Personal injury lawyer, Barry P. Goldberg, sees many auto accident claimants after their failed attempts to deal with insurance claims adjusters. However, with a couple of techniques and some insight, dealing with claims adjusters can be demystified and mastered. After car accident, it is necessary to report the accident and deal with the insurance company representatives. But, how can you deal with them when they have an agenda and are impossible to reach?
The Insurance Adjuster is not your Friend.
The insurance industry has done a masterful job through advertising of convincing the public the insurer is essentially your friend—a good neighbor—fun—and sincere. In fact, many insurers tell accident victims at the outset “we will take care of everything.” They will not. Further, they are essentially an adversary—-you have a claim—they want to pay you as little as possible. Remember, the insurer will only do what it is contractually obligated to do. So, it is important to have low expectations from the adjuster.
The Insurance Adjuster is Overworked and Does Not Care about Your Case.
In the insurance claims industry, the front line insurance adjuster has way too many cases and is overworked. That means the adjuster has very little time to handle your case. In fact, over the last couple of years, our office has noticed that claims adjusters rarely accept telephone calls and only return them at their own convenience.
Barry P. Goldberg believes that a car accident victim can use this to his or her advantage. Be organized and prepared before speaking to an adjuster and always have the claim number handy. Consider providing information and documents by email. Do not expect immediate access or a prompt call back. The organized and efficient claimant gets paid. Others do not—no matter how hard you argue or how upset you get.
Ask How You Can Help the Adjuster Close the File—Literally.
Insurance claims adjusters, like lawyers, deal with conflict all day long, and every day, every week, every month and every year. They are tired of fighting. Their goal is to close your file and reduce their own workload. They will often pay a fair amount in lieu of a “low ball” if you can help them close a file promptly. Be friendly and efficient with their time. Ask how you can make their life easier—literally.
An adjuster will tell you that they need certain items and will often set a time table. If you provide the requested materials timely, they are more likely to fight for you. Be realistic and reasonable with your settlement demand. Accident victims that ask for huge unrealistic sums, are considered “crack-pots” by adjusters and they do not mind teaching you a lesson. Negotiate fairly. Do not threaten litigation if your goal is settlement.
Finally, if the negotiations stall, ask the adjuster straight up, “what the absolute top dollar the insurer will pay short of litigation?” They will often tell you!
Thanks to our friend, Barry P. Goldberg of Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation, for his insight into personal injury practice and dealing with insurance claims adjusters.