First of all, what is an insurance adjuster?
In a personal injury case, you will typically file first thing against someone who you believe was responsible for your accident. The negotiation process will begin somewhere within that timeline with a claims adjuster for that person’s liability insurance company. The case may be referred to a firm of independent adjusters, as most companies do not have a local claims office in a particular area. The negotiation process will continue on exactly the same way despite the insurance adjuster.
An insurance adjuster works the same way as the plaintiff’s attorney in some ways; they investigate the case and get the facts surrounding the accident and the plaintiff’s damages. The adjuster attempts to obtain the same facts that the plaintiff’s attorney has and will sometimes even know more about the accident as an outcome. Then, they can use this information to make an offer, which could be good news or bad news for the plaintiff.
Receiving Background and Investigation
The insurance adjuster will get the story of the insured person and also investigate the plaintiff at some point throughout the process. The adjuster just wants to find out what the insured person has to say about the incident and their side of the story. They will read any written police or accident reports, and may talk to the insurer and look over anything that was sent to them. As far as the plaintiff is concerned, insurers have claims databases that allow adjusters to determine whether or not the plaintiff has ever filed a personal injury claim before. Adjusters typically “dig up dirt” about the plaintiff through this process.
A good adjuster will be very meticulous about looking through received documentation. They will read every page on the medical records and bills, make sure things aren’t missing, and check for holes in lost earnings. They will not make a settlement offer and not respond to any demand until they have every single document they need to value the case.
The adjuster may use their authority to come to an agreement with you over the telephone on their belief of the final settlement offer and what it should be based on what they found. If you and the adjuster agree on an amount, then they will send you paperwork to finalize everything. However, to settle claims on their own, the adjuster may have to work within a restricted dollar limit such as $10,000 and $20,000. Different insurers will have different procedures and it is important to understand that adjusters will also have some leeway to adjust the first offer depending on who they are dealing with.
This is why it is essential for you to have an attorney on your side that will work with you and make sure you get the fair compensation that you deserve. You do not want to accept too small of an offer and end up settling too soon, because you can’t go back once a settlement is finalized. Call WTW today and talk to an attorney that you can trust with your case.