This past month over at the Minneapolis Blog , we have been looking at the issue of dealing with the insurance adjuster. I am amazed at how poorly consumers are treated and what things they are told. If you have a claim, I would suggest to you the advantage of meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand all of your rights. The insurance company may seem to be treating you correctly, but they don’t represent you. They also are not lawyers, so don’t take your legal advice from them.
The adjuster explains the thresholds. In Minnesota, you have to meet a threshold to bring a claim for pain and suffering. When we meet a potential clients I often tell them we have no idea and it will take time. In fact, I hope you get better and don’t get anything and only need your bills paid. I have no idea how an adjuster can give this legal opinion as early as they do. Probably because they want to say you have no claim.
They want a recorded statement to make sure they understand everything. Really, do you think that is why they want the statement? They get trained to ask questions that are meant to minimize their liability and prevent you from making a claim. Guess why they want the statement?
“We won’t pay unless you talk to us.” The law does say that you are required to notify your company and answer their questions. It is not unusual for the adjusters to read these requirements broadly and to ask for more than they have a right to, or to add extra hoops that the unrepresented person is forced to jump through. They aren’t representing you.
They ask for releases that are too broad. If you give them a release to talk to your doctor, you may be severely hurting your case. They have gotten involved in care decisions they have no right to be part of. Remember, they are thinking about their money.
They call and they call. This is a tactic to wear you down, to get statements over and over. They want you to help them close their file. What better way than to annoy you? This tactic does drive people into our office, but I still would rather see the injured person treated professionally and like a person.
The adjuster yells at you or makes comments that are degrading. I have no idea why the consumer would ever put up with that. The advantage of hiring an experienced lawyer is they take over dealing with these adjusters and you don’t have to.
They make an offer and spend time talking about why you shouldn’t run it by a lawyer. The claim is that the lawyer will just take it. That is very unlikely, but if the offer was really fair, the lawyer will probably tell you that. We have no problem meeting with people and saying the deal makes sense. The reality is, they don’t want you talking because it is more likely we will explain to you how unfair the offer is.
They are nice for awhile and then they stop calling back. The odds are they got what they needed and now it is time to delay and deny. They have the info from you to close or minimize their claim and they can move on and work on something else. Remember, they don’t represent you and aren’t on your side.
They explain that everyone is a little at fault. That is totally untrue. The law is specific about what negligence or fault is. You are never at fault for just being there or waking up that day. Sure, they explain it in a way to get to a person’s insecurities and to profit off old myths. The problem is that it simply isn’t the law.
Are they dealing with the health insurance or other potential claims? The advantage of hiring an experienced trial lawyer is that they will look at all of the different parts of your claim. They won’t overpay the subrogation interests or leave you unprotected by not dealing with them. The adjuster is just closing a claim, so if they are “helping” you, are they doing it with your best interest in mind?
Is the adjuster checking on other coverages? They don’t have to. They only work with one company and they have no reason to have to make sure you look at all of your options.
For the adjusters who are reading this and saying this isn’t them, I am glad to hear it. You are doing your job.
If you, your family, or someone you know is in an accident, it is worth taking the time to sit down and talk to an experienced law firm with success in helping people who are injured through no fault of their own. The consultations are free and it allows you to figure out what rights you have after an injury
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.