Car Owners and Their Passengers v. Insurance Claims Adjusters

Lapidus Law Firm, PLLC Profile Image

Practice Areas: Auto Accident


It sounds like this could be an actual case in court, doesn't it?  In a general way, the title describes the conflict in every injury claim, even those that don’t end up in court. Here’s why:  The insurance adjusters use their checklist of items to determine a number they believe a claim warrants. That includes their individual pyramid of settlement authority, claims authorizers, management committees, and a mission to hold onto as much insurance money as they can justify given their corporate limitations.

If that number is not acceptable to the claimant, they essentially say to the claimant’s lawyer, “sue my insured” and “our company will defend the claim to the maximum the law allows." The critical question for the victim’s attorney is to determine if is whether, the settlement offer is fair, given the nature and extent of the injuries.  The answer depends on a variety of questions, some of which are more obvious than others. They include:

·       How did the crash happen?

·       What was the damage to vehicles involved?

·       How promptly did the injured party seek and receive medical attention?

·       What is the nature and extent of the injuries and what is the impact of these injuries on the injured person’s life?

·       What is the person’s age?

·       Will the person take less than fair value because his or her lawyer is unwilling to fight the case in court?

·       Are there any gaps in medical treatment?

·       Do the medical records fully support the claim?

A personal injury lawyer will first obtain all the facts to begin building a case. This includes finding those “value triggers” which are likely to maximize settlement offers.  The attorney will also educate the client on how to utilize the medical system best to obtain high-quality care from well respected, credentialed medical doctors in the appropriate medical specialties for their injuries.

A well-versed personal injury lawyer knows to clearly communicate all the do’s and don’ts when it comes to injury recovery and insurance companies, so he/she should make sure the client is fully informed. For example – if a personal injury lawyer is pursuing a settlement because of a back injury, the client shouldn't post pictures on social media that boast physical activity. Moreover, the case isn’t just about the potential settlement offer; a caring lawyer will keep in touch with the client as their recovery progresses not only for the case, but also to check on their well-being.

The goal of any personal injury lawyer is to reach a fair and reasonable settlement without going to court.  If, however, the adjusters are not persuaded to offer a realistic and fair settlement, the lawyer should be confidently prepared, willing and able to take the client’s case to court with the ultimate goal of obtaining a big win.