How To Scare An Insurance Adjuster: As a claimant, it’s important to understand the critical role insurance adjusters play in determining the outcome of personal injury and property damage cases. While many adjusters approach their job with fairness and diligence, there are those who may engage in unethical behavior.
To protect yourself from bad-faith tactics, you can take steps to encourage your insurance adjuster to offer a fair settlement. This can be achieved through knowledge, careful planning, persistence, and the guidance of an experienced attorney.
Outlined below is a step-by-step approach to help you secure a fair settlement offer from your insurance adjuster.
Step One: Understand the role and goals of an insurance adjuster
Before devising a strategy to elicit fear in an insurance adjuster, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of their job responsibilities. Insurance adjusters are primarily responsible for assessing personal injury or property damage claims to determine the amount an insurance company should compensate the claimant for their losses.
They are commonly referred to as claims adjusters and can be employed by insurance companies or work independently as external contractors hired to evaluate claim liability.
As a claims processor, your main responsibility is to receive and handle claims from individuals who have experienced physical injury or property damage. You will be the primary point of contact for the victim throughout the entire claims process, ensuring that they are updated on the status of their claim and have their questions answered.
To properly assess the claim, you will review the claimant’s physical injuries or property damage, conduct interviews with witnesses, specialists, and the claimant themselves, and analyze any available evidence such as surveillance video, police reports, and witness testimony. It’s crucial to accurately determine the degree of damage or loss to ensure fair compensation for the victim.
Once the extent of the damage has been assessed, you will then calculate payments and benefits due to the victim, negotiating with them to ensure they receive the appropriate compensation for their losses. Additionally, you must ensure that all payments made are free of any plagiarism or fraudulent activity.
Overall, your role as a claims processor is vital in helping individuals recover from physical injury or property damage. Your attention to detail and ability to accurately assess the extent of the loss will ensure that the victim receives fair compensation and can move forward from their unfortunate experience.
Step Two: Know how adjusters may try to minimize compensation
Let’s explore the strategies that insurance adjusters may employ to decrease settlement offers and how they can potentially frustrate claimants into accepting a lower settlement amount.
These tactics are aimed at reducing the value of the claim and increasing the possibility that the claimant will agree to a smaller settlement.
- Avoid your phone calls
- Delay action
- Request more details
- Issue a lowball offer
- Threaten or intimidate you
- Advise you not to hire a lawyer
Keeping these strategies in mind, you can anticipate what may lie ahead for you as you communicate with your insurance adjuster. And you can now take action to ensure you receive proper compensation for your damages and injuries.
Step Three: Take your time to review a settlement offer
Remaining silent can be an effective strategy for inducing fear or nervousness in a claimant. While this may seem counterintuitive, it can be a useful tactic for achieving a favorable settlement. Insurance adjusters aim to settle claims as quickly as possible. If they make an offer and the claimant does not respond promptly, they may become anxious that the offer will be rejected.
There is also another reason why adjusters may be concerned about a lack of responsiveness. They may worry that the claimant requires additional and expensive treatment in the long term, which would increase costs for the insurance company. Conversely, if the claimant accepts a settlement offer quickly, liability is resolved and they will have no recourse if further treatment is necessary.
Step Four: Reject a lowball offer in writing
When you decline a settlement offer in writing, you are communicating to the insurance company that you are willing to pursue a just settlement. You can convey your determination by presenting a counteroffer with the amount that you believe is appropriate.
In order to demonstrate the seriousness of your stance, a lawyer may draft a letter that:
- States clearly that the settlement offer you received is unacceptable
- Responds to any inaccurate statements in the insurance adjuster’s correspondence to you
- States the settlement amount you find acceptable
- Outlines the general reasons why the amount you proposed is appropriate
- Calculates expenses related to any damages that the lowball settlement offer ignored
- Attaches copies of receipts, invoices, and a letter from your employer documenting your absence from work
To increase your chances of receiving a fair compensation, it’s recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you draft your letter and negotiate your counteroffer.
A lawyer’s letter usually has a greater impact than a letter from a non-legal professional and can make the insurance adjuster more uneasy. Moreover, if you hire a lawyer with a proven history of successfully negotiating favorable settlements with insurance companies, the adjuster will know that they are at a disadvantage.
Step Five: Finish your treatment before accepting a settlement
Each accident victim has unique injuries and recovery experiences. While minor injuries may resolve within days or weeks, more severe injuries may require a longer recovery time. In rare cases, some victims may suffer lasting physical and psychological effects for years after the accident.
Treatment for severe injuries can be costly, resulting in a higher insurance claim. Therefore, insurance adjusters may offer a quick settlement to avoid paying a significantly higher amount if the settlement is delayed until all treatment expenses are accounted for.
If an insurance adjuster suggests that you don’t need additional treatment, it is perfectly acceptable to insist on following the medical advice of your primary care doctor and healthcare team.
You can surprise an insurance adjuster by informing them that you plan to wait until you have fully recovered before settling your claim. This will demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the settlement variables. You can submit your claim but make sure not to rush into a settlement.
Step Six: Report any insurance adjuster who is acting unethically
When it comes to reporting an insurance adjuster for behaving unethically or unprofessionally, it is common for individuals to feel afraid. Unfortunately, there are some adjusters who have a track record of bullying claimants or using unethical strategies to pressure or intimidate them into accepting a settlement offer that may be lower than what they deserve.
These types of tactics go beyond the less severe issues discussed in Step Two, as they may involve deceit or coercion. Here are a few examples:
- Trying to force an injured person to sign a settlement release while they are under the influence of pain medicine or other drugs
- Creating falsified witness statements to prompt a claimant to admit fault.
- Tampering with or altering evidence to minimize an injured person’s claim
- Knowingly discarding photos, written statements, or other evidence that could help increase a claimant’s settlement
- accept lower compensation.
In case you or someone you care about has experienced dishonest or fraudulent behavior from an insurance adjuster, it is essential to take action. One way to do this is by notifying the adjuster’s employer that you intend to claim bad faith. You can accomplish this by writing a letter that explains your claim in detail or by filing a claim with your state’s insurance regulatory authority.
When composing your letter, ensure that you include the adjuster’s name and specify the conduct or behavior that led to the bad faith allegation. If your claim is substantiated, the insurance company may be held liable for providing compensation beyond the original amount associated with your injuries.
What should you avoid doing when dealing with insurance adjusters?
When dealing with insurance adjusters, knowing what not to do is just as important as taking the right steps with an insurance adjuster. Here are five things you should avoid doing at all costs when communicating with an insurance adjuster.:
1. Do not admit fault: It’s important not to admit fault or apologize for the incident, as it could be used against you later on.
2. Do not provide too much information: Be cautious about what you say and don’t provide too much information. Only give the adjuster the facts they need to know about the incident.
3. Do not agree to a recorded statement: If the adjuster asks you to provide a recorded statement, it’s best to decline. Anything you say can be used against you later on, so it’s better to provide a written statement instead.
4. Do not accept the first offer: If the adjuster offers a settlement, it’s often lower than what you’re entitled to. Don’t accept the first offer without reviewing it with a lawyer or expert.
5. Do not sign anything without reviewing it: Always review any documents the adjuster asks you to sign carefully. If you don’t understand something or have any questions, ask for clarification before signing anything.