Think meeting the insurance adjuster wihout a lawyer is a good idea? Think again. Why do they want to meet?
It is the insurance adjuster’s job to find ways to reduce the value of your case or get rid of it entirely. The more documents they have the more chances they will find something to hang their hat on in order to deny or reduce your claim.
Insurance adjusters much prefer dealing with injured persons who don’t have a lawyer. Why do you think they call you the same or day after you are injured, sometimes only a few hours after the accident? They want to get to you before you know your rights and interests and definately BEFORE you speak to a lawyer. They want to control the file and specifically, control the evidence. They are not your lawyer and have minimal legal duty to you. They give you a card stating that they represent the opposing party’s insurer, not you! Their job is not to give you legal advice, but to investigate the accident. Adjusters know how to manipulate you they will not necessarily manipulate the evidence, but they can take a completely different interpretation of the, against your favour. The moment you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer, that manipulation ends.
Don’t believe us? Try this. When the adjuster calls to meet with you and obtain a written statement and authorization to obtain information from your doctors and your employer, ask them if you can meet with the owner of the property where you fell or the driver that hit you so you can ask them questions and obtain a written statement. Ask the if the meeting can be held completely on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning whatever you discuss and give them by way of documents can never be held against you. The answer may be – are you crazy? No way. It’s a one way street.
The less an adjuster pays on a claim, the better their worth to their insurer. Their value increases with less pay-outs. When you think about it, in a commercial – profit goal world, this makes perfect sense. Adjusters can hardly be blamed for this. It is, after all, their job.
Insurers make millions and millions of dollars in profit every year. They are corporations who’s primary focus is profit. The longer you don’t know your rights and interests, the more serious damage can be done to your claim – the more interaction with an adjuster, without a lawyer, the worse your case can become.
Our experience is that, if you have held meetings with and have had discussions with the insurance adjuster and have provided them with documents and information, without the assistance of a lawyer, by the time the insurance adjuster is willing to make an offer to settle your claim, they offer pennies on the dollar. Alternatively, the situation could be even worse, no offer at all.
Why? You dug your own grave – provided the insurer with a written statement or recorded statement – provided the insurer with access to all your records, medical, financial or otherwise – you took no steps to obtain and preserve your evidence – you took no steps to obtain your own witness statements – you took no steps to obtain a lawyer to know your rights, interests and risks – and so on… Your case has been destroyed. By the time an offer is made, if one is even made, the insurance adjuster has ample documents, information and reasons to justify making no offer or making a ridiculously low offer. Do yourself a favour. Meet with one of our lawyers, free of charge and in complete confidence.