A man in his fifties recently called our law office. He was driving down a two-lane road in the countryside when he saw several trucks pulled over on the side of the road. He slowed down, but suddenly one of the trucks turned straight into his lane. He hit the truck with his car’s right quarter panel and ended up with a broken leg. The insurance company for the service truck denied the claim because they said our client was at fault and should have seen the truck’s blinker.
We got involved and found a witness on the police report who had seen the accident. He verified our client’s account of the story and said there was no warning before the service truck entered the highway.
The takeaway from this client’s experience is if an insurance company denies your claim, consult with your attorney who can help you.
Also, based on our decades of experience handling car accident claims:
- Insurance companies almost never make their best offer first. The adjuster usually has more authority to pay more than what the first offer is.
- Insurance adjusters want to get your claim over quickly so they don’t have to pay for any future medical bills or lost wages from your injuries.
- Even when the adjuster says they’ve made you their top offer, this is often not the case because a supervisor can usually give additional authority on the file.
Computer programs are often used by adjusters to assess the value of your case. They punch in such things as lost wages, property damage, medical bills and the county where the at-fault person lives to come up with the “magic number.” For more information on how they do this: google ‘COLLOSUS,’ State Farm case evaluation software. What is missing here is the human element of the claim, how being out of work for 15 days, cost you your job; how not having a car caused you to not be able to take your child to school; how the wreck left a large scar on your face, that the computer program can’t see, etc. We add the human element to the claim, making these factors more important, and making sure that the adjuster is aware of these factors. Insurance adjusters, in our opinion, despite all the commercials to the contrary, really are not in the business of making you their best offer, but are in the business of saving money for the company, protecting the bottom line of the insurance company. Sometimes, the only way you can get top dollar for your claim is to file a lawsuit against the at fault person. Some cases are well suited for going to court, other cases are not. Some clients want to go to court, some do not. We at Friedman & Martin have an open and honest discussion with you about the pros and cons of filing a suit if the offer from the adjuster is not what you had hoped for. We make a joint decision about the best way to proceed with your case in light of many factors.
Tip: Always remember the ultimate value of your case may not be what a computer says; but what a jury of your peers would give you for your injuries.