Talking with insurance representatives after suffering a serious injury is often the most time-consuming and frustrating part of any personal injury claim. Even if you have significant evidence proving someone else is at fault for the harm you sustained, getting the money you deserve from their insurance provider can be difficult for anyone to manage alone.
Hiring a seasoned personal injury lawyer will give you the best chance of success in insurance negotiations. That said, here are some top questions to ask an insurance adjuster during your injury case that can help you enforce your rights.
What Authority Do You Have as an Adjuster?
Asking an insurance adjuster what “authority” they have doesn’t mean asking them whether they’re qualified to do their job or whether they’re allowed to talk to you. Instead, it means asking what kind of leeway their employer has given them personally to settle your specific case—in other words, the maximum amount of money they’re allowed to offer you. Although the adjuster won’t necessarily tell you the whole truth about their “authority” over the case, any information you get in response to this question can be useful in figuring out how the insurance company values your claim.
What “Reserve” Has Your Employer Set Aside for My Claim?
This is different from asking about how much an individual adjuster can offer you for your claim. Instead, the “reserve” is the total amount of money the insurance company has set aside specifically for your claim, and it’s almost always higher than the adjuster’s authority.
For example, if an insurance adjuster tells you they have the authority to offer you $20,000 at most, their employer’s reserve for your case might be $30,000. This means you’d lose out on $10,000 if you don’t pursue your claim more aggressively with help from legal counsel. While the adjuster is unlikely to tell you this number straight up, asking the question tells them that you know what you’re talking about and won’t accept a lowball offer.
What Kind of History Do You Have with Cases Like This?
This question can and usually should take a few different forms. For example, you should ask what results this insurance company has gotten at trials for cases like yours. You should also ask how much they’ve paid out in the past for specific types of losses like physical pain and suffering. Aside from getting key information about what to expect from the insurance company, implying that you’re willing to chase your claim all the way to civil court can make an adjuster more willing to negotiate fairly.
Is Your Policyholder Completely at Fault for the Accident?
This might seem like a simple question, but it can be a vital one to ask an insurance adjuster during your injury case. If there’s any question about who’s to blame for a particular accident, the adjuster will likely argue as if they’re not accepting any liability for your losses. If you can get an adjuster to admit their policyholder is to blame, that puts you in a stronger position in asking how much they will pay you for their policyholder’s mistake.
Why Do You Want a Recorded Statement?
You should always be wary whenever an insurance adjuster asks you to make a recorded statement about anything. No matter what the adjuster says, it’s never an outright requirement to make a verbal statement to them rather than one in writing. As the knowledgeable attorneys at Ostroff Injury Law can attest, a request for a recorded statement is often a trick to get you to accidentally harm your own case. It is always better to consult a skilled lawyer before making any statements to an insurance adjuster.