Dealing with insurance companies and the adjusters representing them is always difficult and can be very stressful. Your goal is to negotiate the highest possible injury claim and the insurance adjuster will try to pay as little as possible.
In order to give you an edge, personal injury lawyers in Indiana recommend that you at least know the following about how insurance adjusters determine their settlement offers. This will help you to better negotiate.
Getting Your Story
The very first thing that the insurance adjuster wants to understand is what the plaintiff says about the accident. Basically, the goal is to hear the story of the victim. Then, the police report is read in order to fully understand what happened.
The insurer has access to a claims database. This lets the adjuster know early if there was another injury claim filed by the same individual in the past. Also, good adjusters will often Google plaintiffs in order to find dirt. This will be used during the negotiations for any possible leverage. If something bad is discovered that would influence the credibility of the plaintiff, it will influence the settlement amount.
Adjusters get in touch with claimants or personal injury attorneys representing them in order to request the documentation that proves the claim is legit. This includes things like proof of earnings, medical bills, proof that property damage happened, and tax returns.
Experienced insurance adjusters analyze the documentation and basically read every single word in order to see if something is not there or if there is some sort of proof that there were prior injuries that might be passed off as being new ones. Even if this is not the case, if prior injuries exist, the adjuster will at least try to negotiate a lower settlement.
Determining The Actual Settlement Value
After a thorough investigation and analyzing every piece of proof that is submitted, the insurance adjuster will determine the actual settlement value. In order to do this, 2 things are taken into account:
- The chances that the plaintiff will win a trial.
- The amount that a jury might end up awarding.
There are usually two types of damages that apply:
- Damages you can exactly calculate, like lost earnings and medical bills
- Damages you will not be able to exactly calculate, like pain and suffering
While some medical bills can be disputed, the real problem is to determine things like pain and suffering. Usually, this is done based on the result of similar cases in the past. An exact amount is chosen and then the negotiation process starts. The first offer is much lower than the decided maximum value and then, based on how negotiations go, adjustments are made.
As you can see, insurance adjusters work very hard for their clients and do know a lot about how to minimize how much is won by plaintiffs. This is why you should never try to negotiate without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who would be able to tackle the strategies of the adjusters.