One of the main benefits in hiring a skilled North Carolina auto accident attorney, is that they have experience dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters. However, if for any reason you do need to speak with an insurance adjuster on your own, it’s important to know what they actually do and how to deal with them. Insurance representatives are responsible for investigating accident claims, and to try to establish settlements with the injured parties. The initial conversation will usually consist of the insurance adjuster asking you questions pertaining to the accident. They also will ask about your driving history and your injuries. Remember, that you are not required to give an official statement immediately. You can always ask for more time, so that you may gather medical and police reports to get a clearer view of your situation. You may also want to retain the services of a professional auto accident attorney before you speak to the insurance company. Our Charlotte injury attorneys at Ted A. Greve and Associates, will help you to handle your legal claim needs.
There are three main types of insurance adjusters, claim adjusters, public adjusters, and independent adjusters. Claim adjusters are individuals that work for the insurance company as full-time employees. Their main work function is to investigate and get the details of accidents documented. They also negotiate with the victims to reach settlement agreements. Public adjusters are individuals that work independently from the insurance company. Any member of the public can secure their investigation services as freelance work. Independent adjusters are individuals that work for themselves, but they do freelance services for insurance companies or to public government agencies. No matter each one’s title, they all work to investigate accidents and decipher liability. After they establish liability they then determine the appropriate level of compensation for the accident. They will negotiate with the victim in hopes of settling the claim.
Typically, your first contact with an insurance adjuster will be via the telephone. The adjuster will most likely ask for an official statement about the accident. Do not feel like you must make an immediate statement. Consulting a skilled auto attorney before speaking with an adjuster or waiting for your medical records may be the right decision. Just politely let the adjuster know that you require more time to make an official statement about the accident. Always keep in mind, that you are bound by what you say, so take your time when answering questions. When you are ready to make a statement, provide the names of your doctors and you may want to release your medical records to them. During this time, the discussion of your vehicle repair will take place. Let the insurance adjuster know that you will take your automobile to the shop that you are comfortable with. Do not let the insurance adjuster push you into using one of their mechanics. Also request that only original parts and equipment manufactured (OEM) parts be used to fix your car. Substitute parts are usually of questionable quality. At the end of your adjuster meeting, be sure to write down your claim number and request a hard copy document confirming the initial meeting and claim opening.
During the next period of time after your initial adjuster meeting, keep the insurance adjuster up to date on your claim. Give the adjuster your medical updates and information about the condition of your automobile. Send copies of all your new medical bills, repair bills and out of pocket receipts. Having a strong paper trail is always a good idea with these type of situations. Keeping documentation organized, and continuing to send updates keeps your case in the forefront of the adjuster’s caseload. Also having all the documentation and sending them copies gives a realistic basis for the settlement request and increases your chance of getting a higher pay out.
One of the main parts of a claim adjuster’s job is to settle claims as quickly as possible in favor of their employer or client. Most of these adjusters deal with multiple new cases each week, making for a huge workload. For this exact reason, do not feel discouraged that you often times will seem to know more about your own accident then the adjuster does. Use this factor to your advantage. While you and your family have been dealing with the injuries and details of your specific case for months, the insurance adjuster may have only spent a couple hours reviewing your claim. The documentation that you have kept organized will help you present a valid negotiation. The adjuster has specific limits in his or her authority in the settlement process. Before the adjuster can offer a settlement amount, the insurance company gives the adjuster a set amount of money to offer. The higher adjuster limits are given to the senior adjusters. However, all adjusters are usually not authorized to offer any amount over their set limit. Typically, the adjuster’s first offer will fall towards the lower end of their authorized maximum amount. So use the first offer given as an indicator of what the adjuster’s allowed range for the settlement will be. If the adjuster decides to offer an amount higher than what they were initially authorized, they will more than likely have to consult their manager or supervisor. In this case, be sure to write down the follow-up date. If you have not heard anything back from the insurance adjuster by the follow-up date, send a reminder letter.
As one can see, dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters can be a complex and time consuming process. Let one of our skilled auto accident attorneys help you through this difficult situation. The professional legal team at Ted A. Greve and Associates, have the knowledge and resources to stand up against insurance companies. We take pride in our work and will help get you the settlement you deserve for your injuries. Please call our office today for a free consultation and to answer any of your legal claim questions.