In this blog post, I wanted to explain why the Insurance Adjuster is not your friend. Insurance companies use catchy slogans to sell their products, but they are not on your side, you are not in good hands, and they are not good neighbors when you get hurt in a car wreck. It is important that you know the difference between an Insurance Agent and an Insurance Adjuster.
Liability Insurance Coverage
When a car wreck client hires us to help them, we will make a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy. In Mississippi, drivers are required to have at least $25,000 coverage per person and $50,000 per accident in liability coverage. Hopefully, the at-fault driver has insurance. If not, we may have the option of bringing an uninsured motorist claim (UM) against your own insurance company.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
People are often resistant to bring a claim against their own insurance policy when they are hurt by someone who has no insurance. They are scared that doing so will make their insurance go up in price. Although it is possible that your rates could go up, it is unlikely. Furthermore, your rates can go up anyway even when no claim has ever been made.
In any event, part of the monthly payment you make is for uninsured motorist coverage for exactly this type of situation. You should not be fearful to use something that you are already paying for.
The Insurance Agent
One thing that is not always clear is the difference between an insurance “Agent” and an insurance “Adjuster”. Some people have had insurance with the same insurance company for years, and they personally know and love their insurance agent. Your insurance agent is the person who sells or changes your coverage as needed. This is the person who usually works in the local insurance office near you. This person’s job is to help you, and they get paid to sell insurance. Therefore, they usually make more money when they help you and keep you happy.
The Insurance Adjuster
This is likely a person who you have never heard of before. The insurance adjuster may not even work in the same state you live in. This person’s job is NOT to help you. Their job is to settle claims against the insurance company. Insurance companies are a business, and the purpose of a business is to make money.
The less money the insurance company has to pay out, the more money the insurance company profits. A big part of the insurance adjuster’s job is to pay out as little money as possible on the claims they are assigned. They get bonuses and promotions when they pay out less than a claim is worth and make the insurance company more profits. This person is not your friend.
Why you need a Personal Injury Attorney
The main job for most Personal Injury Attorneys is to help people who are hurt due to no fault of their own. Car wrecks are one of the most common types of personal injury claims we help people with. We deal with insurance companies on a daily basis in order to help our clients get compensated for their injuries.
Some people try to handle their own bodily injury liability claim when they are hurt in a car wreck. This is a bad idea 99% of the time. I would say 100% of the time but as an Attorney – I’m sure there is some strange exception our there somewhere.
If you try to handle your claim yourself, you should understand some things that are likely to happen:
- You will be going up against an insurance adjuster who is more experienced than you at injury claims.
- You have no leverage against them in your claim.
- The insurance adjuster may seem nice to you at first, but this will change.
- You don’t have the education, training, nor experience to properly value your claim to know if the offer they make you to settle is fair or reasonable.
- When you sign the settlement papers you are entering into a legal contract without any legal advice.
- You may leave money on the table because there may be other insurance coverage available that you don’t know about.
- If you don’t accept the insurance company’s offer, you will have to hire an Attorney anyway.
I enjoy speaking to new potential clients when they come in for a consultation. I listen very carefully to what questions they ask. The 5 most common questions are:
- What’s my claim worth?
- How long will it take to settle my claim?
- Can I accept the settlement check and keep my medicals open in case I need surgery later?
- I don’t have health insurance, how can I get the medical treatment I need?
- The police report is wrong and said it was my fault, how can I fix it?
I always answer their questions the best I can, even if the answer is not one they want to hear. I believe that trust between a client and their Attorney is critical, and I want my clients to get straight answers. If you have a good claim, I will tell you. If you don’t have a claim, I will tell you that also.
You can trust me when I tell you the Insurance Adjuster is not your friend. They have a job to do, and that is to pay out as little as possible. We should not be mad at them for doing their job or be mad that they are good at it. However, they should not be mad either when you hire one of Pepper & Odom’s Personal Injury Attorneys who will fight to get you every dollar you are entitled to.
If you have a personal injury claim and you would like to discuss it with one of our Accident or Injury Attorneys, call 601-202-1111 for a free and confidential initial consultation.
571 Highway 51, Suite B
Ridgeland, MS 39157