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Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters After an Injury in Florida

Personal Injury

Let’s say you’ve just suffered a personal injury in Florida. This can range from an automobile accident to a dog bite or from breaking a leg on an uneven staircase to a “slip and fall” in a big box store. All of these incidents may result in you being contacted by an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are also called claims adjusters, claims administrators, and similar titles.

Most people are familiar with insurance adjusters in the context of a vehicle accident. That said, it’s important to note that an insurance company can avoid defending a personal injury lawsuit by working with you on a personal injury claim via an insurance adjuster. Therefore, knowing how to deal with an insurance adjuster is a critical part of the insurance claims process. Insurance adjusters are trained negotiators. Negotiating is a skill, and people who are not trained in negotiation may not realize they are being negotiated out of something to which they are or may be entitled. 

A claims adjuster may try to dominate the negotiation with tactics they are professionally trained to use against you. For instance, an adjuster might:

  • Say that he has no ability to negotiate a higher number
  • Make an initial offer far below what he is authorized to make
  • Say that everything has to be approved by someone with more authority

An insurance adjuster might also use actions rather than words to show that he or she will not negotiate. In this case, the insurance adjuster might:

  • Fail to return your emails, texts or phone calls
  • Walk out of a meeting
  • Cut off any conversation that references the settlement price 

Any of the above words or actions are designed to make you think that you don’t have options. However, the truth is that everything is negotiable, and the insurance adjuster knows that from the beginning. If you work with the claims adjuster from a position of strength and communicate that you know that everything is negotiable, then you are more likely to get a fair settlement. Remember that the insurance company probably doesn’t want to go to trial over your claim. The results of a trial are uncertain, which most insurance companies don’t want to risk. Additionally, most insurance companies do not want to deal with the cost of litigation and the amount of time required to prepare for trial.

Tips For Dealing With An Insurance Adjuster

Here are a number of tips to keep in mind when dealing with an insurance adjuster:

  • Regardless of the situation, never admit fault. Fault is used to determine who is liable and may undermine your claim. Moreover, you should be aware that sometimes apologizing, speculating, and talking about things that happened beforehand (for example, making a comment after a car accident that “he just came out of nowhere”) can all sometimes be construed as admitting fault for the accident or injury. 
  • Keep your comments to a minimum. While you must provide truthful and factual answers to the insurance adjuster, do not speculate or guess, and do not exaggerate any information. 
  • Often, an insurance adjuster will seem to be sympathetic and friendly. But remember, they are trained to be this way. It’s their job to protect their company, not you. In a real sense, you are in adversarial roles. Do not get too familiar or friendly. You should be all business.
  • Keep a record of your communications with the insurance adjuster. Log names, numbers, dates, and the substance of the communications you have had. By doing this, you’ll have a reference should anyone challenge your claims information. 
  • If you’re being asked to sign a medical form or release, read it very carefully before signing. Sometimes, the adjuster wants access to your full medical history to determine whether you had a pre-existing medical issue that would allow the insurance company to dispute whether your injury is old or new. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you review and understand whether you should sign such forms or releases. 
  • If you decide to accept a settlement and forgo your right to a lawsuit, you will be asked to sign a settlement agreement. Such a document typically recites that you waive your right to any additional compensation, even if there are unexpected future expenses related to the accident or injury. Again, it’s important for legal counsel to review a settlement agreement on your behalf. 
  • Don’t be forced into giving a recorded statement. You always have the right to talk to an attorney first before giving a statement or anything else to a claims adjuster. 
  • Choose your own doctor. Insurance companies will try to tell you that you have to see an insurance company-approved doctor, but in most cases, you can see your own physician.
  • Watch out for surveillance. The insurance company will, in many cases, be looking for evidence that your accident was real and not staged. They also want to be sure that your injuries are what you claim they are. This may involve them conducting surveillance on your social media or speaking to your family, neighbors or work associates. So, for example, if you claim that your slip and fall in the hardware store caused a compressed spinal disc, and a week later you’re on the neighborhood basketball court doing jump shots, the insurance company is likely to deny or significantly reduce your claim.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney

An adjuster will evaluate the value of your claims based on your medical expenses, property damage if any, lost wages, other out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. However, the true cost of the accident will generally be higher than the sum of those items.  At Searcy Denney, we understand how a fair settlement value should be calculated. We can also help you deal with the numerous challenges and obstacles that victims face in the claims process, including disputes over fault, claims processing delays, and lowball settlement offers. Contact us today at 800-780-8607 to help you with your personal injury matter. 

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