What to Do If You Clash with Your Car Insurance Adjuster After an Accident

what to do if you disagree with car insurance adjuster

Being in a car accident is stressful enough without having to battle your insurance company over fair compensation. If you find yourself at odds with a claims adjuster over a settlement amount, it’s important to advocate for the payment you deserve.

Don’t simply accept an offer you believe to be inadequate. Instead, arm yourself with evidence, negotiate firmly but politely, and don’t be afraid to dispute their decision if needed.

Claims adjusters play a key role in the insurance process, assessing damage, determining fault, and deciding payouts after an accident. However, their goal is to minimize costs for the insurer. You may disagree with their valuation of your vehicle, their assessment of your injuries, or their determination of liability. Whatever the case, you have options.

Why You May Need to Dispute the Adjuster’s Offer

There are several common reasons you may end up at odds with an insurance adjuster over a settlement amount.

These include:

  • Undervaluation of your vehicle. The adjuster may use arbitrary formulas that don’t account for your car’s true market value. This is especially common with older, classic, or custom vehicles.
  • Lowballing your injury claim. Adjusters may try to downplay serious injuries as “soft tissue damage.” Provide medical evidence of long-term effects requiring treatment.
  • Denying certain coverage. Your policy entitles you to compensation for more than just vehicle repairs. Dispute if they won’t cover medical bills, lost wages, rental cars, and other expenses related to the incident.
  • Disputing liability. The adjuster may claim you were partially at fault, reducing your payout.
  • Poor accounting of damages. Adjusters may underestimate damages incurred from the accident, which will negatively impact your compensation.
  • Delays in claim processing. Adjusters may drag their feet, hoping you will give up and not continue pursuing your claim.
  • Simple unwillingness to pay out. Some adjusters take advantage of vulnerability, throwing out lowball offers, hoping you will take what you can get.

Knowing common reasons for unfair settlements will help you identify when and how to push back against the insurance company. With the right evidence and persistence, you can successfully dispute an adjuster’s low offer.

What to Do When the Insurance Adjuster Won’t Fight Fair

Even with a solid injury claim, some adjusters refuse to budge. If you aren’t making headway negotiating on your own, consider consulting an attorney. An experienced personal injury or car accident lawyer can advocate on your behalf. They know how to effectively negotiate settlement disputes and can take legal action if needed.

Our lawyers at Onward Injury Law offer free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by exploring your options. Seeking representation may make sense if you suffered major injuries, disability, or lost wages. A lawyer may also be advisable if the insurer disputes liability or your claim is denied entirely. For large, complex claims, an attorney’s experience can be invaluable.

But if you aren’t ready to take advantage of a free consultation, here are some other steps you can take.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim

Solid evidence is key to justifying a higher settlement amount. Thoroughly document the scene with photos and video, capturing damage to all vehicles and property involved. Obtain police reports, which can help establish flowbault if liability is disputed. Gather medical records that detail your injuries, treatment costs, and prognosis. Keep receipts for car repairs, rental vehicles, medical copays —anything accident-related.

The more evidence you have to demonstrate the true extent of damages and losses, the better your case for a fair payout. Quantify your claim by tallying all accident-related expenses. Also, calculate the value of your totaled or damaged vehicle using sites like Kelley Blue Book. Present this documentation to the adjuster to counter their offer.

Negotiate Respectfully But Firmly

If an adjuster offers less than you believe is fair, don’t be afraid to push back. Voice your disagreement calmly and respectfully. Explain your reasoning and provide evidence to justify asking for a higher settlement. Make a reasonable counteroffer based on your documentation.

However, avoid aggressive confrontations or threats. Instead, aim for cooperative negotiation focused on reaching an agreement acceptable to both parties. That said, don’t let an adjuster pressure you into accepting a lowball offer. You have every right to seek fair compensation.

Dispute the Decision and File a Complaint

If you exhaust other options without resolution, formally dispute the insurer’s decision. Many policies allow you to request arbitration through the insurance company. You’ll present evidence to an independent adjuster, who then makes a binding settlement determination.

You can also file a complaint with your state department of insurance. This alerts regulators to improper claim-handling practices. Your complaint may trigger another review and settlement reevaluation by the insurer seeking to avoid penalties.

Lawsuits should be a last resort, as they require time and expense. However, legal action may be warranted if the insurer refuses reasonable negotiation. An attorney can advise if litigation seems prudent.

Is the Insurer Acting in Bad Faith?

Insurance companies have a legal duty to act in good faith when handling claims. But sometimes adjusters engage in deliberate unfair claims practices. Identifying bad faith can strengthen your case for disputing a settlement.

Signs of potential bad faith include:

  • Denying a valid claim without reasonable investigation
  • Unreasonably delaying approval of a covered claim
  • Misrepresenting facts or policy provisions
  • Refusing to provide a reasonable explanation for denying a claim
  • Offering substantially less than the claim is worth based on evidence
  • Failing to consider evidence supporting the claimed amounts
  • Rejecting a reasonable settlement offer within policy limits
  • Making it extremely difficult or intimidating to pursue a claim

Document all interactions and repeatedly assert your rights under the policy. Seek legal advice, as bad faith may mean you can recover extra damages beyond policy limits. Don’t tolerate egregious stonewalling or misrepresentation. Pursue formal complaints and litigation if the insurer won’t fulfill their obligations in good faith.

Receiving fair compensation after an accident shouldn’t be a battle. But if an adjuster disputes your claim, know your options. Gather evidence, negotiate firmly but fairly, and seek legal counsel. Our personal injury attorneys at Onward Injury Law can help you recover the maximum compensation the law allows.

Contact us today for a consultation.

Author Bio

Josh Rohrscheib

Joshua Rohrscheib is the Owner of Onward Injury Law, a Central Illinois personal injury law firm. With more than 17 years of experience in injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including car accidents, trucking accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and other personal injury cases.

Josh received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Top 40 Under 40” in 2019 by The National Trial Lawyers and a “Rising Star” in 2019 by Super Lawyers.

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