In order to drive a vehicle on Michigan’s roads and highways, you must have auto insurance. You purchase an insurance policy to protect you and your family against both financial loss and bodily injury if you are involved in an accident. You may think that it’s a simple process when you’re in a car accident to file a claim with your insurance company, and they’ll take care of the rest and get you back on the road.
While we hope that it’s that easy, for many folks in Michigan, it isn’t.
An insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company who is tasked with investigating the claim. An adjuster will decide on a settlement amount that he or she recommends that the insurer pay to a policyholder after an auto accident.
An insurance adjuster must make certain that a policy covers a claim and investigate and determine that a claim is valid. He or she will also assess the damages and negotiate with policyholders for the insurer and settle claims.
The insurance company will contend that it must do its due diligence prior to paying out on a claim. If they didn’t, they might pay claims that are beyond the scope of the policy’s coverage or claims that are fraudulent. The result would be to deplete their funds that should be used for legitimate claims, driving the company to go out of business.
You can’t trust that the insurance companies (both yours and the other driver’s insurer) will be straight with you. Again, that’s because even though you’ve be paying your premiums in the event of an accident, the insurance companies and their adjusters are trying to save money on your claim so that they have higher profits.
There are a number of different tactics that insurance companies may use against you in the claims process to pay you less compensation than you deserve. Let’s look at some of the ways insurance adjusters protect profits:
The Good Buddy. The insurance adjuster investigating an accident may want you to think that he or she is working on your behalf. The adjuster may be empathetic and sincere; however, the adjuster isn’t working for you—they’re working for the insurer, and their job is to pay as little on your claim as possible. For that reason, they want you to trust them and heed what they say in the claims process—— even if it’s not in your best interests and when you’re in a vulnerable position.
Using Recorded Statements Against the Policyholder. Auto accident victims should avoid speaking with insurance adjusters if possible. If you do speak with them, they might try to record your conversation. Talking to an adjuster may impact your claim negatively.
Claiming That Your Injury Was Preexisting. It’s not uncommon for the other driver’s insurance adjuster to say that you were injured prior to the accident or that your injuries are from something else.
Offering a Lowball Settlement. Money may be tight after an automobile accident. Insurance companies are well aware of this, and rather than offering you the compensation you deserve, they may attempt to decrease what you can recover. This lowball settlement offer is the insurance company’s effort to get you to take whatever they say is appropriate and conclude the claim process.
Delaying Claim Payouts. The longer the claim process drags out, the more likely it is that you’ll need money. The delay by the insurance company is designed to “soften” you up that you’ll need money bad enough to take whatever they offer you.
Denying Fault. There may be some cases where the insurance adjuster denies a claim entirely by saying the policyholder was at fault. As a result, they will say that you can’t recover compensation for their losses.
These are some of the ways that insurance adjusters help their company protect its profits. If you’re in an accident, work with an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney to protect your interests and to hold insurance companies to the terms of their policy.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an automobile or motorcycle accident in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We will help you pursue compensation against the driver who is responsible and help you negotiate the claims process.
For a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.
Contact us today!