As personal injury lawyers in Bellingham, we see all the strategies insurance adjusters use to delay or dismiss a claim. This contrasts greatly to the ads everyone knows – that for their customers or potential customers, the company will be there. Just like a good neighbor, or you’re in good hands, etc. But how does their marketing line up with the reality?
When you’re involved in an accident, it’s an insurance adjuster who comes to evaluate your claim. Most likely they will come across as very friendly and professional, but it’s important to remember whose side they are on.
The adjusters’ employers are insurance companies. Their job is mainly to settle claims as quickly and as cheaply as possible. This saves their employer money. Here are some of the tactics you may encounter if you work with an insurance adjuster on your claim.
Imagine you’re the victim of a car accident. You and your loved ones are injured, like our client who was hit by a distracted driver while driving a minivan full of kids down the highway. You’re going to have a lot of questions. For example, you’ll need to know who your contact person is at the insurance company. Will your vehicle be repaired? Can you get a rental car? Should you seek medical treatment? Since doctors’ bills for typical injuries from serious car accidents can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, imagine what you would do if your health insurance isn’t sufficient to cover it. You’re going to worry – a lot – at a time when you should be focusing on getting better. All of these questions’ answers have a subjective monetary value. Is your claims adjuster going to be the right person to ask?
A typical claims adjuster will take on over 100 claims at a time. That’s a heavy workload, and it’s easy to treat clients impersonally with so many. In fact, it’s hard to reach someone with such a high workload at all. Is this coincidence? Actually, it can be considered strategic.
If your adjuster thinks that you’ll get so frustrated leaving messages that you give up, then you’re in the kind of frame of mind that would make a low ball offer seem acceptable. If you’ve reached a breaking point, and the bills are piling up without your ability to pay them, you might be willing to take whatever offer looks decent enough at that point in time. Then your insurer can put the whole incident behind them and move on to the next claim.
Sometimes the injured party receives little to no communication at all, then suddenly a check comes. Maybe that amount looks really good to someone in what feels like dire straits. But if the check is cashed, the claim is settled, and the adjuster can close the file. Meanwhile, the bills can keep coming, but the injured party is stuck with only that amount from the claim.
Adjusters know the statute of limitations on your claim – perhaps better than you can understand. After an accident, the clock starts ticking on how long you can file a lawsuit to recover for your loss. Adjusters can hope that time will run out on your claim, which means you would be unable to recover through either the claims process or a lawsuit.
Luckily, Washington State law allows for accident victims to hire a personal injury attorney who can represent them in these matters. It makes sense to work with Whatcom County’s best personal injury attorney team to deal with these tricks and get you the most money on your claim. Call Bill Coats Law for a free consultation on your case.
For more: insurance companies don’t act like their commercials