Insurance adjusters work to resolve personal injury claims. Knowing how they handle a claim can put you at a slight advantage. Also known as ‘Claims representatives’ or ‘specialists’, they work hard to make sure each claimant gets the amount of money they think they deserve.
What Insurance Adjusters Do
Once you have filed a claim against an individual or a company who you believe was responsible for the accident that caused your injuries the negotiation process will begin. At this early stage of the process, an independent insurance adjuster will work with the company’s or individuals insurance company. Many insurance company’s work this way if they do not have their own claims office.
Many public entities such as big cities or state governments have their own claims office, as they may receive many different claims each and every month. The process is the same as that of an independent adjuster, but there is one large difference if you happen to be negotiating with a government entity adjuster. The difference when negotiating with an entity such as this is that the claim could end up in court, where judges and juries do not always award generous damages. This is likely to be because the money will come from public funds. If you make a claim against a government entity or a big city it’s likely that your claim will be approximately 10-25% lower than if your claim was against someone else.
Personal Injury Claims and Attorneys
If you have made a claim against a government entity you may find yourself negotiating with an attorney. Some insurance companies use attorney’s who will deal with the claims before they go to court. If you find out that an attorney is handling your claim do not worry. The attorney cannot do anything that a regular claims adjuster cannot do. You may find that the attorney may try to tell you about laws regarding liability and negligence, but when it comes to your claim they have no more authority than an adjuster, no matter what they say.
How a Claim is Settled
Insurance adjusters are there to not only judge how much money should be spent on a settlement, but also how quickly the claims can be settled. It is not unusual for an adjuster to have between 50 and 100 new claims to work with every month. It is the adjuster’s job to settle each of the claims so they can stay even. The settlement of claims is also known as ‘Closing’ or ‘Clearing’. When an adjuster is aware that you understand the monetary value of your claim, it is likely that they will do all they can to close it.
You will probably know more about your claim than the adjuster does, this is normal. Adjusters are not medical professionals, nor do they have any legal training, and it’s also unlikely that they will have the time to investigate your claim thoroughly. Each adjuster will only have a few minutes to look at your claim and any photographs or evidence that is in your file. You will know more about your injuries, medical help, time off work etc than they do, which can put you at an advantage. Have everything organized, keep all your information together, know where everything is should you need to answer questions, and you may find yourself with the upper hand.
Coming to an Agreement
Your insurance adjuster will come to an agreement with you, typically during a telephone call. Once you have both agreed on an amount you will be sent some paperwork so the settlement can be finalized. You should be aware that the adjuster only has authority to settle claims within a specific monetary limit, which can be anything between $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the claim. It is unlikely that an adjuster will let you know what the limits are unless they are thinking of offering you a sum that is higher than their limit. However, the adjuster will need to seek approval from their manager before they settle your offer. If your adjuster informs you that they need approval for the monetary award ask them when you should expect to hear from them, and send them a letter that confirms this date.
Knowing how an insurance adjuster handles a claim can put you at a slight advantage. You will know more about your claim than the adjuster does, and you’ll also be aware that they will want to settle your claim quickly. Using all of this information to your advantage could result in you being awarded a monetary figure that you’re pleased with.