Jim Dodson: What are the tactics you need to be concerned about when you talk to a claims adjuster? You know, I’ve been dealing with claims adjusters throughout my entire career. And, I have a claims adjuster, retired claims adjuster that works for us two days a week, been an enormous help. And, what I’ve learned are some things that I need to pass on to you because nothing that they do is by accident. No call you receive from a claims adjuster, nothing they send to you in the mail, it is there by design. And, the design is for them to better understand the case so that they can pay as little as possible in the end of the day to settle someone’s claim. That’s the entire name of the game.
One of the things that I’ve learned is that it’s very common for a claims adjuster to wanna put you at ease, after a bike crash, or after a car crash, they wanna put you at ease. They would like to reassure you that they will take care of you. They want you to feel that you can place your trust in them and that your case will be fairly evaluated and fairly settled, by leaving it in their hands. And, sometimes they’re successful in doing this! I’ve had some very sophisticated people, over the course of my career, call me and just basically tell me, “I’m gonna leave it with the claims adjuster. “I trust the person. “I think they’ll be fair with me.” At the end of the day, that type of person will get a settlement. They’ll receive a settlement but the problem is, it won’t be anywhere near the full value of the case. It just won’t! I’ve learned in my career that if I don’t feel in my heart of hearts that I can get my client more money than they would get dealing with a claims adjuster on their own, I will tell you right away that’s the case. And, then I’ll tell you how to do it on your own. But there’s some things that you need to be aware of before anyone would ever make a decision to address their case, or hold their case, on their own and deal with the claims adjuster without the help of a lawyer.
I think that my assistant, my claims adjuster here, Mark, has told many stories over the years of people he’s dealt with and I think Mark is a fair-minded guy. I mean, he’s proved that in his work with me. The problem is when you talk to a claims adjuster from an insurance company, whether it’s yours or whether it’s the other company, they have one motivation in mind, is to. They have a case. They wanna get it off their desk and they wanna get it off their desk at the least possible cost to their company. If they offer you $5, the case is worth $10. It’s just the way it works. And, the problem, when you and I, if you’re not in this environment, not working in this arena, like I am everyday, you have no idea, you have no point of reference, no idea what your case may or may not be worth. It may be worth a lot more than you think it’s worth or it may be worth a lot less than you think it’s worth. And, the role of your lawyer is to be honest with you and tell you exactly where you are in this process.
Hey, Jennifer, thanks for your comments. I know, Jennifer’s pointing out that there’s a lot of people out there and maybe you’re on the line today that have had an unfortunate experience with a claims adjuster, or a situation that kind of left a bad taste in your mouth. If you have, let us know. Yeah, Jennifer’s again telling me that, you know, she’s got a claims background and knows exactly how they’re trained behind the scenes to do exactly what I’m talking about right now.
You know, insurance adjusters look at claims differently than I do, than any lawyer does. They are, by nature, they’re very suspicious. They don’t believe any story. They don’t believe any set of facts. They don’t believe any injury is as bad, or exactly as it’s being portrayed. They always feel like they’re being worked to some extent. So they’re always looking at the case through a lens, which is totally different than the lens you see, as the injured party, reaching out to someone, at a moment of need, relying on this person to be fair, honest and open with you and give you the benefit of the doubt. That rarely happens. That rarely happens. Can it happen? Sure it can happen but it’s a rare occurrence in the claims business.
Another thing that they do frequently is to try to talk to you about why you shouldn’t even get a lawyer. They want you to leave the case with them and not get a lawyer. I’ve had people come talk to me, after they’ve been involved in even a serious accident, whether it’s a bike crash, or a car accident, about how the claims adjuster tried to convince them they don’t need to get a lawyer. That’s why these companies are trained to intervene, right away, to try to establish some type of repertoire, relationship with the claimant, to try to convince them they don’t need a lawyer. And, what they will tell the person is, “By the way, don’t hire a lawyer. “They’re gonna take a percentag