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What is the Role of An Adjuster in a Personal Injury Car Accident Case?

By Keith Stachowiak on October 16, 2015 // Leave a Comment

personal injury case insurance adjusterWhen you are involved in a car accident, one thing you should do is report it to your own insurance company. That starts the claims process.

The insurance companies will assign adjusters to the case, based on their estimate of what the claims may be. If the other driver is at fault, your own company may only view their participation as handling some medical expenses under the medical payment portion of your policy. These claims are handled by medical payment adjusters. Some adjusters work only on vehicle damage claims, and authorize repairs or determine the fair value of your vehicle before it was damaged. The most common type of adjuster we encounter with a car accident claim is the person who handles liability claims, where their own insured caused personal injuries to our client.

The Role of A Liability Adjuster

The liability adjuster will first try to investigate the liability part of the case. They do this by getting the police report, getting photos of the vehicle damage, and taking recorded statements from the people involved and any third party witnesses. If you are contacted by another person’s insurance company, you are not required to give a statement. The insurance company needs information about the claim and the injuries in order to set “reserves” for the case, which is an estimate of what they may be required to pay if their insured is at fault.

After the investigation is done and the reserves are set, the insurance company will want to look at the injuries or the treatment. The adjuster will want to explore your medical history, particularly as it pertains to the injuries you suffered in the car accident. For example, if you injured your neck, the adjuster will be interested in finding out if you had prior neck problems.

Many insurance companies are using computer software to analyze medical records and give a suggested range of settlement values to the adjuster. Not all companies use these, and companies that use the software may limit the use to certain types or sizes of claims. This software requires someone from the insurance company to enter data from the medical records such as diagnostic codes, complaints of pain, and dates of treatment.

How A Liability Adjuster Determines Your Personal Injury Settlement

The role of the adjuster is to settle the case on the best basis for the insurance company, not on the best basis for you, in other words, the lowest possible settlement. The adjuster will be working against you. The adjuster plays an important part in determining what amount the company will pay to settle your case before a lawsuit is filed.

When the adjuster makes a final offer, the decision to accept and settle or reject and start a lawsuit is sometimes hard, and sometimes easy. If the final offer is so low, such that you will almost always get a higher jury verdict at trial, a lawsuit is filed. If an offer is such that you may not get a higher verdict with a jury, the decision becomes more difficult.

How Is A Verdict Reached In A Personal Injury Case?

How is this decision made? There are no books or publications or web pages that can predict with any certainty what a jury will do on any case. The final result really depends on the makeup of the jury on that particular day, how well the witnesses did, how the evidence went in, how the judge handled the case and dozens of other variables.

The best that can be done is to come up with a range of possible verdicts and determine if it makes economic sense to settle the case or let a jury decide. An experienced personal injury attorney in Milwaukee or auto accident attorney Milwaukee is best able to make this analysis based on their years of experience handling similar cases.

At Murphy & Prachthauser we are Milwaukee personal injury lawyers who practice the law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people. 

If you have a case you would like to speak to a personal injury lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced personal injury firm in Milwaukee working on your behalf.

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