If you suffered injuries and losses in a car accident and are now dealing with an insurance company, you may have doubts as to how they will go about settling your claim. You want to make sure you receive a fair amount that will cover the financial responsibilities you have had to deal with since the accident. You may also be curious as to how they settle auto claims and how they come up with the final settlement amount.
Dealing With an Insurance Adjuster
To get started, the adjuster will want to understand exactly what happened. After listening to your story, they will proceed to conduct a thorough investigation into the facts of the accident, including your injuries and any other losses you may be claiming.
To verify the information you have given them, the adjuster will read the police report of the accident. They may also want to know a little more about who you are and whether you have ever filed a personal injury claim in the past. If there is any dirt to be found, they will dig until they find it.
It is important to keep in mind that the insurance adjuster does not work for you and may not have your best interests at heart.
The insurance adjuster will contact you or your personal injury attorney, introduce themselves and then proceed to ask for any documentation that relates to the claim. These may include medical bills, earning records or pay stubs, your tax returns, and proof of any personal property that you claim was damaged during the car accident.
Once armed with these documents, they will review them thoroughly to see if there is anything that is missing. They will also want to discover whether you had any injuries present prior to the accident or whether the amount of money you are claiming as lost wages is accurate.
It is not until they have had the time to go over all this information that they will be ready to make a settlement offer. They do not have the information they need to put a price on your personal injury claim before they make that decision.
How is the value of the settlement determined?
In order to attach a value to a claim, the insurance adjuster needs to consider a couple of important factors:
- Your chances of winning at trial if your case ends up in court
- How much a jury might award you
There are certain damages that are easy to calculate. These are those related to your health, such as your medical bills, and also those related to your wages and the income you have lost by not being able to work while you recover. For this, all the adjuster has to do is simply add up the totals.
Still, it is not so simple, because sometimes adjusters may study medical records and decide that they will only cover the most important procedures, like doctor’s visits and hospital stays. They will not cover physical therapies or visits to a chiropractor. This may result in a much lower settlement amount than what you were expecting.
Other damages are more difficult to calculate and include intangible items such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and others. A settlement amount for these items may be decided through the use of certain formulas that insurance adjusters use.
Receiving an Offer from the Insurance Company
Once the adjuster has done all the research and calculations as described, they will have a settlement value for your case. However, they will not start by offering you this amount but will initiate negotiations with a lowball offer. It is not uncommon to receive an amount equivalent to 40% of what you were expecting.
Get Legal Help from a Personal Injury Attorney
Receiving an offer from an insurance company that will not cover the expenses you have or are going to have is very disheartening. If you are dealing with them on your own, they know that you do not have the negotiating skills or legal knowledge that a car accident attorney has.
Insurance adjusters know that it is easier for them to get away with a low offer when a plaintiff represents themselves, which is something they would not attempt to do when an attorney is present. Atlanta car accident lawyer Henningsen recommends you do some research and find the perfect car accident attorney to represent you when dealing with insurance companies. If you are dealing with injuries, you need to concentrate on recovering your health and getting your life back. Your attorney will build a strong case on your behalf and fight for your rights so that you can get the compensation you deserve.