If you have been injured in an accident, it is likely that you will have to interact with an insurance adjuster at some point in the claims process. For example, say you were in a car accident in Bakersfield, and another driver was at fault. The insurance company of the at-fault driver in your motor vehicle accident would try and interact with you and offer a settlement.
At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our personal injury attorneys have experience in negotiating with opposing insurance companies. We can tell you that they will almost always offer you an initial settlement that is lower than your case deserves. Before accepting an insurance adjusters lowball offer, speak with Mickey Fine, so he can help you through the claims process and work to obtain a settlement that you deserve.
What Does an Insurance Adjuster Do?
Insurance adjusters are assigned to personal injury cases to investigate the facts and evidence of the accident. Based on what they find, they then determine how much they think that that particular case is worth. An insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you. Their main goal is to keep a personal injury settlement as low as possible so the insurance company he/she works for can remain profitable.
Insurance adjusters not only want to settle with personal injury victims for as little as possible, but they also set out to do their best in avoiding a lawsuit. If a personal injury case cannot settle out of court, the injured individual will usually file a civil lawsuit. This will then shift the decision-making responsibilities unto a third party judge and jury who will decide what damages are appropriate. This is high-risk for the insurance company because the monetary award due to the injured party usually ends up being much more substantial at this stage.
How Does an Insurance Adjuster Decide How Much My Claim is Worth?
In general, the job of an insurance adjuster is to get the injured party to accept the lowest settlement offer possible. In general, insurance adjusters will set a maximum dollar figure of how much they are willing to pay and then offer the injured party 25%-50% under that figure. This, in turn, allows them room to negotiate a payout during settlement negotiations.
When deciding a settlement figure in a personal injury case, an insurance adjuster will usually use the same metrics as a jury would when deciding which damages are appropriate. They will usually examine:
- Current and future medical bills and costs associated with the injury
- Lost income and wage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and suffering
Damages such as costs for actual expenses and losses are relatively straightforward and easy to determine. Pain and suffering and other intangible damages can be more difficult to quantify.
Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
Quantifying someone else’s pain and suffering is very subjective, insurance adjusters will often resort to a formula which will help them determine an amount to be owed. This could be in the form of a per diem, in which the injured person is paid a set figure for each day of suffering they endure. It could also be calculated with a pain multiplier system in which the insurance company multiplies the coast of the injured person’s medical bills times a set number. This number is often very low.
There are two additional factors that insurance adjusters consider when determining a settlement: the claimant’s policy limits and the strength of their case.
Claimants Policy Limits
Insurance companies will never pay out more than the maximum amount of an insurance policy. For example, if a driver bought $25,000 in liability insurance, the maximum payout the insurance company will issue will be $25,000 in legal fees and compensation.
The Strength of a Claimants Case
If a claimant has a solid case, the insurance adjuster is much more likely to offer a more substantial settlement because the claimant has a good chance at winning their case in court. However, if a case has a lot of grey areas and there is a lot left up to question, the offer may be lower because the chances of the case winning in court is not as high.
Mickey Fine, A Personal Injury Lawyer Who Will Protect You From Lowball Insurance Settlements
Now that you are aware of how insurance adjusters work, you can use this information to serve as extra motivation to do the right thing: call Mickey Fine. Hiring Mickey Fine to assist you through your personal injury claim will let the insurance company know that you are serious about your rights and are willing to go to court if you are not offered a fair settlement. Mickey Fine will be able to determine what your case should reasonably settle for and work hard to obtain that number. Contact us today, the call is free.