Claims adjusters are hired by insurance companies to evaluate your insurance claim, and are responsible for deciding whether the company must pay your claim—and if so, how much. After filing a personal injury claim, you may come to be “close” with your claims adjuster.
Unfortunately, claims adjusters are generally less interested in your well-being and recovery as they are in securing the maximum profit for their company. Claims adjusters are trained by insurance companies to find ways to undermine your insurance claim, and may even receive extra compensation if they manage to settle your personal injury case for the lowest amount possible.
It’s important to keep their driving motivations in mind when interacting with claims adjusters, who may feign sympathy and make false promises. By demonstrating to a claims adjuster that you are careful, determined, and quite aware of how much your claim is worth, you are more likely to succeed in securing fair compensation.
When dealing with your claims adjuster, it’s important to be very careful of the things you say and do, and to remain wary of the tactics an adjuster may use to damage your personal injury case. Some of the most common tactics include:
Convincing you to accept an unfair settlement. Insurance adjusters are evaluated on how little of their company’s money they spend on settlements, how quickly they settle claims, and whether they can personally settle a claim without involving supervisors or lawyers. For this reason, they are likely to attempt to convince you to accept a quick settlement that is much smaller than you deserve. Once you accept such a settlement, you could waive your right to sue for additional compensation in the future. Never accept a settlement offer from a claims adjuster without first consulting with an attorney, who can help you understand the true value of your claim.
Denying fault. Your claims adjuster may try to deny liability entirely, arguing that their insured party was not at fault or that you yourself caused the accident. Don’t give them evidence that could be manipulated to support their argument—refrain from admitting or denying fault before speaking with your lawyer.
Convincing you to record a statement. An attorney may attempt to convince you to record a statement in order to catch something that could undermine your claim on tape. With a recorded statement, your adjuster may be able to manipulate even the most trivial and offhand comments to demonstrate your injuries are exaggerated, your memory is flawed, or you are fabricating events. Never agree to give a recorded statement—instead, courteously decline and tell your adjuster you’d prefer to speak with your lawyer first.
Watching you closely. As excessive as it may sound, there’s a good chance your claims adjuster will monitor your daily activities in an attempt to witness you doing something that demonstrates you are not injured—such as jogging or carrying groceries into your home. Your adjuster may even go so far as to film and photograph you, and use the video and photos against you in court.
Searching your social media accounts. Your claims adjuster will go through your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media pages in an effort to unearth a post that undermines your claim. It could be as recent as a photo you just posted of yourself on a rafting trip that indicates you are not seriously injured, or as far back as a comment about a back injury you made three years ago that suggests your injuries were preexisting. A great deal of what you say and do online can be used against you in surprising ways, so your best bet may be to deactivate your social media accounts until your personal injury claim is resolved.
Dissuade you from hiring a lawyer. Claims adjusters are very much aware of the huge impact a lawyer will have on the outcome of your personal injury claim. That’s why they may attempt to dissuade you from hiring an attorney, promising to handle and appraise your case fairly without one. Your adjuster may tell you a lawyer is unnecessary and expensive, knowing all the while that having an experienced lawyer on your side will drastically improve your odds of obtaining maximum compensation.
A competent North Carolina personal injury lawyer will know exactly what to do and say to obtain fair compensation on your behalf, having handled many manipulative adjusters and defended countless personal injury cases before. An attorney can help you understand your rights and full value of your claim. If it becomes necessary to go to court, your lawyer can defend your interests against insurance companies and secure much needed compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to recovery.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.