122 N. McDowell St. Charlotte, NC 28204

888-376-2889

9 Secrets the Insurance Adjuster Doesn’t Want You to Know

9 Secrets the Insurance Adjuster Doesn’t Want You to Know

After a serious car crash, you will likely work with an insurance adjuster on the road to receiving compensation and benefits. Unfortunately, the insurance company does not have your best interests in mind, which can sometimes make the process of filing a claim overwhelming.

The good news is that you don’t have to go into negotiations unprepared. In this article, we’ll share nine industry secrets to help you navigate this complicated process.

1. The Insurance Adjuster Is Not There to Help the Victim

Insurance companies are for-profit, and they make money by denying claims. The job of a claims adjuster is to close the claim as soon as possible, and pay you as little money as possible. With this in mind, you can more easily recognize and prepare for the tactics an insurance company will use to downplay your case. Remember: the insurance adjuster has the company’s interests in mind, not yours.

RELATED: Here’s How the Insurance Company Will Fight Your Personal Injury Claim

Let us help you.

SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION

2. You Don’t Have to Give an Insurance Adjuster a Statement Before Contacting a Lawyer

After a car accident, an insurance adjuster will want to collect a statement with your version of events. What they don’t want you to know, however, is that most lawyers recommend that you withhold from providing a statement before seeking legal counsel, since the insurance company will likely use your words against you. An insurance adjuster knows that the average person will have trouble navigating the legal landscape surrounding a case, and will use this to their advantage.

3. Any Statement You Give the Adjuster Will Most Likely Hurt Your Case

The sole purpose of a recorded statement is to provide the insurance company with evidence to use against you. Insurance adjusters are trained to look for anything that could potentially support a claim denial, including medications you’re taking, doctor visits, and how quickly you sought medical care following your accident or injury. They know how to ask questions in a way that skews the answers in the insurance company’s favor.

Keep this in mind if you are considering giving a statement before contacting legal counsel, and know that the outcome of this interview will affect whether or not you get the compensation you deserve.

4. The Insurance Company Will Look for Any Way to Use Your Pre-Existing Conditions and Medical History Against You

When the insurance adjuster takes your statement, they are looking for reasons to deny your claim. So, if you have a pre-existing condition, the insurance company could use this as a reason to deny your claim.

Even if your medical history has no bearing on the current situation, the insurance company can and will try to blame everything on the pre-existing condition.

RELATED: Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Personal Injury Claims?

5. The Adjuster Will Underestimate Your Pain and Suffering Damages, Which May Be Significant

After an accident or personal injury, one of the factors to consider is pain and suffering damages. These are different from hospital bills and other medical expenses, and refer to conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

The cost of these conditions is hard to pin down and depends largely on circumstances, and an insurance adjuster may take advantage of this subjectivity to severely underestimate your compensation. This is why the first offer an insurance company presents to you will often be far less than you deserve.

RELATED: How Do Pain and Suffering Damages Work in Personal Injury Claims?

6. The Adjuster Wants to Prevent You from Contacting a Lawyer Because They Know It Will Help Your Claim

It can be difficult to calculate exactly how much your case is worth, and when to turn down or accept an offer from the insurance company. Insurance companies are not legally required to disclose every benefit for which you qualify, and they rely on the fact that you will not know how to negotiate for a fair settlement. The job of a personal injury lawyer is to thoroughly understand the worth of your case, and to advocate for the compensation you deserve. Working with an experienced attorney can make all the difference when it comes to receiving a fair settlement.

7. Contacting an Attorney Will Never Hurt Your Chances of Getting the Compensation You Deserve

While negotiating a claim, an insurance adjuster may try to talk you out of contacting an attorney. For example, you may be asked to wait to seek legal counsel until you are presented with an offer.

What they will likely not tell you is that it actually costs more for the insurance company to handle your settlement if you are represented by an attorney. Consulting a lawyer poses no threat to your chances of receiving compensation. And unlike the insurance company, your lawyer will be your advocate, not your adversary.

8. The Adjuster’s First Offer is Rarely the Best Offer

The insurance adjuster’s job is to get to the lowest possible settlement, regardless of how well your expenses are covered. That means that if the insurance company offers you a payment, it will pressure you to accept a much smaller amount than you deserve. Oftentimes, you can increase the amount of compensation you receive by simply waiting out the insurance company, and not accepting the first offer they send your way.

RELATED: How Do I Know if the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer Is Fair?

9. A Lawyer Can Evaluate Your Case for Free

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident or personal injury is never easy. A free consultation with a lawyer can bring the details of your case into focus and shed light on the best possible settlement outcome. Call our offices today at 888-376-2889 or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule your free consultation with us. We’ll use this time to get to know you, learn about your case, and inform you about your legal options so you can go forward with confidence.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Contact Myers Law Firm

We are committed to continuing to serve our clients’ legal needs

Single Divider

We are able to meet with clients and hold consultations with prospective clients via telephone or video conference. If you need to contact us, please do not hesitate; we are happy to speak with you about your situation, your needs, and how we can help.

Schedule Your Consultation Now!

Type of Case (Select One)(Required)

Diminution in Value Claim

When a negligent driver causes a motor vehicle collision by wrecking another car, the innocent victims suffer many losses. One of these losses is a loss suffered by the owner of the vehicle: the loss in the value of the automobile. This claim is called a diminution in value claim and North Carolina law allows for compensation for the loss. For newer cars especially, these claims can be important. The negligent driver’s insurance company is not going to remind the owner/victim about this claim, so it must be brought to their attention.

 

What is the Claim?

The purpose of the claim is to replace what the car owner has lost. Under North Carolina law, the measure of damages in a diminution in value claim is the difference between the fair market value of the car immediately before the collision and the fair market value of the car immediately after the collision. The fair market value is determined by what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller.

Let us help you.

SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION

Why is This Necessary?

The rationale for the claim is that if there were two vehicles that were exactly the same in all respects (make, model, year, mileage, etc.), and one of the vehicles had been involved in a collision and repaired and the other had not, then a willing buyer is going to pay more for the car that has not been involved in the collision. Furthermore, under North Carolina law, if a car has been involved in a collision and repaired, and the cost of the repairs exceeds 25% of the fair market value at the time of the collision, then the owner must disclose the damage to a potential buyer or be subject to criminal penalties. This law only applies to cars that are five model years or less old. In addition to this criminal penalty, in my opinion if a seller of a car is asked by the potential buyer about prior damage and the seller commits fraud, then there could be civil penalties as well.

How is Fair Market Value Determined?

The fair market value should be determined by comparing the value of similar vehicles in the area with the current vehicle. This can be done through estimate websites (kbb.com or nada.com) or by talking with car dealerships about what value they would put on a car like the damaged car (without the damage of course) and the value they would put on the car with the damage. Sometimes, however, it will be necessary to employ an expert to do the comparisons and provide an opinion.

Under North Carolina law (N.C.G.S. 20-279.21(d1)), there is a designated procedure for an owner and an insurance company to request an arbitration-like procedure before going all the way to a trial. Under this procedure, the insurance company and the owner each hire an expert appraiser to determine the diminution in value suffered by the owner. These two experts get together and try to agree with each other. (This rarely happens because of the low value given to the claim by the insurance company expert due to the insurance company experts wanting to keep working for the insurance companies.) If they cannot agree, then the two experts appoint an umpire. The umpire reviews the basis for the opinions found by the two experts and either picks one or determines a value in between the two. The umpire cannot go above or below the two appraiser values. If either party is not happy with this procedure, they can then proceed to trial by notifying the other within 15 days.

 

Conclusion

When a negligent driver causes a collision, it is important that the innocent victims receive full compensation for all of the losses that are suffered. The diminution in value claim is often overlooked, but could be important to the owner of a vehicle. Insurance companies often give very low values for these claims, so it is important to be aware of the ability to hire an expert and to use the arbitration procedure allowed by North Carolina law before proceeding to trial.

References

Definitions, Article 1, Chapter 50, N.C. General Statutes. § 50-16.1A. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_50/GS_50-16.1A.pdf

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Contact Myers Law Firm

We are committed to continuing to serve our clients’ legal needs

Single Divider

We are able to meet with clients and hold consultations with prospective clients via telephone or video conference. If you need to contact us, please do not hesitate; we are happy to speak with you about your situation, your needs, and how we can help.

Schedule Your Consultation Now!

Type of Case (Select One)(Required)