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How to Deal with the Typical Insurance Adjuster

By: Dan Baldyga

Don’t ever underestimate the devious nature of a claims adjuster. They’re trained to investigate motor vehicle accident cases (especially motorcycle accident cases) in such a way, if at all possible, to make you look bad.

Question: "How does Dan know that"? Answer: "Because he was on that firing line for over 38 years"!

Many unsuspecting individuals fall prey to the trickster who seeks to protect his company’s pocketbook at the expense of a legitimate claimant.

Most adjusters are hard-nosed, thick-skinned and difficult to deal with. If that’s the case you should be firm and aggressive but not hostile. You should make a thoughtful presentation - - which relies on the power and persuasiveness of a sound demand - - adequately documented and properly communicated to the adjuster.

When dealing with the typical adjuster there are four crucial areas you should keep in mind. They are as follows:
  1. YOUR FIRST MEETING: When you first meet avoid admitting or creating the impression that you’re fully recovered from your injury. If you’re naturally a happy, gregarious sort, forget it! Get rid of you smile and laugh. You’re conducting serious business. Never forget you’re bartering with a person who is paid to take financial advantage of you. They’ll do everything they can to nibble away at the true value of your loss.
  2. DATE AND TIME FOR MEETINGS: Schedule them during the hours of normal work days, even if evenings or weekends would be more convenient for you. If the adjuster asks you what your rational for this is, advise him there are certain “Consultants” you may want to phone during business hours for guidance during the negotiations. If he wonders out loud who these people could possible be, tell him, “There are several, like the Insurance Commissioner, for example.” That will cause him to sit up and take notice!
  3. ALWAYS ASK A WITNESS TO BE PRESENT: An adult friend or relative should be with you. Choose someone (preferably not a spouse) who can attend each meeting, wherever it may be. Having this witness present will keep the adjuster guessing and may come in handy later, especially if the adjuster lies or misleads you (or they should be thinking about attempting to implement high-handed and/or unethical tactics). Is that a possibility? Indeed it is! .
  4. TAPE THE DISCUSSION: You should have a tape recorder present. A tape recorder will send a strong message to the adjuster. One that says you plan to double-check everything he tells you. If nothing else, it will go a long way in keeping him from spewing forth the usual negative verbal garbage the may have worked for him in the past. A tape recorder will stop him dead in his tracks!
As your claim makes its way to a conclusion the three crucial questions you should ask the adjuster are: (A) How much money will you pay me as a fair settlement for my provable “Special Damages”? (B) How much money will you pay me for my motor vehicle and all other property damage's? (C) PLUS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE: What is the amount you’re going to pay me for my “Pain and Suffering”?

When you begin to get down to the nitty-gritty he’ll begin a slow waltz by asking you a question like, “What do you think your claim is worth?

Such a question is predictable because he prefers that you be the one who makes the dollar demand first. Why? Because you may ask for less than he was preparing to offer. Also (if you make an excessive demand) he’ll not have committed himself to an offer which was so small it left no room for further negotiations. In other words, the adjuster is in the best position to exercise “command control” over your manipulation (and the setting of the dollar amount to be paid) when it’s you that talks about settlement dollars first. Don’t provide him with this advantage.

To win this contest the initial settlement offer must come from the adjuster, before you make your demand because at that point it’s all about who gets to control the value of your claim - - you or the adjuster.

Hold out and insist upon his making that first offer - - warning him that it must be one that’s realistic and made in good faith. Then, and only then, is when you should respond with your initial demand. Up until that point you should never let him know what you’re willing to settle for. If you do you’ll lose control and when that becomes a reality he’ll do whatever he can to take advantage of you and that will cost you big bucks!

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this article "HOW TO DEAL WITH THE TYPICAL ADJUSTER" is intended for background information. It has been created to help people understand the motorcycle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, James Allgood nor WHY BIKE.com makes any guarantee of any kind whatsoever, NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional legal service, substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain it.

All of the information necessary for you to deal with and handle the above issues are spelled out within the contents of AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) found on the internet at http://www.autoaccidentclaims.com or http://www.caraccidentclaims.com. This book also contains BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula). THE BASE FORMULA will tell you exactly how many dollars the "Pain and Suffering" you endured because of your personal injury - - are worth!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For over 38 years Dan Baldyga was a Claims Adjuster, Supervisor, Manager and Trial Assistant. He is now retired and spends his time attempting to assist those involved in motorcycle accident claims so they will not be taken advantage of.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys can help you if you have been injured in a collision.



  Comments

I've been in the insurance business for 16 years and riding motorcycles for 15. This is the most insane article I have ever read. It is clear to me that Mr. Baldyga was an awful insurance handler when he worked in the business. 3 Things: 1. If your provable "special damages" (the amount of your medical bills only) are $100. Then you are due $100. 2. Any negotiator knows that you set the floor by being the 1st one to put their offer on the table. What nonsense is that logic about not being the first to put an offer on the table? Any good attorney will always make a demand. Not sit back and say "OK what'll you give me." 3. and I can't stress this enough people...acting like a jerk will only get you treated like one. There isn't a claim adjuster alive that is scared by "I may have to call my consultant" talk. If you have an attorney then go get him/her. If you have a former claim adjuster that parades himself around like Mr. Baldyga, then ask yourself do you really need this chump who can't keep a job working for a real company? Most inrance(sic) adjusters are hard working people like everyone else and have no "agenda" when they show up on your doorstep. Be realistic in your settlement demand and you'll be fine. Just remember this is not TV and 99.99% of the public do not retire from an insurance settlement.
- SD

I love how this previous comment proves what Mr. Baldyga said about insurance workers and their ingrained training to down play claims. Thank you for your comment! Now I am definitely going to follow Mr. Balyga's advice.
- Brent in San Diego


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