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Dealing With an Insurance Claims Adjuster

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What does an insurance adjuster do?

An insurance adjuster is involved in accidents where injuries and property damage occur, where an investigation is required, and where potential claims will be made against an insurance policy, business, or other entity.

He/she is an insurance company employee tasked with investigating, evaluating and negotiating a personal injury and/or property damage insurance claim for an insurance company.

As part of this role for the insurance company, he/she evaluates/investigates an accident’s cause and how much an insurance company may pay for a claim. These functions may include gathering information like accident reports, parties and witnesses involved, and inspecting/testing/photographing the vehicles and scene involved.

During a personal injury claim investigation, an insurance adjuster gathers injury and treatment information, collects health care records and bills, and inquires into an injured victim’s prior medical and accident history. He/she may also investigate wage/employment/education loss, and determine other ongoing effects from accident-related injuries.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you’ll likely deal with an insurance adjuster who works for the other person’s insurance company. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to protect yourself.

Know your Rights

First, remember, if an insurance adjuster calls, you don’t have to answer their questions. In fact, if you’re unrepresented or unfamiliar with insurance adjusters, answering their questions may be detrimental, especially if you don’t know how the information will be used.

Typically, an insurance adjuster asks about your background, the accident or incident, insurance, and damages.

If you decide to speak with an insurance adjuster, he/she may ask you to sign healthcare/employment authorizations or give a recorded statement. Be cautious when doing either. As a trained insurance company representative, the insurance adjuster knows exactly what information he/she is seeking from you and how it will be used. Insurance adjusters handle injury claims daily. Most accident victims, on the other hand, are unfamiliar with these situations.

Take control of the communication. Find out who you are speaking to, why they’re calling and who they represent. Establish if the insurance adjuster is handling property damage, medical payments or bodily injury, or is something else like an investigator. Be sure to ask the insurance adjuster his or her name, business contact information, and the claim number assigned to your case.

Make Informed Decisions

After an accident, you may be injured, need healthcare, suffer pain, and lose wages. Despite these unexpected and unwanted problems, the insurance company will usually start working on your claim soon after the accident. If you decide to do nothing or act and make an uninformed decision, you could hurt your chances for a full and fair recovery.

Many injury victims don’t recognize that an insurance adjuster works for the insurance company and its clients. The insurance adjuster will protect the insurance company’s best interests, not give you legal advice or protect you. They want to limit payments while resolving cases as quickly as possible.

It’s also important to remember that although the insurance adjuster might ask about your injuries and collect relevant documentation, they usually won’t pay you until a settlement agreement is reached. This can be very confusing.

Sometimes, victims provide insurance adjusters with too much information, like personal information, a recorded statement, unlimited medical and employment authorizations, etc. Those actions can lead to a settlement agreement that isn’t in the victim’s best interests and doesn’t cover all damages and losses.

Get Some Legal Advice and Help

If you’ve been involved in an accident and are dealing with an insurance adjuster, an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney can help. Your attorney will communicate and negotiate directly with claims adjusters while conducting a proper and thorough investigation. Most importantly, he/she will protect your rights.

Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before providing any information to an insurance claims adjuster. Never settle a personal injury claim without a full investigation and evaluation by a reputable personal injury lawyer – you only get one chance to do it right.

Edward J. Vopal

Ed Vopal began his career with Habush Habush & Rottier in February 1997, after having practiced law for three years in Green Bay. In 2001, he was elected as a shareholder in the firm. He is licensed to practice law in Michigan and Wisconsin, and in the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin. Ed’s legal practice is entirely devoted to representing his clients who are injured or killed in motor vehicle collisions, motorcycle collisions, bicycle accidents, dog attacks/bites, falls, industrial accidents, and various other injury-producing cases.

Ed received his undergraduate degree in English, cum laude, from Northern Michigan University in 1991. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law in 1994, graduating with Senior Honors. Ed is actively involved in his community. He is a past Board Member for the Northern Michigan University Alumni Association. Ed has served on many committees for his school district. He has coached several youth sports teams. Ed enjoys spending time with his wife, Cynthia, and their three adult sons. He is an avid Wisconsin Badgers football fan.

Green Bay, Appleton / evopal@habush.com

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