If you’re ever in a car accident, you will likely need to deal with a claims adjuster at some point in the process.
The adjuster works for the insurance company, and it is their job to adjust or negotiate claims made against the insurance company.
For the purpose of a car accident, they’re looking for all of the documentation regarding the accident so that they can come up with a fair settlement agreement for the injured parties.
As the injured person, you need to be aware that the claims adjuster is part of the process, but they don’t work for you.
Their job is to protect the insurance company. If it’s a minor accident and you haven’t suffered major damages, dealing with the claims adjuster on your own is often the best route.
If you have suffered major damages, it’s often best to hire a law firm that handles car accident claims in Mesa.
Your personal injury lawyer is skilled in the field of negotiations and can often reach a much better settlement agreement than you would be able to secure on your own.
Seven Tips to Deal with the Adjuster Directly in an Auto Accident
If you’re in a minor accident, dealing with the claims adjuster is part of the process.
This can be intimidating for most people because the adjuster is working for the insurance company to reach the lowest settlement amount possible, and they are skilled at the negotiation process in this area.
The average person will only have to deal with a personal injury claim a few times in their life, which puts them at a disadvantage in negotiations.
This is not meant to be an adversarial process. If you follow some basic tips, you should do fine dealing with an insurance adjuster to get through the claims process.
1. Gather Evidence Immediately
The evidence of your accident will be important for your case, and it’s difficult to recreate after the fact. Take and gather all the documentation immediately.
This might include pictures, police reports, medical treatment reports, and any eyewitness testimony. In some cases, you may be able to get footage from traffic cameras or local business cameras to substantiate your claims.
2. Know the Amount of Money in Damages
You want to know exactly how much property damage and personal injury you’ve incurred before speaking with the adjuster.
Keep in mind that you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible about an accident because there’s often a clause indicating a time frame on relaying accident information.
The claims adjuster will be made aware of the accident and all facts before they contact you. During that time, you should gather all information about medical bills, loss of work, and any other damages you might have that need to be accounted for in the claim.
3. Have a Number in Your Head for Your Bottom Line Minimum
Make sure that you have a bare minimum number in your head and do not settle for less than that. The claims adjuster will try to seek as low of a settlement as possible.
That doesn’t mean that you need to settle for an amount that’s not reasonable.
4. What You Say Can Be Turned Against You
The claims adjuster already has the facts of the case before they contact you.
They are trained to try to paint the picture in the best light for the insurance company, not the policyholder, which means that they will try to get you to agree with their version.
Remember that everything you say is being recorded and make certain you maintain the facts of your case.
5. Lay Out the Facts That Serve Your Case
If, for example, the other driver was texting and driving, that’s a fact that you’ll want to make sure the insurance company knows. Like the insurance adjuster, you need to paint the case in a way that favors your claims, while being truthful, of course.
6. Don’t Lower Your Settlement Amount Without a Counter Offer
Claims adjusters are skilled in dealing with this process. They may stall the process to get you to rethink or lower the amount.
Always wait for a counteroffer before lowering your settlement amount and only lower the amount if you feel that the payment is still fair for you.
Remember, once you settle, you’ll never be able to get any further payment from that accident, so you need to make sure that the amount you take protects your interests.
7. If the Adjuster Takes Too Long or Is Difficult, You Have Options
This should never be a combative process, and getting angry with the claims adjuster is never going to be in your best interest.
That being said, adjusters are also people, and, in some cases, they can be difficult to negotiate with. If you do run into an issue in dealing with your adjuster, do not get combative.
You can request a new adjuster, or you can ask to speak with your adjuster’s supervisor.
If they’re pushing the process out and not returning your calls for weeks at a time, or otherwise hindering the process, you can always file a complaint with the department of insurance in your state.
In that scenario, you would file your complaint in writing and CC the claims adjuster and their supervisor on all correspondence.
Things You Should Know About Auto Insurance Claims
In most cases, your insurance policy will have a clause that gives you a timeline of how soon you need to contact them to let them know about an accident. Often, the sooner, the better, and you do need to adhere to this guideline.
Some injuries are more serious than others, and some may not present immediately. For instance, head or spinal injuries can be very serious, and symptoms may not show up immediately.
If you think that you have a more serious injury due to a car accident, you don’t want to settle immediately. These types of cases may require a personal injury attorney who can get you the best settlement to protect your rights.
When your settlement arrives, it will include a release form that needs to be signed, as well.
This form, along with the accepted payment releases the insurance company from responsibility for any future claims stemming from this accident.
It’s important that you’re certain the settlement offer is fair before you accept it because you will not be able to go back and sue for further damages after payout if new problems arise later.