Getting into an auto accident is not fun to be sure. However, we’ve all had the experience to one extent or another. Some accidents are worse than others. Some result in minor vehicle damage, while others result in significant vehicle damage, leading to the insurance company deeming it a total loss. Some accidents involve zero to minor injuries, while others have major injuries, including permanent disabilities or even death. Regardless of how bad the accident is or how much personal injury resulted, the claims adjuster’s process is similar. Basically, insurance companies hire claims adjusters to be detectives for them to find out the basic factors of a given car accident, such as figuring out what the damages exist to the vehicle, what personal injuries exist, then culminating with negotiating the claim so it can be closed. The right attorney will handle this stressful process for you, so you don’t have to battle the insurance companies’ adjuster about the settlement you deserve.
In today’s article, we’re going to discuss the role of an insurance adjuster and how they impact your injury settlement. We know that you have lots of options when looking for a personal injury attorney in Sarasota, FL. Our job is to provide accident victims with enough information so that they can make an educated decision about which law firm to retain. If at any time you wish to speak with a Sarasota personal injury lawyer please call us at (941) 877-6012. In addition, if you’re searching for an injury attorney after hours please click here to fill out our 24-hour contact form.
Role of an Insurance Adjuster
The injury lawyers at Shapiro | Delgado know how insurance adjusters work. Auto Insurance claims adjusters are basically fact-checking for the insurance companies. Understanding a claims adjuster’s role helps your lawyer earn the best settlement possible for you. So many claims are filed that claims adjusters are an absolute necessity for an insurance company to keep up with all of them. Although they are checking and confirming the details of a particular car accident claim, they usually will not know as much about the specifics of your claim as you do. For them, it’s about closing the claim at a settlement number that makes them look good to their boss. For you, it’s entirely personal. That dichotomy is what makes for a potentially stressful and difficult process. The adjusters’ main focus is to decide the claim’s dollar range. In order to do that, they have to investigate and learn the factors of the claim.
Determining the Amount of the Claim
The most important goal for a claims adjuster is to determine the insurance company’s level of liability. They compile data and information gathered by interviewing the claimant, interviewing witnesses, requesting and researching records, such as police reports and medical records, if personal injuries are part of the claim, then inspecting any involved vehicle property damage. Choosing an attorney who has experience with similar types of cases and similar types of personal injury that you are a victim of will be key to the potential success and outcome of your claim.
Personal Injury Severity
The severity of the personal injury is the number one factor involved and will greatly dictate the amount of an auto accident claim. It’s not just about the medical bills, which are what most people think of first, but a personal injury can branch off into many other factors, such as, but not limited to, property loss, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. As difficult as it may be to focus on money, while you or your loved one is dealing with horrific physical and emotional effects of the accident, the bottom line is the only way to get justice is with a financial settlement. The math is quite simple; the more severe the injuries, the more money your claim is worth. This is because the more severe the personal injuries, the more intensified all of the other factors will be. As with all claims, the adjuster’s goal is to pay as little as possible, regardless of the specific type of case or the tragedy level of the case. Therefore, your attorney should be experienced in dealing with big insurance companies and claims adjusters, so as not to let you be taken advantage of when determining how much your personal injury impact the claim’s overall worth.
Negotiation Process to Settle Claims
At this point, both you, along with your attorney and the claims adjuster have completed all the research and investigation to determine what is believed to be the right and fair settlement to close your car accident claim. It’s no surprise that these two numbers never align. It’s essential that you are aware of how a claims adjuster’s settlement process works, which is exactly why they are hired by insurance companies. While you’re seeking the absolute maximum payout possible, the claims adjuster, as always, is seeking the opposite. Although your attorney and the claims adjuster are looking at similar vehicle damage numbers, the same medical records, the same witness testimony, and the same personal injury facts, somehow your settlement demand is always higher than the claims adjuster’s counteroffer. But before the negotiation can truly begin, your demand is submitted.
Now we’re getting to the nitty-gritty of this whole claim’s process that most certainly has been stressful, time-consuming, and has required significant patience on your part. To get the negotiations off and running, you will need to submit a demand letter. Usually, the claims adjuster won’t do anything until seeing what your attorney believes you deserve after taking all the awful, accident-related factors into account. It is important that the demand letter is organized, concise and professional, as it is a claim adjuster’s job to pick it apart, if possible. This is yet another reason why insurance companies hire claims adjusters, to use any flaws or gaps or exclusions to counter with the lowest offer possible. If you’ve hired a quality attorney, then your demand packet should include all the necessary documents to warrant your financial demand, such as medical records, witness testimony, photographs, police reports, employment income documentation, etc.
Now don’t forget… a claims adjuster’s entire role is meant to result in the lowest payout possible by the insurance company. That is, ultimately, why they have been hired. It’s certainly not to give all claimants as much money as possible. That being said, we know for a fact that the counteroffer will be a low-ball settlement amount. Hence, the negotiation. Try not to get discouraged by the claims adjuster’s offer, as it is intentionally low and offensive. Remember that the claims adjuster’s approval from their boss is their primary focus, not paying you what you really deserve. That is why the attorney you choose to represent you in an auto accident case is of the utmost importance.
Finalize the Settlement
Wow… the claims adjuster is almost done with the negotiations and ready to close the auto accident claim, which is why they were hired by the insurance company in the first place. After going back and forth a few times, eventually, the claims adjuster will make you and your attorney an offer that you feel good about accepting. That is what they’ve been working toward the whole time. They work to close claims in the dollar range that appeases the insurance company. In order to get most of what you want, it helps greatly to have representation in the form of an attorney who is really experienced and quite familiar with negotiating with claims adjusters and insurance companies. In closing, the final agreed-upon settlement amount usually falls in the range that the insurance company can live with and the claimant can be content with. Just think of how much less you will get, though, if you’re taking on a big insurance company that has hired a seasoned and experienced auto accident claims adjuster without an equally experienced lawyer who has your best interest in mind.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney in Sarasota
If you, or a loved one, have sustained injuries due to the negligence of another party we can help. Call our law firm at (941) 877-6012 to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Sarasota. Our office is able to take injury intake information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Remember, if you’ve been hurt because of the carelessness of someone else you have rights. We fight for your financial justice.