for a couple of weeks following the accident. Likewise, a claims adjuster might argue you failed to mitigate damages by not seeking prompt medical care.
In both cases, the adjuster reduces the amount of your claim. It is best to seek immediate medical care after an accident or injury to avoid problems with your case.
A Settlement Agreement Is a Legally Enforceable Contract
Insurance adjusters often make quick settlement offers. Initial settlement offers are generally lower than the value of your claim. Some adjusters might make a settlement offer before you complete medical treatment.
A final settlement resolves your claim. You release the person who caused your injury, the insurance company, and all other parties from any further liability for your claim. In other words, you give up the right to seek more money for your damages, even if you discover you have additional damages or another claim.
Before you accept a settlement offer, talk to one of our attorneys. If the offer is fair, we will tell you. However, most people are unaware that they are entitled to more money than the insurance company offers to settle the claim.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers
You do not have to deal with the insurance company and its tactics to pay you less than your claim is worth. Contact our firm McGuire Law Firm to schedule a free consultation at (405) 513-5658 with one of our experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys. Let us help you recover the money you deserve.