After an accident, you may file an insurance claim to seek compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, and other losses. Most people end up working with an insurance adjuster while taking steps to settle a claim.
In this situation, it’s normal to wonder: what does an insurance adjuster do? These individuals work for the insurance company and often determine how much compensation you receive.
Please find out more about their role with our team at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates. Reach us at (800) 810-3457 to speak with a professional member of our team.
Understand Who Handles Your Insurance Claim
Individuals in New York and New Jersey often end up filing an insurance claim after sustaining an injury due to a:
- Motor vehicle accident
- Medical malpractice case
- Slip and fall accident
Both New York and New Jersey use no-fault laws to handle the damages associated with motor vehicle accidents, including collisions involving cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and pedestrians. The states’ no-fault laws mean that, in many cases, you file a claim with your own insurance company to secure compensation for medical expenses.
However, New Jersey gives drivers a choice regarding no-fault insurance, providing some drivers with a limited right to file a suit depending upon their insurance policy. We recommend assessing your policy before you file any claims to understand your situation.
Furthermore, New York only uses no-fault rules for personal injury losses associated with car accidents. Therefore, if your vehicle sustained damages in the accident, you would file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company.
The Role of Insurance Representatives in Your Claim
Generally, you work with representatives from your insurance company after an accident, even if you have the right to file a claim against someone else. While working with the insurance company, you’ll likely work closely with an insurance adjuster.
You may also hear insurance adjusters called claims adjusters, field adjusters, general adjusters, or desk adjusters. These individuals dig into the facts about what happened in your accident. They may:
- Speak with witnesses who saw the accident
- Review police records
- Go over medical records
- Assess property damage
They focus on determining their company’s liability by reviewing your relevant insurance policies and assessing your degree of coverage. These professionals also evaluate the monetary value of your injuries and any property damage.
In some cases, insurance adjusters have other titles, like appraisers, examiners, or investigators. However, these individuals perform the same general tasks for their employers.
How Does an Insurance Claims Adjuster Settle Claims?
So, what does an insurance adjuster do? First, they determine how much compensation you receive after an accident. Then, they settle your claim by reviewing the value of your losses by checking documents such as your:
- Healthcare bills
- Documents showing proof of damage to your property
- Earnings reports
- Tax returns
They also review all evidence of fault associated with an accident. Insurance agents often take steps to deny claims by arguing that the policyholder caused the accident. Insurance adjusters may also say that your accident did not cause your injuries.
After reviewing all the facts about your case, the insurance adjuster then makes a settlement offer to you. You may either accept this offer—and take the compensation provided by the insurance company—or reject it if you feel it does not adequately cover your losses.
What Happens if an Insurance Company Treats You Unfairly?
Have you filed a claim with the insurance company only to receive a subpar settlement offer from the insurance adjuster? If so, you aren’t alone. Insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and put the agency’s bottom line first in many cases.
Sometimes, adjusters look at your personal injuries, property damage, and other losses and undervalue them. In this situation, you have options beyond accepting the subpar settlement offer.
The professionals generally recommend allowing a third party to review your settlement offer before you accept it. Once you take a settlement, you no longer have the chance to fight for more compensation.
If you feel that insurance agents mistreated you or want to seek professional help assessing the offer, consider working with a public adjuster or contacting a personal injury lawyer.
What Do Public Insurance Adjusters Do?
Public insurance adjusters do not work for insurance companies. Instead, they work for their own adjuster firm, providing assessment services for individuals hurt in an accident.
Try not to confuse a public adjuster with an independent adjuster. These terms sound like they should mean the same thing. However, independent adjusters also work for insurance companies. The companies hire them as-needed instead of keeping them permanently on-staff.
On the other hand, public adjusters work for clients who hire them to find an outside view of the value of an insurance claim. These individuals often pursue continuing education and training to stay up to date with all changing insurance regulations.
They provide an independent idea of how much compensation you could receive after an accident. In addition, you may hire adjusters to:
- Submit your insurance claims
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Provide experienced feedback about the process
Consider hiring a public adjuster before filing any claim with an insurance company.
Cost To Hire a Public Adjuster
How much money should you expect to pay if you hire a public adjuster? Generally, these professionals charge you a percentage of the total amount of your claim. For example, they may charge a 10% fee to handle your claim.
Let’s say you received $1,000 from the insurance company for your losses. The public adjuster would receive $100 from your settlement as payment for their services.
Public adjusters do not all use the same percentage fee. Some charge over 10%, and some stay under this amount. The state of New York caps the percentage fee charged by public adjusters at 12.5%, meaning they cannot take more than that amount.
New Jersey has attempted to pass legislation that similarly caps public adjuster fees. However, the state currently has no cap on these expenses.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Public Adjuster
Choosing the right public adjuster may help you feel more comfortable handling an insurance claim. A professional can answer your questions, like: what does an insurance adjuster do, and how much is my claim worth?
When selecting the right public adjuster, consider asking friends, co-workers, or family members for recommendations. You may also perform a web search to find public adjusters in your area. Finally, look at any reviews and ratings displayed to find companies you could hire.
We recommend contacting the public adjuster before you hire them. Prepare several questions to ask, such as:
- What kind of experience do you have handling insurance claims?
- What types of claims have you handled?
- What fees do you charge for your services?
- Will you handle my claim personally?
You may also ask the public adjuster for a reference or information from past customers. Getting the help you want may make the process of filing an insurance claim less stressful, especially if you select the right company.
Consider Hiring an Attorney To Help With Your Insurance Claim
Some people work with a public adjuster after an accident to seek compensation for their losses. However, you also have the option of securing legal assistance. Personal injury lawyers step in to handle all aspects of your legal situation after sustaining an injury.
Lawyers have the experience to help you file insurance claims with insurance companies. They also have the expertise to dispute a claim if the insurance company offers you a settlement that fails to cover your losses.
Personal injury lawyers also step in to help if your insurance company refuses to negotiate or provide an adequate settlement. In some situations, lawyers have the ability to file a lawsuit on your behalf, either against the insurance company or the individual who caused your injury.
Lawyers understand the court system in New York and New Jersey. They make sure that all your legal documents are filed on time, walk you through the process of filing a lawsuit, and stand with you every step of the way.
Securing Compensation With a Lawyer
Accidents often leave individuals dealing with severe injuries and quickly rising medical bills. An insurance settlement may allow you to secure damages to cover expenses such as:
- Emergency medical costs
- Time in a hospital
- Medical tests and procedures
- Physical therapy
In some situations, you also receive funds for lost wages at work from an insurance settlement. Some insurance companies also provide damages to cover property damage in the event of an accident. This type of compensation could include the costs to repair or place your car if you got hurt in a:
- Truck accident (with an 18-wheeler, semi-truck, or another large vehicle)
- Motorcycle accident
- Bus accident
- Bicycle or pedestrian accident
Our team understands how to file claims for head-on, rear-end, and side-impact collisions. We put our expertise to work for clients in your situation.
You may seek additional compensation—such as coverage for your pain and suffering—with a lawsuit in some cases. The court system calls these damages “non-economic” losses. Generally, you receive more compensation for these losses.
You may also receive exemplary damages or compensation designed to penalize the person who caused your injuries in some situations.
Speak to a Lawyer About Insurance Adjusters
What does an insurance adjuster do? These individuals decide how much compensation you receive after an accident. You can seek help handling insurance agents and fighting for fair treatment by contacting our team at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates. Speak with a member of our team today at (800) 810-3457.