When you’ve been in a serious car accident, it’s important to understand the role an insurance adjuster plays and what you can expect from the process. Whether you’re dealing with your own auto insurance company or the insurer of the driver responsible for your collision, the adjuster’s job is to determine the value of your claim.
How easy or difficult it is to deal with the insurance adjuster will likely depend in part on how serious the motor vehicle accident was and what types of damages are involved.
Which Insurer Do You Work With?
Which insurance company will be responsible for covering damage to your vehicle, injuries, and other losses depends in large part on whose fault the accident was. If another driver negligently caused the accident, it will typically be their insurance carrier assessing the claim and making an offer. But, if the accident was your fault, or partly your fault, your insurance carrier may be responsible for covering some or all the damages.
This depends in part on what type of insurance coverage you carry. If you only carry liability insurance, your insurance carrier won’t pay for damage to your vehicle, no matter whose fault the accident was.
Your insurance carrier may also cover some or all the damages if the responsible driver doesn’t have insurance, or their insurance is not sufficient to cover your losses.
Property Damage Only Insurance Claims
Generally, dealing with an automobile insurance adjuster is simpler when the claim only involves damage to your vehicle. Insurance companies are less likely to fight liability when the claim is relatively small. In this situation, the insurance adjuster will assess the damage to the vehicle and then will typically make an offer to either repair the vehicle or pay out the claim as a total loss.
Here are a few things to look out for in this situation:
- If the insurance adjuster makes an offer to repair your vehicle, make sure that the amount they’re offering is reasonable and sufficient for you to get the repairs completed by a reputable shop.
- Know that you are free to get your vehicle repaired at any shop you choose. The insurance carrier may recommend a shop, but they can’t force you to use the shop they choose.
- Understand what it means when a vehicle is a “total loss.” Some insurance companies will declare a vehicle a total loss at a threshold lower than Texas law prescribes. You may be able to keep your car and repair it if you choose, though the insurance company may not pay the full cost of repairs.
Auto Accident Claims Involving Injury
Generally, the larger the claim, the larger the problems with the insurance company. An insurance adjuster may not have much incentive to spend a lot of time arguing over a claim of a few thousand dollars for repairs to a vehicle. But, when a claim involves the extensive medical treatment, lost work time, and potentially long-term limits on earning capacity and enjoyment of life, that changes.
The only way an insurance company makes money is to collect more in premiums than it spends on operations and paying out claims. That means the company has a significant interest in limiting the amount it pays to injured people.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when dealing with insurance adjusters:
- Beware of quick settlement offers. The insurance company representative will likely tell you they want to get you paid quickly because they know you could use the money while you’re recovering. And you probably could use the money. But there’s another reason insurance companies sometimes push for quick settlement: you may not yet know the full extent of your damages.
- Understand that no matter how friendly and helpful the person on the other end of the phone is, that person’s job is to save the company money. What seems like a casual conversation may come back to haunt you.
Often, the best way to deal with an insurance adjuster after an automobile accident is through your attorney. The car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of George Salinas have extensive experience handling injury claims, including auto accident claims. That means experience in taking on insurance companies and fighting for the most favorable settlement possible. We’re familiar with the tactics insurance companies and their attorneys use to try to avoid paying fair compensation and can step in and take over interactions with the insurance company for you.
Our attorneys also have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to take your case to trial if that’s the best approach for you. To learn more about how we can help, call 210-225-0909 or fill out our contact form. Or, if you prefer, just click in the lower right corner of this page to chat.
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