The Psychology of the Average Insurance Adjuster
For most personal injury victims, one of the most unnerving parts of resolving their claim is working with an insurance adjuster. While some adjusters are friendly enough, their process is often shrouded in mystery. They rarely show their hand when it comes to figuring out what the insurance company should pay you, and when they present a settlement offer, they often make it seem non-negotiable. The whole process can be both intimidating and disheartening, especially when the offer is considerably less than you expected. Let’s demystify this part of the settlement process by pulling back the curtain on the psychology and motivations of insurance adjusters, so you have a better idea of who you’re dealing with.
The Insurance Adjuster Works for the Insurance Company, Not You
An adjuster often acts as though they are working in your best interests, but remember, the insurance company is signing their paychecks. The first priority of an adjuster is not getting you a fair settlement, but rather keeping the insurance company’s costs as low as possible. Insurance companies are in business to make money, so they don’t want to pay out any more than they have to—even if you’re rightfully entitled to it.
At the same time, the insurance adjuster is walking a fine line in calculating your settlement—because the one thing the insurance company does NOT want is to be sued. If the case goes to court, your settlement will probably be higher, and the insurance company stands to lose a lot more money than if they settle with you quickly and directly. So the insurance adjuster’s job is basically to calculate the settlement with the insurance company’s interests at heart, offer you the lowest amount they believe you’ll accept, and convince you that’s the full amount you’re entitled to receive—all hopefully without triggering a lawsuit.
Why The Adjuster’s Settlement Offer Is Usually Low
When calculating a settlement offer, the insurance adjuster is looking at the same data your attorney is, including the actual and estimated costs of your care, lost wages, etc. Damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc. are less tangible and more subjective, and so this is where the adjuster is more likely to “low-ball” the offer. The adjuster will also evaluate the strength of your claim, especially with regard to “comparative fault.” If there is evidence that you were at least partly at fault for the accident, the adjuster may offer a lower settlement because you may have a ore difficult time proving your claim in court.
Contact an Attorney for Help Negotiating Today
Once you accept an insurance company’s settlement offer, the case is considered closed–and if the settlement is less than the amount needed to make you whole, you won’t have another chance to ask for more. The insurance adjuster is not your enemy, but neither should you take their word as final when an offer is made. Always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting an insurance settlement–especially with the first offer. A good attorney knows where the adjuster is cutting corners in determining your settlement and can almost always get the insurance company to pay more–whether through negotiating or taking it to court.
At the McCraw Law Group, our attorneys have plenty of experience dealing with insurance companies. We know how insurance adjusters think, and we know how to overcome their objections to get you the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.