We are going to give you 10 tips when you’re dealing with insurance claim adjusters in personal injury claims and other cases.
Read carefully this entire article so you can see all 10 tips.
- Tip number one (1) when dealing with insurance claim adjusters is to be nice. Now, don’t mistake you being nice for not being tough and assertive.
But at the end of the case, the insurance claims adjuster is going to be the one who’s writing you your check.
After all, these are people just like you who have families, who are just trying to pay their bills etc, but you ultimately should be nice to them so that whenever they think about reaching out to you, and giving you a phone call OR when you call them, they’re in a good mood…
According to Insurance Adjusters
We’ve heard defense attorneys and insurance adjusters say, sometimes they pay a little bit more money to someone who’s nice to them.
- Tip number two (2) is to listen to what the insurance adjuster says. Let them finish their sentences. Sometimes, if need be, let there be an awkward silence during the conversation.
Sometimes they will call you when they’re prepared to make an offer, but you may interrupt them before they’re even finished speaking and you may tell them what you think is fair, and what you think is fair may even be below what they were about to offer you.
Sometimes they’ll let you know a bad fact that hurts their defense in your case.
For example, if you’re speaking to an insurance adjuster, perhaps they’ll admit to you that their driver wasn’t paying attention,
or if you were injured, slipped and fell or were otherwise injured at a business premises, perhaps they’ll tell you that the store or other,
or hotel knew about problems with the issue that caused your injury.
We had receive experience’s letter from ours readers is that happen in cases that
“I’ve settled, one in particular that comes to my mind for almost $200,000 where the adjuster actually told me, we had this issue with the flooring in a particular area of a hotel before the accident.
And I think one of the reasons why I was able to get that piece of information is because I listened to her and let her finish what she was saying”.
- Tip number three (3) when dealing with an insurance claim adjuster is to make sure your file and documents are organized and take notes.
Your medical documentation, medical bills, and all other types of information is the heart of your case and that’s what the insurance adjuster will later use to request settlement authority for your case.
Every time you speak with the insurance adjuster on the phone you should be taking notes during and after the call.
Rest assured that when the insurance adjuster calls you, he is already, he or she has already spent several minutes reviewing your file and they’re prepared.
You need to be equally prepared.
When you’re looking at your file and seeing the amount of medical bills that you have, you should be using some type of:
computerized spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, or Google has a similar program, putting all the amounts of medical bills in there, the total bill charges, how much your insurance paid, and the out-of-pocket charges.
For example, in Florida you’re entitled to recover out-of-pocket charges, but you need to have your file organized.
How to Speak with the Adjuster
- Number four (4) goes hand in hand with number three that we just went over, which is just, review your file before you reach out to the insurance adjuster.
Spend a few minutes so you know exactly what you’re going talk about, you have all your numbers, your amounts, for example, like I was saying about medical bills, all outlined.
Also, when you speak with the adjuster, confirm that his figures are the same as yours. Confirm that he’s received everything that you’ve sent.
You need to make sure you’re looking at the same data if you want to try for a fair settlement.
- Number five (5), give the adjuster documentation to help him or her. You’re going to give him every single piece of documentation that you believe supports your case.
He or she receive that information, they’re evaluate your case, and write a range of how much they think it’s worth, they will ask their supervisor for settlement authority,
if you’re dealing with a larger number.
Sometimes adjusters have their own authority, let’s say, up to $10,000 on their own.
But you need to give them all the documentation that they need to pay fair value for your case.
If you’re not giving them all the documentation that they need, they may want offer you fair value, but they just don’t have enough documents to support it.
This includes pictures, lost wage information, all your medical bills, possibly health insurance, lien information, etc.
- Number six (6) is, do not believe what the insurance adjuster says.
In a perfect world, everyone would be transparent, there would be no negotiation. It’s like going to a car dealership. You don’t pay the sticker price.
You try to negotiate it.
Now, in Florida for example, adjusters have a duty to act in good faith to their insureds, but keep in mind, when you’re making a claim against another driver, or a business, for example, you are not their insured.
Their duty is to their client, who is their insured.
Insurance adjusters want to have a long career at their company that they’re working at.
And yes, they have a duty to act in good faith and protect their insured’s interest, but ultimately, every dollar that they save their company makes them look better.
We’ve heard of certain insurance adjusters being rewarded for making lower offers and saving their companies money.
Do not mistake a nice adjuster for one who is going to pay you money.
Sometimes you’ll deal with the sweetest, nicest adjuster, you’ll be sending them your medical bills over a period of months, you think you guys are becoming fast friends,
and then when it comes to offer time, they give you zero, they deny liability, or they offer you significantly less than what you think your case is worth.
An example of a case which shows that you should not listen to what the insurance adjusters say when it comes to your case value is a case where a motorcyclist was hit by a truck that failed to yield the right of way.
The case settled for $445,000. This is the truck that caused the accident.
However, the insurance adjuster initially said he had reserved the case at $100,000, essentially saying the case was worth somewhere around the $100,000.
Now, not too much changed after that initial conversation, but the case ultimately settled for $445,000, so take what they say with a grain of salt.
Insurance adjusters can be very convincing.
We’ve actually heard cases where people tried to get more money by presenting a certain argument, the insurance adjuster told, essentially, that
“I’m totally wrong and then after person took the proper legal steps, the insurance company would pay the $10,000 or extra $100,000”.
Sometimes they have to consult their legal department to get the legal answer, and their legal answer may be totally different than their opinion and what they think they know because they haven’t handled your issue before.
- The seventh tip (7) in dealing with an insurance claim adjuster is give them a time deadline for whatever it is that you’re asking them to do.
If you’re making a settlement demand, you should generally put a time limit on it, let’s say 30 days or 20 days.
If you’re sending an email, you should generally give them around three or four days to respond, or a phone call,
but when you give them a deadline, they document it in their file and they put it in their calendar and will generally follow up with you, or they should, around that time.
Especially in smaller cases, where the insurance company limits are high, they may just put your file aside and it doesn’t become a priority.
But in order to make your file a priority, give the insurance adjuster a deadline.
- Number eight (8) is to respond to insurance claim adjusters when they reach out to you, if they call you or if they send you an email, quickly.
This is common sense.
The longer you wait to respond, they adjuster may go on vacation, it may delay the claim, the sooner you respond, all things equal, the better.
You do not have to give a recorded statement to the other side’s insurance adjuster.
If it’s your own insurance adjuster, let’s say for PIP or uninsured motorist insurance, you generally have to give a recorded statement, but the sooner you respond, the sooner
you’re prepared and you’re in a calm state and you’re not emotional, the better.
Now, shortly after an accident, sometimes you want to take a little bit of time to gather yourself so you don’t just go out spewing your life story to the adjuster and you’re coming from an emotional place.
To just hammer this point home, if you’re injured at a business premises or you’re injured by another driver or you’re a passenger in a car and the other driver is at fault,
you generally never and should not give your recorded statement to the insurance company.
Generally can only be used against you.
It’s very frustrating, if you ultimately choose to hire a lawyer, and he asks you, or she asks you, did you give a recorded statement, and you say yes, generally, all it can do is hurt your claim.
Now, you should report the claim after it happens, but do not give that recorded statement.
Speak with Supervisor.
- Tip number nine (9) is to speak with a claims supervisor or sometimes claims manager, if you’re not getting what you want.
Unfortunately, there come times where you have to speak with a supervisor.
It’s just like if you’re at a hotel and the staff is not helping you, you ask to speak with a manager, or at a restaurant,
if your food is not there on time, and you’re very bothered and you feel that you’re getting poor service, the same thing with claims.
Sometimes adjusters are overworked, they’re not putting enough attention onto your case, and they’re not evaluating your case properly.
We’ve heard several cases where speaking with a claims supervisor has helped to get more money from clients.
You should do the same, if it’s warranted.
Sometimes you ask to speak with a supervisor and the adjuster handling the file will say, you’re wasting your time, the supervisor’s going to tell you the same thing as what I’m telling you,
but the bottom line is, we’ve heard that so many times, we believe it this much.
There are times, on the other hand, where sometimes speaking with a supervisor will not do much for you.
The supervisor may say, I’m not going to go against the adjuster’s recommendation and his value of the case.
If you get that feeling that you want to speak with a supervisor, you may be right.
Department of Insurance
- Tip number (10) when dealing an insurance claims adjuster is if you’re not getting what you think is fair and maybe you spoke to the claims supervisor or manager, file a consumer complaint with the Department of Insurance.
For example, in Florida, you go to their website, you file the consumer complaint, or you can even file what’s called a civil remedy notice.
If you do the latter, send the insurance company a copy of it, because the department will not.
This has also helped get more money in cases. We’ve heard cases where person was getting offered, for example, $10,000.
He/she filed a consumer complaint and a few days later they get a call and the offer has increased to $14,000 or so.
So it doesn’t always work and you should only do it when it’s appropriate.
And it’s great if an insurance company, for example, is not responding to your phone calls or your letters or they close the claim and they’re saying they won’t reopen it, or something of that nature.
It can be an amazing tool when they’re not being fair with you.
But again, we use these sparingly, we don’t always use them. We use them when we feel that the insurance company is not acting in good faith.
I hope you bit learn from this Article.
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