Picture this: You’ve just been in a car accident, and the next day you’re talking to an insurance adjuster. They are being kind, friendly, supportive, and seem like they genuinely want to help you.
But, are they telling you everything? Once you accept a check and sign a liability release, your chances for fair compensation are gone. Now, look at what they are offering you. Is that really going to be enough to treat your injuries? Do you know when treatment for your injury is going to be finished? Is it a life-lasting injury? Do you know what your injury is worth? Are you also accounting for destroyed property, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages? The adjuster isn’t going to mention any of this. If your health insurance is claiming a right to repayment, they won’t help you negotiate that bill, either.
The insurance adjuster’s job is to maximize profits for the company, and satisfy its shareholders. That means they are looking out for their bottom line when they send you a lowball offer. The adjusters are trained to develop a connection with you- this is usually in the first chapter of every claims manual. Their job is getting you to think they are on your side because they want you to accept a significantly lower settlement than what you deserve and they know that if you call a lawyer, they will have to pay more- 2 to 5 times more on average. Some insurance companies will even reward their adjusters with a bonus for settling your claim on the cheap.
You must look out for yourself and your family because the insurance adjuster will not. The insurance company takes billions in premiums but only pays a fraction of that in claims. Do you really think they have your best interest in mind? Many people take their offer, thinking it’s fair, and end up with no way to cover their expenses, especially if they have a loss of income.
When an insurance adjuster starts pressuring you to accept their offer, tell them you’re getting a lawyer. More often than not, you’ll see their true colors. They will start using whatever tactics they can to prevent you from contacting a lawyer, including:
- They will tell you that the lawyer will to take a portion of your settlement.
- They will tell you that they can’t make you the same offer if a lawyer is involved.
- They will get aggressive with you to settle your claim – sometimes before knowing the medical diagnosis.
- They will imply that your claim isn’t worth getting an attorney.
These are all indicators that the insurance adjuster has more to lose than they are letting on.
Don’t think of getting an attorney as being greedy, but rather, leveling the playing field. An experienced personal injury attorney will be wise to the insurance adjuster’s games. They will be able to accurately evaluate your claim and take steps to recover the damages you’ve lost. A good attorney will be prepared to take the insurance company to court if they refuse to offer an appropriate settlement or negotiate in bad faith. Many insurance companies do what they can to avoid litigation and your attorney will use that as leverage.
Many personal injury attorneys offer free legal consultations. If the settlement that the insurance company is offering is fair and there is no reason to pursue legal representation, an ethical attorney will let you know.
Be aware that even your own insurance company may subject you to the same treatment. An example is if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver, but you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) medical payments coverage on your policy. It doesn’t matter if the claim comes from your insurance or the other driver’s, once you take the offer, you can’t ask for more compensation in the future, even if you wind up with surgery after conservative care fails.
The S.E. Farris Law Firm has more than 30 years of experience. We offer free consultations and will happily evaluate your case and do whatever we can to protect your rights. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, call us at 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937) 24-hours a day, or send us a message.