If you have been involved in an accident and are seeking compensation for your damages, you will likely be dealing with an insurance company. Whether you are suing an at-fault driver or a doctor for medical malpractice, their insurance provider will likely be the one discussing settlement or opposing you at trial.
The Motivation of the Insurance Adjuster
Insurance adjusters are special employees of the insurance company who are assigned to a claim case. They investigate facts and use the information they find to determine how much the claim case is worth. It is important to remember that they work for the insurance company, not for the victim. Their main concern is keeping the payouts as low as possible to ensure the insurance company is profitable.
Though insurance adjusters want to pay as little to a claim as they can, they must also work in a way that will avoid a lawsuit. When a case is not settled outside of court, the injured party will usually go to court by filing a civil lawsuit. If the case actually makes it to trial, a judge or jury will listen to the evidence and make a decision on who is actually liable in the case as well as what damages should be paid. Going to trial can be a risky move for an insurance company. In cases with juries that are sympathetic to the plaintiff, the damage award could be far higher than the company initially wanted to pay. When the court rules the insurance company will have to pay. They will also incur costs related to legal fees which can be very expensive.
This are major considerations the insurance adjuster must think about. It is their job to get the plaintiff to accept the lowest possible settlement without filing a lawsuit and going to court. Usually the adjuster decides on a maximum amount they are willing to pay, then they make a low offer in the hopes the plaintiff will take it. If not, they will have room to negotiate.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies
It is important to understand that the insurance company is not on your side, even if it is your own insurance provider. When you are facing a low offer or a claim denial, it is important that you discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. Never agree to an offer without first speaking to your attorney. A personal injury attorney has the experience and knowledge to properly calculate your damages and ensure you get a fair settlement. Hiring an attorney also lets the insurance company know that you take your rights seriously and that you will file a lawsuit if you are not given a fair damage settlement.
It is also important that you gather clear evidence of fault on the other driver’s part, as well as understand the extent of your injuries. Photographs, medical records, bills and even journals are evidence that can be used to maximize your recovery. Your personal injury attorney can help you identify the proper evidence to use to negotiate with the insurance provider. Though you will likely be concerned about the medical expenses you have already incurred, it is important to think about the future as well. If you are severely injured and require on-going or future therapy or you are unable to work, you should include those damages in your negotiations. You have a right to claim a range of damages, depending on your unique case, such as:
- Medical bills – Both past and future that are related to your injury
- Loss of income – If you are unable to work and earn a wage
- Pain and suffering – Though it may be difficult to put a money value on your pain and suffering, it is important to have your attorney help you estimate a fair amount to ensure you are fully compensated.
Fighting an insurance company in a personal injury suit can be difficult. You will only get one shot at it, so it is important to have a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side who can guide you and represent you along the way.