Whenever you file a car accident claim, an insurance claim adjuster will be assigned to your case. They’re also called claims representatives, independent claims analysts, and claims specialists, but they all have the same job. A car accident victim may feel intimidated by an insurance adjuster, but in reality, there’s no reason to. The more you understand your claim and the facts of what happened, the more of an advantage you have over them.
What does the insurance adjuster do exactly? Let’s take a look at their role: When you are in a car accident that is not your fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to process the claim and negotiate a settlement.
Independent Claims Adjusters
Sometimes, claims are not handled by the insurance company’s own insurance adjuster. Instead, the insurance company refers it out to an independent insurance adjuster because the insurance company doesn’t have a local claims office where the accident occurred.
Independent claims adjusters fill the same role as in-house claim adjusters, however, they may not be allowed to settle a case for as much money as an in-house adjuster.
In that situation, they may have to seek approval for a higher settlement figure from a supervisor who works in the insurance office. The negotiation process is no different than it would be if the adjuster was an employee of the insurance company.
When a claim is filed against a public entity, such as a large city or a state government, usually the claim will be handled by the entity’s own claims adjustment office. While the claims process is virtually the same with these adjusters as they are with private insurance adjusters, there is a key difference: if the claim ends up in court, the settlement is likely to be 10% to 25% less than if it was with a private entity. Why? Because judges and juries tend to be less free with public money and therefore are inclined to award less than they would in a private matter.
Attorneys vs. Insurance Adjusters
Sometimes, it’s not an insurance adjuster who handles a claim, but an attorney; this is common practice when a corporation is self-insured or when an insurance company doesn’t have a local claims office. Also, some government entities will have an assistant city, county, or state attorney who is assigned to handle accident claims.
It’s important to be aware that an insurance adjuster’s job performance is not measured by how generous they are with settlements. It’s quite the contrary. Instead, it’s about how little they settle claims for and how quickly they settle them. Most insurance adjusters are very busy with 50 to 100 claims on their plate at any given time and have little time to dedicate to any one claim.
So, you and your personal injury lawyer probably know a lot more about your claim than the adjuster does, which can be used to your negotiating advantage. To learn why this is, feel free to reach out to our firm to schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our legal team.