When a traumatic event occurs, causing injury to another person, the at-fault party who is insured under a policy of insurance is required to notify their insurance company of the incident. Aclaims adjusterwill be assigned to investigate and “adjust” the claim.
Insurance adjusters have stressful jobs. They spend eight to twelve hours a day behind their computer desk handlinghundredsof injury claims at the same time.
They have the same goals in mind for all their claims: deny the claim, or delay payment on the claim and minimize payment on the claim.
Theyare audited every year for performance, and they are always stressed out, trying to find creative ways to legitimize their denials or downward adjustments of injury claims.
It’s not just the insurance adjuster that is financially motivated to minimize your injury claim – it’s the entire insurance industry.
The message they send is that if you don’t take their smaller settlements, they will make an example out of your claim, and show you and other injury victims that it will cost more to litigate their injury claim than they could possibly get in a recovery at trial. These practices discourage injury victims from pursuing full compensation for their injuries.
An Insurance Claim May Involve Many Adjusters
Because insurance coverage is required for many kinds of activities such as driving motor vehicles and trucks and conducting certain kinds of businesses, it is likely that your injury claim will involve more than one type of insurance coverage.
The typical injury claim may involve many of the following insurance coverages: automobile insurance coverage (including liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and medical payments coverage), worker’s compensation coverage, personal health insurance coverage, commercial lines of liability coverage for corporations, and various umbrella and excess coverages.
Because your injury claim will involve more than one insurance coverage, you will have to deal with more than one adjuster. Each adjuster has the same motivation — to deny or minimize your claim.
This method of adjusting claims is being followed by all the major insurance companies. It keeps their claims adjusters “objective” in assessing values to injury claims. The insurance companies know that it is easier for their claims adjusters to disregard “persuasive” arguments from unfamiliar lawyers, and stick to company policies of paying next-to-nothing on injury claims.
Role of Claims Supervisors
The insurance company has numerousclaims supervisorsin each regional claims office to provide oversight to the dozens ofclaims adjustersthat work in that office. A primary goal of the claims supervisor is to keep their adjusters from deviating from company policies.
Claims supervisorsare the lowest level of company management, and they report directly toclaims managers, who, in turn, report directly to upper management on the progress of accomplishing company goals in minimizing payment on injury claims.“Policy Number One” for every claims supervisor is to reduce payment on all personal injury claims.
I cannot count the hundreds of times, as a defense lawyer for the insurance companies, that I advised a claims adjuster that a particular injury claim was legitimate and needed to be settled fairly. Even when I succeeded in persuading the claims adjuster to make a fair offer of settlement, the claims supervisor oftenrefusedmy advice to make a fair settlement offer to the injured party.
Why would they ignore the advice of their own lawyer? Any advice that recommends the fair payment of an injury claimautomaticallyconflicts with Policy Number One: to reduce payments on all injury claims.
Insurance Company Resources
Insurance companies are very powerful players in the corporate market. Aside from the banking community, insurance companies are perhaps the most powerful corporate entities in the United States. In order to be powerful in the corporate world, you need capital, that is money, and a lot of it. And they’ve got it — hundreds of billions of dollars.
Insurance companies obtain that money by selling insurance and investment products.The way they keep most of their money is by denying or minimizing payments on injury claims.They then take the money they have been able to keep back from injury victims, and invest it to make even more money. They have accumulated substantialfinancial resourcesto fund all the staff and resources they will need to maintain this pattern of reducing payments on injury claims.
How then is it even possible to obtain a fair recovery for my injury claim?
As youseek to move forward with yourinjury claim, keep in mind that the insurance company has a whole host of lawyers working on their behalf. As advocates for the injured, personal injury lawyershave the ability to skillfully use the present laws and regulations to obtain fair compensation for injury victims.
It can be done, but there is always stiff resistance from the insurance industry. A skilled personal injury lawyer knows how to handle the insurance company’s tactics and can still obtain fair compensation for injury victims.
At Robinette Legal Group, PLLC we know personal injury law from both sides. Founding attorneyJeff Robinettebegan his career representing insurance companies and defending against personal injury lawsuits.
Today, he uses the knowledge gained from that experience to fightforinjury victims. This valuable perspective lets us anticipate the strategies the insurance companies use against our clients. It helps us know the strengths and weaknesses of their cases, and how we can challenge their claims to obtain compensation for our clients.
If you have questions, call us today: 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.
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Jeffery Robinette was admitted to practice law in 1991 and is licensed in all levels of state and federal trial courts in West Virginia. Mr. Robinette is also licensed in all state and federal appeals courts in West Virginia and the United States Supreme Court. As a National Board Certified Trial Attorney who has handled hundreds of motor vehicle, injury, and construction defect claims and a leading author on insurance claims settlement issues and difficulties in West Virginia, Jeff Robinette is uniquely qualified to represent your best interest.