Although insurance adjusters often show up with a smile on their face and a kind word after a car accident, it’s important to remember that the adjuster is not there to protect your interests. The adjuster’s job is to protect the interests of the insurance company.
Many times, this means that they push accident victims not to hire a personal injury lawyer. One common tactic adjusters use to achieve this goal involves treating claimants with false friendliness and empty reassurances.
Some insurance companies have even developed scripts for adjusters to follow in order to persuade accident victims not to call an attorney.
Here are some of the things an insurance adjuster might say to try to falsely reassure you. While some of these reassurances might be genuine, it’s wisest to take them all with a grain of salt – and to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
1. “We always make a fair offer.”
An insurance adjuster might try to reassure you by getting to what feels like the heart of your problem: your fear that you won’t be treated fairly if you don’t have a lawyer on your side.
However, your concern is that any offer the insurance company makes should be fair to you.
An experienced attorney can review your policy and make sure that the offer reflects “fairness” on both sides – not just what the company believes is “fair” for its own interests.
In addition, some companies permit adjusters to negotiate only up to a certain dollar limit, which may be much lower than the limits of the policy. If you restrict your options to only what the adjuster can offer, you may miss the opportunity to make your case for the higher amount you genuinely deserve.
2.“We can settle your claim more quickly if we don’t get lawyers involved.”
When you’re facing medical bills, auto repair costs and lost time from work, a fast settlement may sound very tempting. Unfortunately, a quick settlement is often an unfair one for the injured person.
While settling “quickly,” will the insurance company consider your long-term medical costs, any time you might need off work for follow-up care or the full extent of your pain and suffering?
You won’t know unless you have someone on your side. Your attorney can make sure these questions are answered in your favor.
3.“Your lawyer won’t understand your claim as well as we do.”
Be wary of any reassurances that seem to put you and the adjuster on the same side, especially if the adjuster claims that the two of you know your claim better than a lawyer would. Insurance adjusters handle dozens or even hundreds of claims per year. In any given week, an adjuster may spend only a few minutes with your file.
In addition, insurance adjusters know insurance – they don’t know the law, and they don’t practice medicine.
Your personal injury lawyer, by contrast, will take the time required to interview you thoroughly, examine all your medical and other records related to the accident, and consult with the necessary experts to establish exactly what your rights are and what you deserve as compensation. With knowledge of the law and a commitment to representing your interests, your lawyer can represent your interests vigorously while you focus on healing.