An insurance adjuster is a representative of an insurance company. Their job is to process insurance claims. Realistically, to “process” your claim means to deny it or minimize its value. An experienced personal injury lawyer can negotiate your claim for you and fight for your legal rights.
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Insurance Adjusters Work for Insurance Companies – Not You
Insurance companies are businesses, and insurance adjusters represent the insurance companies. The less money the insurance company pays in claims, the more money it gets to keep as profit. Because their main goal is to make profits, insurance adjusters are trained to undervalue and deny claims as often as possible.
You should keep this in mind when dealing with an adjuster. They may act friendly, but remember their primary objective.
Insurance Adjuster Strategies Used to Undervalue Claims
The following is a list of tactics insurance adjusters use to deny or minimize personal injury claims.
Using Comparative Fault Against You
Under California’s pure comparative negligence rule, when two or more parties are at fault for an injury accident, the court will apportion damages by assigning each party a percentage of fault. Accordingly, plaintiffs can still recover damages in CA, even if they share responsibility for the accident.
For example, if you were 30 percent at fault for the accident, the court would subtract 30 percent from your damages, leaving you with 70 percent. The insurance company will try to use this against you.
Monitoring Your Social Media Accounts
The insurance company can use the content of your social media accounts against you if they can access them.
Take the following precautions:
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
- Update your privacy settings.
- Don’t talk about your accident on social media.
- Don’t upload any photos, even old ones, that make you look healthy. Uploading a year-old photo of you dancing at a party could damage your claim.
- Ask your friends not to talk about your accident online.
Your best bet is to suspend your social media account until your claim is resolved.
Hiring a Private Detective
This is likely to happen only if your claim is sizable. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth it since private detectives are expensive. However, if your claim is large, don’t underestimate the lengths to which the insurance company will go to try to refute your claim.
Issuing You a Partial Compensation Check
This tactic is challenging to handle, especially if you are experiencing financial difficulty. The trick is to send you a check for a small amount of money, far less than the amount you are demanding.
If you cash it, thinking it is a partial settlement, a court may decide that cashing the check constituted acceptance of the amount as a complete and final settlement. This is especially likely if the back of the check says something like “Full settlement.”
Claiming Your Injury Predated the Accident
For example, if you hurt your back, the insurance company might claim that your back problems are chronic or caused by a long-ago injury.
Misrepresenting the Terms of the Insurance Policy
If the insurance policy is written in legalese, the insurance company might falsely claim that their policy doesn’t cover your injuries. It is illegal for them to do this, but some will try it if you don’t have a lawyer looking out for you.
Recording an Interview With You
Never agree to give a recorded statement to the insurance company outside the presence of your lawyer. They will ask you difficult questions and use your answers against you.
The insurance company might simply ignore your demand letter and your other attempts to contact them, waiting for the statute of limitations deadline to expire. In California, you usually have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, your claim will become worthless immediately. The insurance company won’t try this if you have a lawyer.
Ignoring Future Damages
If your injuries are long-term or permanent, you might have many years of medical treatment ahead of you. You might also be unable to return to your old job, resulting in lost wages and diminished earning capacity. If you ignore these future damages, the insurance company will ignore them too.
Undervaluing Non-Economic Damages
How do you place an economic value on pain? The insurance company might take advantage of the subjectivity of valuing intangible damages such as mental anguish or pain and suffering. In court, pain and suffering damages often amount to more than 50 percent of a personal injury award.
Smooth-Talking You Into Representing Yourself
This would be your worst mistake of all. A lawyer can warn you about all the tactics listed above. However, if you don’t speak to an attorney, they can’t warn you about anything.
Let a San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer Handle the Insurance Adjuster While You Focus on Recovering
An experienced San Diego personal injury attorney knows how to handle insurance adjusters because they have years of experience doing it. Meanwhile, if you are injured, you need to focus on regaining your health, not fending off the endless tricks of an insurance adjuster. Contact an experienced lawyer at Mission Personal Injury Lawyers as soon as you can. Call us at (619) 777-5555.