When you’re involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in Texas, a report with the insurance companies of those involved is completed. The insurance company assigns an insurance adjuster who will decide what your claim is worth. Here’s what you need to know about insurance adjusters and the claims process.
An Insurance Adjuster By Any Other Name…
Often, you’ll get a letter or a phone call giving you the name and contact information of a representative from the insurance company. Sometimes, that person has the title of “claims specialist,” “claims representative,” or “claims analyst.” The title doesn’t matter. They’re still an insurance adjuster.
What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do for the Insurance Company?
The insurance adjuster for the involved insurance companies has a couple of important responsibilities on behalf of the company they work for. They want to determine fault and they want to pay out as little as they can for your claim. Yes, even if they work for your car insurance company and even if you weren’t at fault. Why? Because at the end of the day, the insurance company is a for-profit business. When they pay out on claims, it cuts into their profit. So, they want to pay out as little as possible.
Sometimes, an insurance company will outsource the adjustment process to a third party. While you may think that this could work in your favor, it doesn’t. When an insurance company relies on a third party, they give the independent adjuster even less authority to settle the claim. So, you could be offered even less money than if the insurance company had their own adjusters.
How Does an Insurance Adjuster Settle a Claim?
Understanding how an insurance adjuster settles a claim is important. It helps you feel less like a number and it even gives you a little bit of power during the process. An insurance adjuster may deal with as many as 100 new claims each month. How their job performance is measured is closely related to how many claims they can close out through settling. If an insurance adjuster thinks you don’t understand the process or what your claim may be worth, they may try to delay the process because they know you’ll get desperate and accept left.
Many insurance adjusters have no special medical or legal training. They rarely take the time or invest the resources into it. They’ll probably spend less than an hour reviewing your case and your injuries. They’ll read the police report, review your medical records, and they may look at photos of the damages to the car.
If they aren’t very experienced, the insurance company will only give them the authority to settle the claim between $5,000 and $10,000. If the adjuster is experienced, they may be authorized to go as high as $20,000. However, they won’t tell you what they’re authorized to offer you. If they tell you that they need to get approval from the company, they may be willing to offer you more.
Should You Settle without a Lawyer?
If an insurance adjuster offers you a settlement, should you take it without first speaking with a personal injury attorney? Ultimately, you’re the only one who can answer that question. Thompson Law provides a free consultation to victims of car accidents. It’s always prudent to talk with a lawyer before you accept a settlement. Often, an insurance adjuster won’t offer you enough to cover your lost wages, medical bills, future medical care, pain and suffering, and the damage to your car. Thompson Law can help you negotiate with the insurance company to get you the money that you’re entitled to receive.
If you sign a settlement agreement without having it reviewed by a lawyer, you could sign away your legal rights. You could lose your right to sue the insurance company or the other driver. You could lose the ability to receive money for future medical costs that result from your injuries.
If you’re involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, don’t talk to the insurance adjuster without first talking to Thompson Law. To schedule your free consultation, call us right now at 1-800-LION-LAW or click here.