Last Update: 02/01/16
According to Florida Statute 624.155, an insurance adjuster in Florida is required to act fairly when processing an insurance claim and if the adjuster fails to do so, then they can be sued for damages. The law states they will be liable for money damages by the commission of any of the following acts by the insurer:
1. Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due regard for her or his interests;
2. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under which payments are being made; or
3. Except as to liability coverages, failing to promptly settle claims, when the obligation to settle a claim has become reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage.
Furthermore, insurance adjusters are individuals with an ethical duty to act properly with those who are not their insureds. The Insurance Adjusters Code of Ethics states that:
“An adjuster shall not attempt to negotiate with or obtain any statement from a claimant or witness at a time that the claimant or witness is, or would reasonably be expected to be, in shock or serious mental or emotional distress as a result of physical, mental, or emotional trauma associated with a loss. Further, the adjuster shall not conclude a settlement when such settlement would be disadvantageous or to the detriment of a claimant who is in the traumatic or distressed state described above”.
See, e.g., Goheagan v. American Vehicle Insurance Company.
This is Florida law. It doesn’t mean that the Florida insurance adjuster you deal with is going to follow it.
Florida insurance adjusters work for big insurance companies and it’s all about the dollar for them. They succeed on their job not by paying out as much money they can (or should) in claims payments but instead on how well they protect the company and its bottom line in processing claims. If they can nix a claim and not pay anything, then their higher ups will approve of that stance and find ways to back up that decision in policy language as applied to the case.
If you have been involved in an accident then it’s important to remember that the adjuster is not on your side, no matter now nice they may be.
For instance, they may be very sweet as they ask if they can record your statement. Be careful. Those words you speak may be used against you in the future, twisted in ways you never intended.
Perhaps they’ll act compassionate about your financial crisis and offer to make a fast settlement so you can get money in hand. What they aren’t going to tell you is that you’re going to get much less than is fair for your claim.
What Should You Do?
A good piece of advice if you have been contacted by an insurance adjuster, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about some of the issues that can arise with a claim, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.
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- Does a Florida Insurance Adjuster Want to Record Your Statement about an Accident or Injury? 10 Things to Know About Recorded Statements by Insurance Adjusters
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.
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