Monday, May 7, 2012

Negotiating With The Adjuster On Your Personal Injury Claim--Don't Do This

     It's one of many traps you can fall into when dealing with an insurance company on your own after an auto acccident. But this one is particularly easy to set and spring on you.


Potential client calls. Her statute of limitations is about to expire in 4 days. She's been dealing with the at fault driver's insurance company for almost two years now. After considerable delay, she finally speaks with the adjuster. The adjuster asks the magic question, the one learned at adjuster training 101: "What is it going to take to settle your case?"


In fact, it is more than magic--it is the PERFECT question to ask an unsuspecting auto accident victim because it is a win-win for the adjuster for two reasons. First, the adjuster is getting a commitment from you without ever revealing the insurance company's hand. Second, no matter what your response is, 99.99% of the time their response will be: "We can't pay that kind of money, so what are you REALLY looking at to resolve your auto claim?" At which point, most folks will reveal exactly what that figure is...

Bottom line: in the course of a few minutes, you've bid against yourself and revealed your bottom line and the adjuster hasn't given you anything in return. It's the equivalent of taking a hammer and whacking yourself with it a couple times. After going round and round with the adjuster, the potential client finally blurted out a money demand that was artificially high but at least gave her enough room to negotiate. Thankfully, she did not reveal her bottom line. But she got nowhere near what she should have been offered, and now I'll be handling her claim through a lawsuit.

But others fare less well. Sometimes the injured person makes so many negotiating mistakes that I can't unspring the trap.

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