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Complaint 6 of 24 in "Offering Too Little Money"

Insurance Carrier: Farmer's Insurance
State: Washington

Consumer Complaint:

I believe my insurance adjuster is not being fair with my claim. They at first offered me $2000 for my leg injuries and $1,800 for my medical. I have spoken to attorneys and they have told me I should be at least getting three times the amount of medical for my discomfort.

Insurance Expert Answer:

If several attorneys told you that your case is worth 3 times what the insurance company is offering, why are you continue to trying to handle this on a do it yourself basis? If a lawyer can get a settlement 3 times what you could get on your own, even if the lawyer charges 1/3rd of the recovery as his or her fee, you'd still be getting twice as much as you can get on your own. Handling a claim on your own tells the insurance company it is dealing with someone who is unknowledgeable (at best) and telegraphs to the company that it can take advantage of that person. First, I assume the insurance adjuster represents some insurance company that is NOT your carrier. In other words you are making a 3rd party claim. You are a stranger to that company. In that case the other driver's insurance company is always your enemy. The other driver's insurance company owes you nothing unless and to the extent the driver they insured was responsible for the accident, and its their main obligation is to defend him and pay any judgment that you eventually recover. If you want to settle, they will pay you as little as they can get away. When the insurance company is dealing with someone representing himself, they also assume he or she generally is clueless and very anxious for a quick settlement. When you are dealing with a clueless and hungry person, why would the company pay any more than the minimum it has to? And if the maximum they may eventually have to pay out is low, there is little to lose. In the meantime, the company knows that as you speak with their adjuster --who is not your friend, even if he or she is an independent adjuster -- the adjuster will get you to make enough admissions (which will be entered in his or her notes) so that if you ever do get smart enough and able to retain a lawyer the case is likely heavily damaged, making it less costly to the insurance company. Unless there is a major injury, large medical bills (ideally not covered by other insurance), a loss of significant wages or other income, a major convalescence, and/or scaring or permanent consequences, and a driver with a large enough limit of liability on his or her policy, the likely result is a minor financial recovery. Most really good car accident / personal injury law firms don't get involved with small cases as their time is too valuable and the likely damages they could recover too low to make it worth their while. Our suggestion, is get a lawyer or try to take the case to small claims court on your own, as that often ups the offer (although it occasionally reduces the offer).