Negotiating With Insurance Adjusters_ Insider Strategies for Your Claim

Have you recently sustained injuries due to the actions or carelessness of another party in Chicago, Illinois? If so, you may be entitled to file an insurance claim to pursue compensation for medical bills and other losses associated with your injuries.

There are instances when you can file a claim even if another party wasn’t careless. For example, Illinois is a strict liability state for dog bites and animal attacks. That means that If someone’s dog harms you, the dog’s owner or handler is liable for your injuries. This is the case regardless of whether the owner or handler was negligent. Similar laws apply in product liability cases.

When you file a claim, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case. Understanding claims adjuster negotiation strategies can help you improve your odds of receiving compensation after you’ve been injured by another party.

What Is an Insurance Claims Adjuster?

An adjuster investigates the claim you file with the insurance company. Technically, their job is to determine whether and the extent to which the insurance company is liable. Claims adjusters are insurance company employees. Their job is to clear claims quickly and for as little money as possible.

Maximizing insurance payouts often requires leveraging various negotiation tactics. You don’t have to accept a claims adjuster’s first offer. You can push back if you believe you deserve more. In nearly all cases, the initial offer will be far less than what your claim is worth. Adjusters know that some claimants are desperate for money and can be tempted to take less money now rather than wait for a full valuation of their claim.

Negotiating with Insurance Adjusters: Insurance Claim Negotiation Tips to Keep in Mind

Be very careful when speaking with a claims adjuster. They are listening to your statements to find justification for offering a low payout. Even saying you’re “fine” when an adjuster calls and asks how you’re doing could hurt your claim. An adjuster could cite this conversation later, saying your injuries must not be too severe if you were feeling well.

When dealing with insurance adjusters, remember the following negotiation tips:

Never Admit Fault

Don’t say anything to suggest that you caused your injuries. Even suggesting that you contributed to your injuries could negatively affect your case.

For example, maybe you sustained injuries in a motor vehicle wreck. Perhaps the driver who primarily caused the wreck was speeding when they collided with your vehicle. Their carelessness obviously played a role in the collision. However, maybe you didn’t thoroughly check the intersection for oncoming traffic before entering it. A claims adjuster might be able to argue you could have prevented the crash had you taken more time to check for approaching vehicles.

This matters because Illinois has a modified comparative negligence law. If you contribute to your own injuries in Illinois, the degree to which you do so can affect your compensation.

Perhaps you would have been eligible to receive up to $20,000 in compensation when you filed a claim. However, maybe the adjuster or the court determines that you’re 10 percent to blame for your injuries. If so, the most compensation you could receive would be $18,000. If you were more than 50 percent responsible for your injuries, you wouldn’t be eligible for any compensation at all because of the modified comparative negligence law.

Never admit fault when speaking with a claims adjuster. Even suggesting you played a minor role in a crash could limit your compensation.

Gather Evidence

Equipping yourself with as much evidence and documentation as possible can help level the playing field when negotiating with insurance adjusters. Types of evidence you may gather include:

The insurance adjuster is supposed to investigate the claim and determine whether the insured caused your injuries. However, they may fail to investigate the issue thoroughly enough. You may also conduct your own investigation to gather evidence to strengthen your claim.

Don’t Speculate

a man negotiating with insurance adjusters standing next to a blue car with a broken front end

Always stick to the facts when answering a claims adjuster’s questions. Speculation doesn’t help anyone in these circumstances.

If an insurer adjuster can’t tell the difference between facts and speculation, it can muddy the case. If an adjuster finds you engaged in speculation, they might argue they can’t trust you to honestly report the facts. They could then argue that you’re exaggerating the severity of your injuries or falsely describing how you sustained them.

Understand the Types of Compensation Available

You can pursue compensation for the following types of losses:

Economic losses are easy to quantify. These are losses with strict dollar values. Common examples of economic losses in a personal injury case include medical bills and lost wages.

Quantifying non-economic losses is more complex. Non-economic losses are intangible losses you might experience as a result of sustaining injuries. For instance, you may struggle with pain and suffering during your recovery.

Pain and suffering don’t have objective dollar values. Nevertheless, you could receive compensation for such losses.

Adjuster negotiation strategies typically don’t involve thoroughly explaining to claimants the full amount of compensation available to them. The claims adjuster is unlikely to tell you about all the types of compensation you may seek. You’ll need to research this matter yourself when preparing for negotiations.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the best tips for negotiating with insurance adjusters is one of the simplest: Don’t.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t file a claim. Nor does it mean you should ignore an adjuster. Instead, it means you don’t have to work with the insurance company yourself. You’ll improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve if you seek proper legal representation.

At JJ Legal, our team of Chicago personal injury lawyers understands how claims adjusters operate. Our familiarity with their tactics can play a major role in improving your case’s outcome. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 312-200-2000 for a free case review.

Related Reading: