Insurance adjusters handle claims for insurance companies. They handle all types of claims, including car accidents, motorcycle crashes, slip and fall accidents (premises liability), and dog bites. The insurance claims adjuster evaluates claims related to property damage and personal injuries.
Under California law, an insurance adjuster is someone other than a private investigator who investigates to obtain information to resolve an insurance claim. A public insurance adjuster works only on property damage claims on behalf of the policyholder.
Insurance adjusters may work full-time for an insurance company. They may also work as an independent adjuster with independent adjusting firms. Claims adjusters work to protect the best interest of the insurance company. They do not work to protect your right to fair compensation for a personal injury claim.
What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do During the Claims Process?
A claims adjuster settles the claim between you and the insurance company. The insurance adjuster investigates a claim file by gathering copies of police reports, interviewing parties, and obtaining other evidence related to the claim.
The claims adjuster uses the information he gathers to determine:
- Whether the insurance policy covers the accident or injury in question
- If the insured caused the accident or the injury you sustained
- The extent of your injuries and damages caused by the insured’s actions or conduct
- The value of your damages the insurance company should pay to settle your insurance claim
Liability insurance coverage compensates accident victims and injured parties when the insured causes damages because of their negligence, mistakes, or wrongdoing. The policy must cover the specific accident or incident that led to the injury. The company is only liable for damages up to the policy limits if the insured is found liable.
Five Things You Need to Know When Dealing with an Insurance Adjuster in Los Angeles
Dealing with an insurance claims adjuster can be tricky. Their job is to pay you as little as possible for your claim if they cannot find a way to deny your claim entirely. Therefore, there are some things to keep in mind when dealing with an insurance adjuster.
1. The Adjuster Does Not Work for You
A claims adjuster may try to be your “friend” during the claims process. However, the insurance adjuster does not work for you. His job is to protect the insurance company’s best interest.
Therefore, the claims adjuster tries to limit the company’s liability for your damages. In other words, an adjuster will pay you as little as possible to get you to sign a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement releases the insurance company, at-fault party, and all other parties from liability for damages.
When you sign a settlement agreement, you cannot demand more money for your claim. Even if you discover that you have additional injuries or damages, you cannot sue the person who caused your injury for additional compensation.
2. Your Statements to a Claims Adjuster Could Hurt Your Chance of Recovery
The claims adjuster tries to get you to say something the insurance company could use against you to lower the value of your claim or deny your insurance claim. Therefore, it is never in your best interest to agree to a written or recorded statement without first talking to a personal injury attorney.
Likewise, do not sign a medical records release without talking to a lawyer. The release you sign might give the insurance company access to your entire medical history instead of the medical records related to the accident injury.
3. Claims Adjusters Do Not Tell You the Actual Value of Damages
Most accident victims understand they are entitled to economic damages for their medical bills and lost wages. However, they may not understand that they can receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and other financial losses.
Furthermore, they may also be entitled to compensation for future lost wages, long-term nursing care, diminished earning potential, and other damages related to permanent impairments and disabilities.
Additionally, injured parties may receive compensation for their non-economic damages or “pain and suffering” damages. These damages include emotional suffering, physical pain, mental trauma, diminished quality of life, and permanent impairments.
The value of non-economic damages can be substantial. However, insurance adjusters undervalue these damages. Without a lawyer, you might not realize how much your personal injury claim is worth.
4. An Insurance Adjuster Might Blame You for Causing Your Injury
Insurance adjusters use California’s comparative negligence laws to undervalue claims. Comparative negligence allows a court to decrease an injured party’s compensation by their percentage of fault for causing their injuries.
Therefore, the insurance adjuster may try to unfairly blame you for contributing to the cause of the accident. The adjuster may use statements you make to shift some of the blame to you, even though you had nothing to do with the cause of the accident.
5. Initial Settlement Offers Are Generally Not in Your Best Interest
Insurance adjusters know that you need money to pay living expenses and medical bills after an accident or injury. They use your financial hardship to settle a claim quickly for less than the claim is worth. Most initial settlement offers are lower than the value of your claim.
You are not required to accept an initial settlement offer. However, unless the insurance company pays the full policy limits, it is trying to save money by offering a quick settlement before you consult with a lawyer about your personal injury case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
Our law firm can help you fight for the compensation you deserve after an injury or accident. You do not have to deal with the insurance adjuster alone. Call us at (877) 300-4535 now for a free case evaluation from an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney.