If you were in an accident, you are probably wondering how to negotiate a settlement with an insurance claims adjuster. Negotiating against an insurance company on your own can be a very tricky – and costly – endeavor for many reasons. If you choose to proceed with out an attorney you need to understand some basic facts. It is the job of an insurance adjuster to settle a claim within the policy limits of their insured. This is really a number one priority for a few different reasons. If the case does not settle during the negotiation stages the parties go to trial. Then there is a verdict by a jury or a judge. If it is in excess (over and above) the policy limits, the personal assets of their insured are subject to a judgement.
What is Bad Faith
Tied in with this scenario is a suit by the insured against their own insurance company. This is called “bad faith”. You see, an insurance adjuster has an obligation to negotiate a settlement in “good faith”. This is for any claim brought against their insured. This means making reasonable offers (based upon liability, damages, etc.) to the injured party to settle their claim for the injuries they have suffered in the accident. Often adjusters do not wish to give the entire policy away or “tender the policy.” The adjuster would rather save their employer (the insurance company) a few bucks. Hey, doesn’t it look good for them if they settle for lower than the policy limits? Often the injuries you have suffered are worth more than the coverage limits. This is especially so if the other car only had the minimum coverage permitted in New York. The minimum is $25,000 per person with a maximum of $50,000 per accident.
How Does an Attorney Negotiate a Settlement with an Insurance Claims Adjuster
When there is an experienced personal injury attorney involved in the negotiations they know what the value of their client’s injuries are for settlement and for verdict, and they have requested the coverage information from the at fault insurance company’s adjuster. They then know how to proceed against the company to make sure that their client is getting all that they deserve.
Understand, too, that if you are involved in a car accident with a person who only has the minimum coverage in New York and you have what is called “underinsured” motorist coverage on your vehicle, you have the ability to make a claim against your own policy if your injuries warrant, but only if the car that hit you tenders their entire policy. Very often you can go and see a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation about your case. The attorney will evaluate the matter and let you know if they think you have a good case. Why take the chance of losing money that you deserve for your pain and suffering?