Posted By Alan Sackrin on August 15, 2013
Last Update: 11/08/16
When you are involved in an accident here in the State of Florida, you will have no choice but to deal with a representative of one or more insurance companies. Insurance agents sell insurance policies, take insurance payments, and answer routine questions about coverage. Insurance agents are not insurance adjusters.
Insurance adjusters are trained professionals that work to process claims made against insurance policies and whose goal is to keep as much money in the insurance company’s accounts as they can. Many insurance adjusters have been doing their jobs, and doing them well from the perspective of their employers, for many years. They have on the job experience. They have training. They have manuals to reference and supervisors (and insurance defense attorneys) to help them in their work.
Then there’s you – the person who has just been in an accident. Sound a little like David and Goliath? It should – because it is.
5 Things for Car Crash Victims to Know About Florida Car Accident Insurance Adjusters
1. Not all insurance adjusters are the same. An insurance adjuster with years of seniority may have the authority to settle for a lot more money before calling into the company for approval of a specific settlement amount than a newbie adjuster who hasn’t proven himself or herself to the Company Big Guns. This is called their “settlement authority.”
2. Adjusters are successful in their jobs based on two basic criteria: how little they pay out on claims and how fast they can get claims resolves. When an insurance company takes pride in how fast they get claims completed, think about this. Adjusters are pressured to move things along, to handle their “caseload.”
Tip: It is common for the adjuster to ask for your social security number. Try and resist providing that information when negotiating a settlement. The adjuster will enter your social security number into a national database to determine if you have made any previous injury claims.
3. Car insurance adjusters are observing everything you say and everything you do from the minute they meet you or call you on the telephone. And they are writing it all down in their reports. Were you crying? Were you emotionally distraught? Were you rude to them? Were you angry? Did you say something against your best interests? It’s all going into their report. And what’s in that report is going to sway how they approach your claim – if you are obnoxious with the adjuster, then you may be biting your nose off to spite your face.
Tip: Do not sign a medical authorization form so that an adjuster can obtain all of your medical bills and records. You are giving up control over your medical privacy if you sign that form. And, the adjuster may try to use an existing medical condition against you that has nothing to do with your current injuries.
4. Adjusters want to paint a picture of the accident that puts their insured in the best light. Accidents and claims are balanced upon determination of fault. Car accident insurance adjusters will be prone to perceiving their insured as having no fault or as little fault as possible. The car accident insurance adjuster is not without bias no matter how friendly and helpful he or she may seem. They are not impartial third parties, they are working on a job and building a career within an insurance company.
5. The car insurance adjuster does not want the claim to end up in a lawsuit, that’s a ding on his or her performance record. Some claims need to be litigated, however. There are some insurance claims that cannot be resolved JUSTLY and FAIRLY if left to the insurance company’s viewpoint on how much money should be paid. Big amounts may mean that lawyers and courtrooms are necessary. The adjuster is never going to tell you this, it’s up to you to decide when a Florida injury lawyer needs to come help you in your fight for what is right.
What Should You Do Now?
A good piece of advice if you are having difficulty with an insurance adjuster, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about your rights. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
- Settling A Florida Personal Injury Claim Without A Lawyer
- Florida Insurance Adjusters Work Hard to Keep Car Accident Claims Payment As Low as Possible
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.