Insurance Adjuster GoalsIf you’ve been the victim of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation from an insurance company for damages to your vehicle and costs related to injuries incurred as a result of the crash. When someone else is at fault (“liable”) for the accident, their insurance company will typically be responsible for paying these damages. If that person doesn’t have insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage would then kick in to cover these damages.

At some point, you will have to speak to an insurance adjuster about the accident. Whether it’s their company’s adjuster or your insurance adjuster, they may act like their goal is to take care of you and serve your best interests. But never forget that the company’s best interests are most important to the adjuster. When they question you, they will be looking for ways to reduce the amount of money they have to pay out. 

Watch What You Say to an Insurance Adjuster

We encourage anyone who has been in an accident in Virginia to talk to an experienced accident lawyer who can work directly with insurance companies and see through their attempts to minimize your settlement amount. In fact, if you talk with an adjuster, we often advise people to provide only the minimum amount of factual information asked about the accident to the adjuster, without any elaboration. 

The adjuster might veer into personal questions about your health that they can use as a reason to establish that you have a preexisting condition that should reduce the amount of financial burden they should carry as it relates to the accident. This doesn’t just mean long-term, chronic conditions. For example, if you mention to the adjuster that you were getting over the flu or feeling tired before the accident, they will use that justification to reduce their settlement amount. 

Pressure from Adjusters

Sometimes, the first time you talk to an adjuster, they will offer you money to settle your claim. Many people might jump at the chance to easily secure a lump sum of money without considering all the implications and potential costs of a case. The amount they quote you could seem like a lot, but you could be entitled to receive much more under Virginia law. 

But what if they offer you a settlement amount and say you must take it, or you risk receiving nothing? Remember that the insurance adjuster’s goal is to minimize settlement amounts and resolve cases quickly. You can listen to what they offer but don’t accept an amount until you have talked with an experienced lawyer whose job is to fight for your best interests. 

An adjuster may discourage you from seeking legal help with your case by saying it will drag out the time of your case forever or will say that if you get a lawyer, your settlement amount will be reduced. They may also try to convince you that you could be found at fault if the case goes to court, and then you won’t get anything for a settlement. 

These are all pressure tactics to get you to accept their settlement offer right away.

When to Settle Your Car Accident Claim with an Adjuster

Once you accept a settlement amount, you can’t go back and negotiate for more. If you have been working with a personal injury lawyer and your lawyer has presented a demand letter and supplemental documents about your case to the insurance company, that lets them know how much you will accept as a settlement amount.

Experienced lawyers understand the steps of negotiations that typically take place after a demand letter has been presented, which usually involves them countering with a much lower figure, and then your counsel offering to settle for a figure that’s somewhere in between the original demand and their counter-offer. Sometimes, the parties can’t agree, and the case will proceed to court.

Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t let the potential of a court case deter you from seeking damages that you are entitled to under the law. A trusted lawyer will fight for your rights from the day they are hired and will be prepared to do so in court if necessary. That being said, most cases settle out of court before a trial, even if it is only hours beforehand.

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Working with Andrew and his team has been--without exception--one of the most pleasant, productive, and professional experiences of my adult life. I was seriously injured in an accident in July, 2018, in Virginia. I was driving a company vehicle that was registered in Maryland, for a company that was based in Wisconsin. And I live in New Jersey, where my personal vehicles are insured. The several jurisdictions involved presented a very unique case that demanded an experienced and nuanced strategy. I found Andrew Thomas (of Dulaney, Lauer, & Thomas) through some online research. And it is noteworthy that Andrew has worked the other side of the aisle--he used to work with insurance companies. Andrew took on my case with the assurance that he would work it with no less energy than he does each of his cases. At each turn, and with each question I had, Andrew and Paralegal Misty kept me informed, returned my calls, provided detailed explanations, and kept me feeling like I was in the loop and there was an eventual end to our journey. Nearly five years after the accident, we settled out of court for a significant sum in recognition of my personal injuries. The settlement was much more than I had expected. And without Andrew & Misty, I am sure the award would have been much less. If you are looking for professionalism, knowledge, dedication, answerability, responsiveness, integrity, and human-level communication from a personal injury attorney--look no further. You have found him. Thank you, Andrew and Misty. Gary Daley
I'm grateful for all your work . . . Roger V. (Remington, VA)