Insurance adjusters are the people who determine how much money the insurance company should give you in response to your personal injury case. They do this by weighing your version of events, the evidence on hand, the other party’s liability, and other important variables.
As you might imagine, these people have a lot of power – and unfortunately they often don’t use it in your favor. Read on to learn more about insurance adjusters: how their goals differ from yours, how they try to get what they want, why you shouldn’t trust them, and how to avoid getting caught in their web.
What’s Their Motivation?
Insurance adjusters aren’t public servants. They work for insurance companies who are the final arbiters of their success or failure. And while insurance companies are tasked with paying out money to people who’ve been wronged, their bottom line depends on them being a little stingy.
And so the insurance adjuster’s primary task is to dig in their heels and put up a fight. They aren’t going to want to pay unless they can absolutely prove that you’re owed that money – or unless it’s easier to pay out than it is to deal with you or your attorney pushing back and demanding what you’re due. And even when they do pay you, it’s likely to be far less than what you’re asking – if you don’t have an attorney, that is.
In other words, the insurance adjuster isn’t your friend, and they definitely are not after your best interests.
How Insurance Claims Adjusters Try to Trick You
Ideally, you shouldn’t even be talking to the insurance adjuster yourself because they have a ton of tricks they can use to manipulate you.
- They tell you you don’t need an attorney. An attorney is an experienced advocate who knows how to navigate the insurance company’s tricks. When you go with the insurance adjuster’s advice and don’t hire an attorney, you make the adjuster’s job far easier – and you make it far likelier that you’ll walk away with a tiny settlement, if any. They know and that’s why they try to get to you early before an attorney gets in their way.
- They try to get you to give up your medical records early on. Yes, you may need to give up your medical records at some point in the process of pursuing your claim. But you shouldn’t give them up without having an attorney backing you up. The attorney will advise you on what to sign over, and they’ll frame your case in the best light possible.
- They try to pressure you into settling fast. They know as well as you do that you’re emotionally exhausted after your accident, and need to be paid what you’re due. They’ll leverage this fact and pressure you to take their initial lowball offers, just to get you to shut up and go away. Because you don’t have the energy to fight, and you don’t know what you’re owed, you might just go along with it.
How to Negotiate and Get What You Need from the Insurance Company
With all the power insurance adjusters have, it’s easy to think you don’t have any recourse. Thankfully, with a few common sense tips, you’re far more likely to come out on top:
1. Don’t Get Recorded
Having someone record your recounting of events may seem like a great way to bolster your case. After all, it gives you a tangible record of what you’ve said over time.
But any recordings you make will be compared with your statements, past and present. Insurance adjusters will go through your account with a fine-toothed comb, looking for any exaggeration or discrepancy. Don’t give them the rope they need to hang you!
2. Document Your Injuries and Tell Your Doctor Everything
Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after your accident. When you’re in the office, be 100% transparent about everything that you’re experiencing — physical, mental, and emotional. Even if a symptom feels small or unrelated, be sure your doctor’s recording it.
Be sure to schedule follow-up appointments, and notify your doctor if your symptoms change over time. By following this advice, you’ll have a clear, reliable record of your condition, put together by a medical professional — and it’ll be that much harder for the insurance adjuster to dispute your account.
3. Stay Off Social Media
You may be in pain but those happy, smiling pictures of you on a hike you leave on your social media post may tell a different story. So stay off social media for a time until your case is settled. Insurance adjusters will use those pictures against you, and even though you may know better, that may scare you into submission. And if your case ever goes to arbitration or a trial, those pictures can come back to haunt you.
4. Don’t Take the Insurance Adjuster’s First Offer
Remember, the insurance company is after their own interests – not yours. So, naturally, they are going to give you a lowball offer. Don’t take it. And don’t believe them when they say it’s their final offer. They know if you go to see an attorney, you will most likely get many times the amount they are offering you. They will do anything in their power to keep you from seeking legal advice – including doubling or tripling their first offer!
5. Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Maybe the most important step toward success in your personal injury case is to hire an attorney. A personal injury lawyer is a compassionate expert with the knowledge and skill needed to get you the best outcome possible.
The minute you bring an attorney onto your case, the insurance company knows you’re serious. Your attorney knows when and how to apply the right kinds of pressure, to get the money you deserve. Attorneys also know how to frame your story so the insurance company – and possibly a judge and jury, if your case is brought to court – will view your arguments in the best light.
While hiring an attorney may seem like an expense you can’t afford, the vast majority of personal injury attorneys know their clients can’t pay them out-of-pocket. Instead, these attorneys receive their payment as a portion of the money you gain at the conclusion of your case. So put that fear aside.
PLUS, an attorney usually can get you far more in compensation than you can get on your own. So if you think doing it on your own is going to get you more money, you are quite possibly wrong. In most cases, you’ll come out way ahead with the help of an attorney.
Insurance adjusters are professionals who spend all day undermining personal injury cases like yours, and pressuring accident victims into taking paltry settlements. You cannot trust them to look after your best interests. By taking simple steps like avoiding being recorded, keeping detailed records, staying off social media, and hiring a reputable personal injury attorney, you can avoid their tricks and come out on top with full compensation for your injuries and suffering.
You’d don’t have to say yes to the insurance company’s small sum!
If you’re in the Danville, Pleasanton, Livermore or San Luis Obispo areas and need a personal injury attorney, I can help get you full compensation.
Call me now. I will listen and take the time to carefully evaluate your case. If I can’t take your case, I’ll tell you why and give you advice on what to do next. Let’s get started!
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Tom serves the entire San Francisco East Bay and San Luis Obispo area including the towns of Danville, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Dublin, Livermore, Alamo, Sunol, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Pismo Beach, Cambria, San Simeon and all points in between.