Typically, a personal injury case involves two parties: the plaintiff or the claiming party, and the defendant or the person from whom liability is being sought. Seeking compensation for personal injuries, however, will also usually involve another entity: an insurance company.
The most common personal injury case in which an insurance company is almost always involved is a car accident Settlements in car accidents are usually made with the insurance company of the vehicle of the defendant. Another example is in a slip and fall accident, where the property owner’s insurance company would have to concern itself in settling with the claiming party.
Whether you are the insured or the person claiming against an insurance company, it is important to know how to work with and what to expect of insurance companies when it comes to personal injury settlement. Many people, especially those who are doing this for the first time, get intimidated and overwhelmed with having to deal with these entities. Hopefully, the information below will familiarize you with who you are about to deal with and how to actually go about handling them in personal injury cases.
Understanding the role of an insurance adjuster
An insurance adjuster, also referred to as a claims adjuster, is the agent in charge of evaluating an insurance claim, who takes into consideration the facts, circumstances, and the nature of the mishap in every insurance demand. Needless to say, these insurance adjusters, in performing their functions as an agent of the insurance company, work to protect the interest of their employer. Thus, their priority is to settle claims at the lowest amount possible, to do so in an expeditious manner, and also to prevent insurance fraud, all intended to minimize the expense on the part of the insurance company they work for.
Responding to the adjuster’s first settlement offer
Once an insurance adjuster has established that there is no insurance fraud and that a claiming party is indeed entitled to compensation, the adjuster will work to keep to a minimum the amount the insurance company is to shoulder. This is precisely the reason why many are of the opinion that the first settlement offer is never to be accepted. To put it bluntly, claim adjusters love to lowball claiming parties, whose vulnerability and desire to be able to wrap things up quickly are prone to be taken advantage of by the insurance company.
If you are the plaintiff, you have to understand, too, that these insurance adjusters are handling hundreds of claims apart from yours. Thus, there is also the inclination on their part to be insistent about their first offer until they get your ‘yes’; this would mean one less insurance claim on their list, and for an unbelievably low price, at that. Correspondingly, however, this would also mean an underclaim on your part as the plaintiff. Hence, there is always a need to be wary about these first settlement offers.
Negotiating with an insurance adjuster
When a claiming party has decidedly refused the adjuster’s first settlement offer, the next obvious step is negotiation. Again, if you are the claiming party, it is in this part of the personal injury settlement process where you will want to demonstrate that you are definitely entitled to so much more. However, you must know that these adjusters are experienced negotiators; they will persistently argue against your desired amount, insist on theirs, and work to get you to capitulate. Some adjusters would also look out for any indication that the mishap was a result of your own doing, which, in effect, would release the insurance company from liability. Hence, you would really need to be careful on what to divulge when negotiating with an adjuster; your assertions might be used against you.
Negotiating with an insurance adjuster is best carried out with a personal injury lawyer. Not only are personal injury lawyers experienced negotiators themselves, but they also are highly familiar with the ins and outs of the personal injury settlement process involving insurance companies. They will also advise you on what to divulge and how to reach a fair compromise with the insurance company, so that you will be able to receive the maximum settlement amount you are rightfully entitled to. Ultimately, engaging the services of a personal injury lawyer puts you on equal footing with the insurance company, and thus prevents underclaims and any sort of manipulation.
If you are in the Atlanta area and are in need of representation in negotiating with an insurance adjuster, Musgrove Trial Firm is here to assist. Located in Norcross, Georgia, Musgrove is composed of a team of highly skilled and competent personal injury lawyers, who will be able to help you in dealing with insurance companies and guide you through the whole personal injury settlement process.
Musgrove Trial Firm is ready to represent you. Send us a message on our website or give us a call at (678) 226-1994 for immediate assistance.