An insurance adjuster is an employee of an insurance company responsible for investigating your claim and determining the amount of compensation that the company can pay you after an accident. If you are involved in a negligent car accident in Las Vegas, you must file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. This means that you will have to deal with insurance claim adjusters at one point during your process of seeking compensation.
At first glance, compensation by an insurance company may look straightforward when you have severe injuries from the accident. However, you need to know that insurance adjusters will try their best to downplay your claim so that the company can give a low payout. Insurance adjusters do not work in your favor, and dealing with them may be stressful.
Therefore, seeking legal guidance as soon as the adjuster contacts you is crucial. At G. Dallas Horton & Associates, we have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies and adjusters to ensure that they give you your rightful compensation. If you or your loved one battles a car accident claim in Las Vegas, NV, we invite you to contact us.
Role of Insurance Adjusters in Car Accident Claims
If you are involved in a car accident in Las Vegas, you will be dealing with more than just the injuries that resulted from the accident. Victims of car accidents in Las Vegas can recover compensation for their injuries by seeking an out-of-court settlement or filing a car accident claim in civil court. Either way, you will need to deal with the insurance companies responsible for reimbursing you for your injuries. One of the most stressful parts of recovering compensation from the accident is dealing with insurance adjusters.
An insurance adjuster is often a representative of the insurance company. The claim adjusters apply their knowledge and skills to determine the amount you owe and the insurance payouts you deserve. An insurance adjuster can be either an employee or an independent adjuster where insurance companies can outsource their services.
Each driver on the roads in Las Vegas must have minimum vehicle insurance. Therefore, you will be dealing with the driver's insurance company at fault for the accident. If an uninsured driver hits you, you must claim compensation from your insurance provider. Regardless of the company you are dealing with, insurance adjusters do not have your best interests. The role of the insurance adjuster is as follows:
- Verifying that insurance coverage applies to your loss. The insurance adjuster determines whether you are eligible for compensation by the particular company.
- Evaluation of your claim. After the accident, the insurance company will send the adjuster to investigate the accident and assess the basis of your claim. Most insurance companies initiate contact with victims immediately after an accident. This ensures that you do not have enough time to seek legal guidance.
- Determine liability for the accident. Since the insurance company has limited information on the accident, the claim adjuster is tasked with investigating different aspects of the accident to determine liability. In a car accident claim, compensation is determined based on liability for the accident. Often, could recover compensation equal to the percentage of fault for the other party.
- Assess and inspect your damages. By determining the level of your injuries and losses, the insurance company will be able to come up with a settlement offer.
- Obtain information from you. Insurance claim adjusters are responsible for listening to your side of the story regarding the accident. The adjuster I trained to pick up on any information you provide to come up with a settlement that does not put the insurance company at a loss. The primary role of the claim adjuster is to protect t interests of the insurance company. Therefore, you should be very careful when dealing with them.
Since insurance adjusters deal with small reserve accounts, the companies expect them to keep the settlement for the car accident claim as low as possible. The adjuster will find any means to pressure you to accept a lower payment than what you deserve. Whether you are dealing with your insurance company or that of the negligent party in the accident, the insurance adjusters do not have your best interests.
Some of the comments or questions they ask may seem normal, but they aim to make you admit to liability for the accident. The following are tactics that the insurance adjuster could employ to pressure you into a settlement:
1. Low Offers
During a negotiation, the person obliged to pay will certainly not start on the high end. If you settle your car accident claim out of court, you should expect a low offer. A car accident can be a devastating experience that leaves you vulnerable. Insurance adjusters will try to prey on that vulnerability by offering a low amount with the home that you will accept and have the matter resolved. Regardless of your situation, it would be best if you never accepted the initial offer from the insurance company.
Your car accident attorney can help you understand the different factors of your case and estimate the settlement amount that would be fair given your injuries and losses. When quoting the amount you can accept from the insurance company, always start high. This is because the negotiations will only bring the amount lower. Moving with the pressure from the insurance company could result in you receiving a low settlement that cannot cover your losses.
Another familiar tactic insurance adjusters use when negotiating a car accident claim is stalling. Delaying the settlement and continuing to negotiate may wear you out. Most car accidents result in severe injuries and trauma. The insurance companies slow the case so that you can give up on the negotiations, succumb to their pressure and accept their offer.
The insurance company stalls your case by claiming to have lost the paperwork for your claim. Also, they could transfer you to different company departments where you need to retell the story and relive the ordeal. Although dealing with these situations can be very frustrating, you should not fall for these tricks. Instead, it would help if you learned to be resilient and aggressive. Also, you should hire a car accident attorney to push the insurance company.
3. Refusal to Pay your Medical Bills
Insurance companies will want to downplay your injuries and claim that you exaggerate the situation. Also, the adjuster could argue that the damages for which you claim compensation are not a result of the accident. Often, the medical bills make a significant portion of the compensation you recover from a car accident lawsuit in Nevada.
If you do not seek treatment immediately after the accident, the insurance adjuster could claim that your injuries are not severe and not worth compensation. Even when you do not have physical wounds, it is crucial to seek medical care. This helps detect and document the injuries. If you discover other injuries long after the accident, the insurance company will not want to compensate you.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Adjusters during your Claim Process in Nevada
You can expect a call from an insurance adjuster or another insurance company representative in the hours following a car accident. One of the most important things you must remember when dealing with the claim adjusters is that they are not on your side, and any information you give them could be used against you. The following are some of the tips you can consider when dealing with insurance adjusters in Nevada:
Understand the Goal of the Insurance Company Before
You must understand the insurance company's aim when contacting you after your accident. Also, it would be best if you gauged your first interaction with the claim adjuster to ensure that they are not trying to trap you. Remember that the adjuster is an insurance company employee and is not after protecting your interests. Understanding their contact goal will help you know how to act to avoid compromising your case.
Never Admit Fault for an Accident
Compensation in a car accident claim is often based on liability for the accident. The party with a higher percentage of fault for the accident will be responsible for the damages suffered by the accident victims. Even when you believe that you were partially at fault for the accident, you should never disclose this fact to the insurance adjuster. It would be best to let the insurance company determine your role in the accident. If your case goes to court, the court will decide whether you are partially to blame for the accident.
Apologizing to other victims or drivers may be viewed as an admission of fault and could significantly impact your ability to recover compensation from the insurance company.
Go into the Negotiations with Evidence to Support your Claim
A successful car accident claim must be accompanied by enough evidence to prove that you were involved in the accident and suffered injuries or losses. Before you start negotiating with the insurance company or dealing with the insurance adjusters, it is essential to have all the evidence needed to back your claim. This will ensure that you can recover the compensation you seek.
Types of evidence that are crucial when you pursue a car accident claim include:
Photographs and Videos
Anything you say to the insurance adjusters should be backed up by evidence. Photos or videos can be significant evidence in your claim and are more credible than witness testimonies. After the accident, you can take photos of the accident scene and the damage done to the vehicles. Also, you can seek to obtain surveillance videos that may have captured the accident. If you suffered physical injuries from the accident, you can take pictures of the damage and present them to the insurance company through their adjuster.
Since your medical bills make up for a high percentage of your car accident claim damages, you need to have your medical records when you speak with the insurance adjuster. If anyone asks about your injuries, you should ask them to wait for the official report from your doctor when your treatment is complete. Even when you don't feel any pain following the accident, it would be best to visit your doctor for a checkup.
Due to the adrenaline rush and shock associated with the accident, you may fail to experience pain from your injuries. Your doctor may be able to detect injuries that could arise in the future. As you undergo treatment, ensure that the details of your diagnosis and treatments are recorded. When you deal with the insurance adjuster, having your medical records means that they cannot downplay your injuries.
Calling the police officers to the accident scene should be one of the things you do if you are involved in a car accident. On arrival at the scene, the police officers will ask you questions about your version of the accident. It is essential always to provide facts and never give your opinion or speculation. After interviewing the parties involved in the accident, they will write a report which acts as an objective view on the facts of the crash.
When insurance adjusters contact you to negotiate on a settlement in your claim, you should be armed with the police report since it is a neutral piece of evidence. In the report, officers may have indicated who they think is responsible for the accident.
Decline to Give a Recorded Statement
Immediately the insurance adjuster contacts you to introduce themselves, make it clear that you cannot discuss any details of the crime on the phone. There are several reasons why you should limit phone conversations with the insurance company. Insurance adjusters can call frequently and record the calls to compare the information you provide and find inconsistencies, and any recorded data can be used to deny your claim.
Even when the claim adjuster tries to convince you that recording your conversation is to protect you, you should never agree to it. You do not have a legal obligation to sign any documents or provide a recorded statement to an insurance company. A recorded statement cannot be reverted even when you made it out of confusion.
Know All your Damages
Knowing the damages you have suffered after an accident is the biggest secret to dealing with insurance companies and settling your claim. Insurance adjusters will want to pay your claim in a hurry, even before you clearly understand your case is worth it. Many car accident victims know that they can be compensated for their medical expenses and vehicle damage. However, the damages you suffer from a car accident go far beyond the cost of treating your injuries.
Depending on the seriousness of your accident, the damages will go beyond the amount you spend to treat your injuries. You can also recover compensation for:
- Lost Wages. Lost wages are the amount of money you lose in income for failing to go to work following the accident. You can be compensated if you can prove that you missed work and lost income from regular pay, overtime, bonuses, or income from self-employment.
- Lost earning capacity. If your injuries are expected to take longer to recover or cause disability, you can recover compensation for the loss of your ability to make money in the future.
- Pain and suffering. Insurance adjusters may be in a hurry to pay your medical bills to end your claim. However, car accidents cause both physical and emotional wounds. The trauma of being involved in a car accident may linger long after your physical injuries have recovered. It would be best to establish that you suffered pain and suffering and thus deserve compensation.
Avoid Releasing your Medical Record to The Other Party's Insurance Company
Providing your medical records or signing a medical release to the other party's insurance company is a move you should never make if you want to recover damages after an accident. Signing an agreement without your attorney's consent could cause you to lose your legal rights in the situation.
Immediately after the accident, the insurance company representative will try different methods to make you admit that you are not injured. Unless you have consulted your doctor and they determined that you did not suffer injury from the accident, you should never discuss the nature or severity of the injuries.
When the claim adjuster asks you about your injuries, you should politely ask them to wait for your doctor's report, which your attorney for the claim presents. Insurance adjusters often contact you when they feel you have a strong case likely to fetch a high compensation amount. Therefore, their conversations will be centered on trying to weaken your claim.
Seek Legal Counsel
Too many things could go wrong when you speak with insurance adjusters without the necessary knowledge of how they operate. When an adjuster contacts you, they will want to enquire whether you have contacted an attorney. Mainly, the insurance company will discourage you from involving an attorney. This ensures that you do not have the legal guidance needed to fight for your rights. If the insurance company contacts you before obtaining legal counsel, you should not speak to them about your lack of an attorney.
Most car accidents result in serious injuries that could take a while to recover. Therefore, your priority should be to seek medical care and not arrange meetings with insurance adjusters. As soon as the accident occurs, you need to contact your car accident attorney. Even when dealing with your auto insurance company, you should leave these conversations and negotiations to your attorney. Since a skilled lawyer understands the language and tricks used by insurance adjusters, they can help you avoid the inconveniences of disclosing too much information.
The insurance company could encourage the insurance adjuster to lie to you on the facts of the accident and potential compensation. Therefore, even when they are friendly and want to seem caring, you should request them to deal with your attorney. Since the effects of the accident can leave you distraught and traumatized, you may be tempted to provide information that can be used against you.
Take your Time
When dealing with a claim adjuster, it is crucial to understand that an insurance settlement is permanent. Once you sign an agreement, you cannot return to seek additional compensation even when your expenses exceed the amount you received from the insurance company. Accepting the first settlement that the adjuster offers you could cause you to miss out on compensation for future medical costs or other damages like loss of future earning capacity.
Although claim adjusters have many cases in their hands and weren't to settle your claim as fast as possible, It is essential to take your time. Settling for the initial compensation may mean that you accept a settlement without completely understanding the accident's impact on your life. Speaking with your car accident attorney will help you determine the amount of time you can spend on negotiations.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate and reach an amount that covers your damages, it would be best to file a personal injury claim in court. When your claim goes to court, the judge will determine the amount you can recover.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Car accidents are a serious issue in communities throughout Las Vegas. Involvement in an accident can be devastating, mainly from another person's negligent conduct. If you are a car accident victim, you are entitled to total compensation from the person at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, fair compensation does not come automatically, and you must battle with the insurance adjusters to recover the compensation you deserve.
Often, insurance companies and their representatives work aggressively to limit the amount they pay you. Since dealing with the insurance companies is likely to add to the stress you are experiencing from the injuries, it would be wise to navigate the claim with guidance from a skilled personal injury attorney.
At G. Dallas Horton & Associates, we will guide you through the process of dealing with insurance adjusters to ensure that your rights are protected. We serve clients requiring legal guidance and representation to battle a car accident claim in Las Vegas, NV, to ensure the best outcome in your claim. Call us today at 702-820-5917.