An insurance adjuster is an insurance company employee responsible for:
- Visiting the scene of the property damage or injuries
- Speaking with the person who was injured and/or suffered property damage
- Assessing the monetary value of the damage
- Determining how much to pay the injured party/property owner in compensation
Why is it important to know what an insurance adjuster is? If you suffer losses after an accident or a natural disaster, an insurance adjuster will decide whether you get compensation. Be careful when interacting with these representatives; anything you say could discredit your claim.
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How Insurance Adjusters Handle Claims
Once you file a claim for damages, the insurance company will send an adjuster to investigate. The investigation may include:
- Inspecting the extent of your property damage and/or injuries
- Requesting documentation from involved parties, such as your doctor or the police
- Speaking to you, other involved parties, and field experts
- Reviewing the liable insurance policy itself
The adjuster will then examine all of the evidence they have collected, review the insurance company’s policies, and determine whether your claim is valid.
The Insurance Adjuster May Approve Your Claim with No Problems
If the insurance adjuster approves your claim, they will calculate how much to pay you based on:
- The severity of your injuries and/or property losses
- What type of policy and policy limits you have (or what the liable party has, if you are seeking compensation from the person who caused your losses)
- How much responsibility (if any) you bear for the damages
This last point is especially important if you pursue a personal injury claim. Comparative fault, as explained in Florida Statutes § 768.81, means that the amount of compensation you can collect decreases as your share of fault for the accident increases.
So, if your damages total $100,000, but you caused 10 percent of a collision, you would receive $90,000 instead of the full amount.
The Insurance Adjuster May Contest Your Claim
The insurance adjuster may try to reduce the amount the insurer has to pay you. They could do this by:
- Asking you to record a statement about the accident and picking out minor inconsistencies or omissions to use against you
- Interpreting evidence in a way that paints you in a bad light
- Using your public statements, social media posts, and other statements to refute your claim
- Asking to speak with you before you’ve explored your legal options
- Offering you a fast, convenient settlement that does not meet your current or projected needs
- Implying that their early, lowball offer is the only offer they will ever make, putting you under pressure to accept
How to Respond to an Insurance Adjuster
After an accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster from your own insurer and/or the liable party’s insurer. A good way to protect yourself in this situation is to do the following:
- Do not respond immediately; take some time to figure out exactly what you will say.
- Do not agree to give any recorded statements.
- If you have a lawyer, tell the adjuster to contact them and that you want all future communications to go through your representative.
- If you do not have a lawyer, tell the adjuster you are looking for counsel, and in the meantime, do not respond to any inquiries.
You Should Consider Legal Aid When Filing an Insurance Claim
By hiring an attorney, you get a protective layer between yourself and the insurance adjuster. In addition to managing all insurance-related matters, your representative will:
- Keep you informed about your rights, responsibilities, and how your case is progressing
- Tell you what the insurance adjuster can and cannot do (e.g., they can ask for a recorded statement, but they have no right to require one)
- Calculate your losses
- Meet with the adjuster as many times as required
- Respond to all of the adjuster’s requests for statements or documentation
- Search for evidence to establish the value of your claim independent of the insurance company’s investigation
- Negotiate with the adjuster and other insurance company representatives for a fair settlement amount
- File a lawsuit if an out-of-court settlement isn’t possible
Dealing with an insurance company alone, even if it is your own, can put your compensation in jeopardy. It is much safer and less stressful for you to let a lawyer manage your legal matters. This way, you can ask for the correct amount of compensation and present a strong claim.
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The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Deal with the Insurer for You
Now that you know what an insurance adjuster is, you should consider your legal options. Whether you suffered harm or experienced property damage, we’re ready to advocate for what you need.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today to get a free case assessment. We can take care of your legal affairs while you focus on getting better.