If you've been injured in an accident, you may seek compensation from an insurance company. In many cases, this means dealing with an adjuster who works on behalf of the insurer to investigate claims, determine liability, and offer a settlement. Help from a personal injury attorney is invaluable during this process, especially if you decide to take your case to trial. Here's a closer look at the adjuster's role.
How a Settlement Offer Is Calculated
Once the adjuster has finished the investigation of your claim, they will consider two factors: the chances that your personal injury attorney would win the case at trial and how much in damages the jury might award you.
Damages fall into two categories: those that are capable of exact calculation, such as medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, and loss of wages, and those that are not, such as pain and suffering. Since the latter is subjective, the adjuster will use special formulas and software to determine a figure, typically multiplying the tangible damages by a certain number. Once the adjuster arrives at a total settlement value, they will likely make a first offer that is only a percentage of the full value.
How an Adjuster May Try to Devalue Your Claim
An adjuster's job isn't to help you get compensation—it's to help the insurance company pay out as little as possible in damages. One common tactic adjusters use to lower the value of claims is to rush the initial conversation. They might call right after an accident and offer a low settlement in the hope that plaintiffs are tempted by quick compensation.
Another maneuver is to ask for a formal, recorded statement. The adjuster doesn't need one to calculate damages; instead, the purpose may be to use your own words against you to devalue or even deny the claim.
An adjuster may also try to discount some of your medical bills if they appear "soft," meaning they don't come from hospitals or doctors. "Soft" health care providers might include a physical therapist, chiropractor, or mental health professional.
How to Communicate With an Adjuster
An insurance adjuster is not your friend, and they are not on your side. It's important to be careful when communicating with them. Document all your conversations and stay politely professional, even if they attempt friendly small talk.
The best approach is to communicate with the adjuster through a personal injury attorney. They have the experience and expertise to negotiate a settlement that is fair for you, and the careful navigation of conversations with an adjuster is a key element of this process.
For help dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident, trust the personal injury attorneys at Starks Byron. Our firm provides quality legal counsel and representation to clients throughout the state of Georgia. The lawyers will use their experience and knowledge to get you the monetary compensation you deserve after a car accident, slip-and-fall, dog bite, or any other negligent behavior that results in injury. Call (404) 905-3261 to schedule a consultation or learn more about the practice on our website.
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