Some adjusters make an attempt at using certain tricks during the pre-settlement negotiations. Smart claimants learn how to respond to such tricks.
Some typical tactics/tricks
Failing to make an offer, so that negotiations might get started: This would certainly be an unfair tactic if the claimant had taken the time to send a demand letter.
Present false or misleading information at any point of the negotiations: For instance, an adjuster might suggest that he/she has extensive knowledge of a certain medical condition.
Delay making an offer: Keep the claimant waiting for an offer; failing to explain the reason for the delay, or not giving a date when a bid/offer should be available.
Present only a token offer: This could qualify as what is called a low-ball bid. Smart claimants learn how to deal with such an action. Consequently, those same claimants do not have to attempt any legal maneuvers, in order to obtain a more respectable bid/offer.
Suggested approach for a claimant that has become the target of such tactics
First, let the insurance adjuster know that you are thinking about presenting a formal complaint, with regard to the insurance company’s unacceptable tactics.
Contact the state agency that oversees the insurance industry
—Call agency to see if the complaint must be presented by using a specific form/document.
—As a possible alternative to calling: Get the required form from the state’s website
—If no form needed, write a letter
What information should be included in the letter?
— Details about the accident that led to the unresolved dispute
—Description of the declared damages
—Specific details on the problems you have faced, while dealing with the adjuster
—Let agency know how many times you have communicated with the adjuster; make clear how often you have conversed with the adjuster.
—Provide the agency with copies of all the correspondence that has taken place between you and the adjuster; be sure to include the demand letter.
In what ways could a claimant expect to benefit by contacting the state agency, in response to unfair tactics?
There is a chance that someone at the state agency might see the complaint and work towards creation of a reasonable settlement.
The state might flood the company that had the tricky adjuster with some unexpected, extra paperwork. That could pressure the insurance company to try harder at initiating a resumption of settlement negotiations.
In some cases, an investigator from the state’s agency actually speaks with someone at the insurance company that was mentioned in the claimant’s complaint.
What methods could a claimant utilize in an effort to elicit one of the more favorable responses from the state’s agency for oversight of insurance companies?
Smart claimants make a point of saving any document that has come from the insurance company, along with making copies of all the documents that were sent, by email or snail mail, to the same insurance agency. Assuming that all of the saved papers get organized, the same claimants should have ready access to any materials that need to be included in a possible complaint to the state’s regulatory body.
Never ask the staff members at the state’s agency to work at filling in the blanks. Make certain that the information about the accident contains plenty of details. That should include the date, the time and the location of the referenced incident. Create a description of the declared damages that matches with what can be seen in one or more of the provided photographs.
Be honest; do not exaggerate the extent of your own efforts or the degree to which the adjuster was uncooperative. If at some point, you had experienced great difficulty with trying to follow one of the adjuster’s suggestions, explain the nature of that difficulty, and the obstacles that had prevented your accomplishment of the adjuster’s suggested action.
When making any reference to a conversation that you had with the adjuster, offer some background. Explain who had initiated the call. If you called the adjuster, did you call the office or the adjuster’s cell phone? If you had called and left a message, did you eventually receive an answer?
Do not present the copies of your correspondence in a way that could cause them to look like pieces to a puzzle. Come up with some way for coordinating any photos or documents with the information in your letter, or on your submitted form.
Have in mind the fact that the ideal response to your letter/form would be an investigation of the insurance company and its handling, or mishandling of the injury-linked dispute. Put yourself in an investigator’s shoes. What information would he or she hope to have, before launching such an investigation?
Still, do not push for performance of such an investigation. Be ready for the next step, if you do receive a reasonable settlement offer, or you learn that the insurer has called for a resumption of the pre-settlement negotiations.
Keep reviewing the facts and the available evidence. That way, you should be ready to proceed, if and when you do get the chance to come forward with a counter-demand to a new offer. Do not forget the figure that you had in mind as the lowest acceptable bid from your adjuster.
Acknowledge the fact that the insurance company has reached out to you. Respond to their efforts, and do your best to ensure a reasonable resolution to what had become a long-simmering dispute.
If you have been denied a settlement, contact a lawyer. The lawyer will be able to review the claim with you and determine if there is merit to it. If there is merit, then they will take action on your behalf. A lawyer can also negotiate settlements and get you what you deserve by following through with the insurance company’s demands until they agree to settle out of court or go through arbitration instead.
At BPCAB Personal Injury Lawyer, we have handled cases similar to your claim and understand how to ensure that you get maximum damages. Contact us at our Edmonton office at 587-855-5861.