The Claim Process
INSURANCE ADJUSTERS’ TACTICS TO MINIMIZE YOUR CLAIM
Insurance adjusters are not your friends. Always keep in mind that claim adjusters work for the insurance company and they are 100% focused on the bottom line. His or her main job is to find a reason to minimize the amount of money their company must pay out on claims. As such, they will always attempt to control you, and thus the claim, in any number of ways: They might make false promises, give excuses, blame you, rush you, “sweet-talk” you, or even bully or scare you with disinformation or outright lies.
Charlotte J., Youngstown, Ohio
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Slowing down – or speeding up – your claim. Insurance adjusters know that the longer they take to pay on your claim, the more your bills (like mortgages, medical expenses, etc.) will start to pile up, especially if you are out of work because of your injury. They are hoping you will eventually get desperate enough to accept much less in the way of compensation than you are entitled to. Or, conversely, they may try to rush the claim and settle it as quick as possible before you meet with an attorney and become informed about all of your legal rights.
Asking you to make a statement regarding injuries. Do not give a recorded statement or sign anything that an insurance company puts in front of you because you may be releasing them from their responsibilities. A claim adjuster’s objective is to obtain a recorded statement from you that will minimize or even nullify your claim. A signed or recorded statement could hurt your case later on due to your inexperience with the claim process. If an insurance adjuster or investigator calls after you are injured, give them as little information as possible until you are able to consult with an attorney.
Misrepresenting insurance policy benefits. The insurance adjuster may give inaccurate policy information regarding the amount or type of insurance coverage available to you. Insurance policies are usually complex and it is difficult to sort through multiple pages of a policy, especially right after you are injured. Misinformation can come from the insurance company of the at-fault party – or even your own insurer – to entice you to take a low settlement offer to resolve your claim.
Should I meet with the insurance adjuster or accept a check from him or her? After an accident, you should give the insurance adjuster or investigator who contacts you only basic information so he or she can begin the claim. Do not agree to meet with him or her no matter how persuasive they may be. Do not sign anything and do not accept any checks. Once you are represented, the insurance adjusters and investigators will not be able to speak with you directly without your attorney being present.
Obtain a free consultation with an experienced attorney so your rights are protected. If you are a victim of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to numerous types of compensation regardless what any insurance company tells you. Obtain a free consultation with an attorney who is experienced in personal injury law to guide you through the claim process, enlighten you as to all of your rights, and answer all of your questions.
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