After an accident or injury in Atlanta, an insurance adjuster or claims adjuster may contact you. An insurance claims adjuster investigates insurance claims to determine whether the insurance company is liable for the claim. If so, the adjuster calculates how much the insurance company should pay to resolve the claim.
What is the Most Important Thing You Need to Know About an Insurance Adjuster?
Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company. The adjuster may handle claims for property damage and personal injury.
They handle claims involving all types of claims, including:
- Car accidents
- Defective products
- Slip and fall accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Commercial truck accidents
- Wrongful death claims
- Workers’ compensation
- Almost any claim involving personal injury
You may encounter an insurance adjuster after filing a first-party insurance claim (a claim you file with your own insurer) or a third-party claim (a claim you file with another party’s insurer).
The insurance adjuster protects the insurance company from liability throughout the claims process. That means paying as little as possible to you to settle the claim.
Even adjusters who work for independent adjusting firms have the insurance company’s best interest as their top priority. Insurance companies may hire an independent insurance adjuster to handle specific cases or when they have a backlog of claims to process.
No matter what a claims adjuster tells you, the adjuster is not on your side and does not work for you. Instead, the adjuster wants to resolve the claim quickly while paying as little as possible for the claim.
Remember, you have the right to legal counsel. Do not allow an insurance adjuster to talk you out of contacting an Atlanta personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.
Other Things you Need to Know About an Insurance Adjuster
Now you understand the role of the insurance adjuster. Other things to know about dealing with a claims adjuster and settling a personal injury claim with an insurance company include:
Insurance Adjusters Want You to Make a Formal Statement
Licensed adjusters are skilled insurance professionals. They participate in continuing education and training on insurance law. They also understand personal injury laws and how to use those laws to fight injury claims.
Therefore, they know what you say can hurt your case if you go to trial. For that reason, the claims adjuster may tell you he needs a recorded or written statement. BEWARE! The purpose of the statement is to get you to say something the insurance company can use to deny your claim or undervalue your claim.
Generally, it is best to speak with an injury lawyer before answering questions or making a statement regarding an insurance claim.
However, if you answer questions, remember these essential tips:
- Never admit fault or apologize for the accident
- Do not volunteer information – Only answer the question asked by the adjuster
- Be concise and truthful
- Never guess at an answer or estimate
- Do not discuss personal information or details about your family or personal life
If an insurance adjuster tells you that you must provide a recorded or written statement before they can investigate your claim, call a lawyer. The adjuster is not treating you fairly or being honest with you.
Do Not Sign a Medical Records Release
The insurance company uses pre-existing conditions, illnesses, and injuries to deny claims or undervalue damages. Never sign a release for your medical records. The company does not need these to open and begin an insurance claim.
However, tell your personal injury lawyer about any pre-existing conditions immediately. Withholding this information from your lawyer can hurt your case.
Claims Adjusters Shift Blame to the Victim
Under Georgia’s comparative fault laws, your compensation could be reduced if you contributed to the cause of the accident. For example, if you are 50% or more at fault for the cause of a car crash, you receive nothing for your damages.
If an insurance adjuster hints that you could be partially to blame for an accident, contact an attorney for help as soon as possible. These allegations could lower the money you receive for a personal injury claim.
Avoid Quick Settlements Before You Complete Medical Treatment
An insurance adjuster may issue a quick settlement offer. The settlement offer will llikely lower than the value of your damages. Their purpose is to get you to settle your claim before you talk with a lawyer or complete medical treatment.
You have the right to negotiate a settlement agreement. It is also not in your best interest to settle a claim until after completing medical treatment. There is no way for you to know the extent of your injuries and damages until your doctor releases you from care.
If you sustain a permanent impairment, you could be entitled to future lost wages, diminished earning potential, and other damages. However, when you sign a settlement agreement, you release all parties from liability for further claims. In other words, you cannot demand more money even if you discover additional injuries and damages.