According to the National Safety Council, the average injury-causing accident costs the injured approximately $336,000 in lost wages, medical bills, mental health charges, and value of lost quality of life. In other words, injury accidents are incredibly expensive and burdensome. To help cover some of these bills and charges, those involved in accidents that resulted in a personal injury will want to seek compensation from their insurance company in the form of a claim. After all, you pay for insurance for a reason, right?
Unfortunately, the last thing your insurance company wants to do is fairly compensate you for your injuries. They want one thing and one thing only: to save as much money as possible. To help accomplish this goal, insurance companies use people called insurance adjusters — whose sole job is to minimize the impact of your claim.
What Are Insurance Adjusters?
Insurance adjusters (or “claims adjusters”) are people hired by your insurance company to investigate your insurance claim. Typically, insurance adjusters are used in personal injury claims and property damage claims, which are often the most expensive claims for your insurance company. Insurance adjusters are not your friend. In fact, they’re not on your side at all. Their job is to spend as little of their insurance company’s money as possible by settling your claim quickly and cheaply.
To accomplish this, some insurance adjusters result in cheap tricks and manipulative tactics. Below, we’ll cover some of the most common claim adjuster tricks we’ve seen our clients subjected to over the years. Remember, insurance adjusters aren’t there to help you. They’re there to help your insurance company. Always practice caution when talking to them.
5 Garden Variety Tricks Insurance Adjusters Use to Devalue Your Claim
1. Rushing You Into a Conversation
Insurance adjusters want to get a quick settlement. Often, they’ll use confusing and stressful moments to trap you into a conversation. For example, we’ve had clients that were approached by an insurance adjuster hours after their initial accident. During these initial conversations, they may try to offer a quick low-sum settlement in return for a release agreement. Don’t sign that form! It can take days, weeks, and even months to experience symptoms of injuries related to a car accident or other personal injury. They want to get to you before you notice any of those symptoms. Hold off on signing any legal paperwork or accepting any deals until you talk to your attorney.
2. Using Statements Against You
Insurance adjusters are savvy with wordplay. They often start simple, friendly conversations with you to lure out superficial details in the heat-of-the-moment. For example, your insurance adjuster may ask how you’re feeling. If you say “fine,” they may use that against you in court. Remember, you and your insurance company are at odds. They want to pay you as little as humanly possible. The insurance adjuster is never on your side, and you should exercise extreme caution when talking with them. In fact, it’s best to avoid any conversations with them until you discuss your case with your attorney.
3. Trying to Get You to Avoid a Lawyer
Insurance adjusters don’t like attorneys. They know that your attorney won’t let them get away with any tricks or sneaky legal maneuvers. So, it’s not uncommon for insurance adjusters to urge you to avoid lawyers and handle the claim alone. Research suggests that claim payouts are 40 percent higher for people who use attorneys instead of pursuing cases themselves. Insurance adjusters are well-aware of this fact. They don’t want you to get an attorney. After all, your lawyer is completely on your side, and they fight tooth-and-nail to get you the compensation you deserve. That’s something insurance adjusters certainly want to avoid.
4. Asking for Authorization to See Your Medical Records
Your insurance company needs to see your medical records to verify that your injuries are real. This is standard procedure. But insurance claims adjusters do not need to pour through your medical records to check for any past history of illness or injury. Unrelated past injuries can be used in an effort to discredit your current injury, so it’s important to discuss medical record authorization with your lawyer. Do not give your insurance adjuster carte blanche authorization to your medical records. Your attorney will help you navigate the legal landscape associated with medical record authorization to ensure that your insurance company can only see the medical records they absolutely need to verify.
5. Putting Surveillance On You
Did you know that your insurance adjuster can legally put surveillance on you? In fact, they can put surveillance on the outside of your home! Chances are, your doctor gave you specific orders on activities to avoid due to your injury. If your insurance adjuster catches you doing any of these activities, they may use that against you in court. We’ve even seen insurance adjusters attempt to discredit injury victims because they didn’t “seem” injured enough. If you’re in the middle of an insurance claim, there’s a good chance someone is watching your social media posts and possibly even monitoring your activity in public. Your attorney can help put a stop to this, and they can show up for you in court to discredit any malicious attempts to undermine your injury.
Your Attorney Will Fight For You Against Insurance Adjuster Trickery
Insurance adjusters live to serve your insurance company and save them money, and they use a variety of tricks and wordplay to accomplish that goal. You need someone in your corner. Personal injury lawyers are well-versed in the tricks insurance adjusters use to devalue your claim. Your attorney will fight to help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Were you recently involved in an accident that resulted in an injury? We may be able to help you. Contact us online or at 504-200-0000 for a free consultation. Don’t let insurance adjusters run you around in circles. At AKD, we have years of experience combatting insurance companies, and we’re always ready to fight for our clients.