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Negotiating Your Personal Injury Claim With The Typical Insurance Adjuster
You and I. M. Strong, the adjuster from Granite Mountain Insurance Corporation, are sitting at your kitchen table attempting to settle your claim against his insured Fred Fuddle, who smashed you in the rear end several months ago.
Strong is all wound up and on the offensive, rambling on and on about how your injuries weren't serious. His typical pitch usually goes something like, "Look, I've been at this a long time. I've talked to people like you, day in and day out, for well over a couple of decades now. People who've gone through exactly what happened to you, with the same sort of claim as yours. Sure, you had a period of discomfort but your so-called injuries were routine. Believe me when I tell you they aren't worth much."
Youre stunned. You can't believe what Strong is trying to pull. You respond, "Ive been miserable! There was no way I could get back to work because of the pain in my neck and back."
Strong shift's in his seat and a victorious look (one that says he knows it all) begins to march across his face. At that point he predictably states, "Look, I can tell you, after handling thousands of cases like yours, that the discomfort you may have had, for a couple of days at the most, are relatively minor. They dont even come close to justifying the three weeks of work you lost and the disability you and your doctor are claiming".
You're thunderstruck! Now he comes at you from another angle, "I've seen thousands of cases like yours and I've had more than my share of exposure to personal injury claims, examinations, doctor-talk and recovery - - the whole nine yards. I've seen physical trauma at its slightest and its worst. Any judge or jury would know, once they heard about your so-called injuries that your physical problems were almost non-existent".
Strong will take a minute to let that sink in and then he'll attempt to sway you even more by telling you he can prove your time lost from work was not compatible with the injury involved. He'll hint around about some "independent information" he's supposedly gathered from your neighbors and/or business associates, which indicate youve been "very active" since the accident.
Once he lets that one sink in he'll ramble on about the "independent examination" the doctor hired by Granite Mountain executed, telling you, with outrageous confidence, that his doctors Medical Report states there was little, if anything, wrong with you. Then hell surely try this one on for size: My doctor is a professional .The only people he ever sees are those whove been in motor vehicle accidents. Thats what he does all day long, check out personal injury claims like yours. And I can tell you his report clearly states your physical problems were almost non-existent.
He hums a happy tune to himself as he observes the amazement marching across your face and that drum beat hes heard so very often begins to pound away within the gray matter between his ears: Boom/Boom/Boom, silently declaring, I gotcha!, I gotcha!, I gotcha!
If you let Strong get away with that than his attempt at downgrading your disability will have been successful. As a way of "proving" what happened to you wasnt serious hell describe your so-called injuries with fancy medical language and then compare them to the more extreme types of personal injury problems or conditions he's dealt with in the past. The implication being yours were obviously minor and have little, if any, value.
At that point he'll read the statements and opinions in your own examining physicians Medical Report in such a way which, if not read properly, he'll insist proves, You may have been a little sore from a slight injury but it clearly states you certainly didn't have any serious physical problems. (You can bet every dollar in your wallet that hes made that statement several thousand times)!
You're quickly discovering that neither Adjuster I. M. Strong nor his supervisors at Granite Mountain Insurance are going to be fair. They're out to take advantage of you. Thats the name of their game and thats what they get paid to do.
Question: Is that really true? Answer: Yes, its really true. You can take it from Dan, who was on that firing line for over 35 years!
From that point
on you must shut down. You be the listener. Let him babble on. When he's finally
done, you say, "Your points about my injuries are very interesting. I'd like
to discuss them in detail with my doctor. Pause and then add, We'll call this
off for now while I go back and consult with him."
Before he answers you should get up, smile, point towards the kitchen door and bid him "Goodbye". If he balks, sneak a peek at your watch, tell him you're late for another appointment and insist your meeting is over. He'll have no choice but to leave.
If you do that here's what you'll have accomplished:
(1) You'll have seized the bargaining "momentum" and control from the adjuster and, if you remain adamant he'll not get them back.
notice on him that it's you, not he, who will now call the shots in the negotiation
"Power Game" he's been playing.
(3) Impressed the adjuster that the settlement will be done on your terms, not his.
You may ask: Okay, I threw the adjuster out and let him politely but surely know Im not going to buy into his nonsense. So, when this all gets played out, what have I accomplished?
The answer to that one is: I. M. Strong is aware youve not bought into his pitch and in his secret heart he perceives that reality. For those in the home office (so as to know exactly where they stand) his instructions have always been that everything that passed between the two of you is placed into the reports he continues to send in, regarding the settlement talks hes been having with you. So, the fact that youre not buying his story, will go into your file to be read by that adjusters superiors. Once they do theyll have no choice but to conclude that youre no pushover!
Youre going to stick to your guns because youre right and the Medical Report your attending physician executed for Adjuster Smart is legit. You know that both your Pain and Suffering plus the length of recovery from your injuries, has been clearly stated.
Smart has correctly assumed that youre not accepting his usual pitch, filled with his usual mumbo-jumbo nonsense, yet so often works. Its beginning to dawn on him if he doesnt change his tactics youre going to hand you case over to an attorney and his superiors at Granite Mountain wont be dancing for joy should that come to pass.
Wait five or six weeks then call Smart and ask him to come back to talk some more. I flat out guarantee you the next time you meet the power will have shifted into your corner and you'll never again hear him attempt to minimize your injuries. That often comes to pass because hes received this typical six word, one line memo, from his supervisor at the home office, Settle this one and move on.
Take it from Dan Baldyga, who wrote such memos many thousands of times!
Granite Mountain will have reached the point where theyre satisfied to pay and get rid of you. Why? Because personal injury claims continue to pile up and clog up their incoming pipeline. Theyve got a lot of other unsuspecting prey to trap and shoot and its clear you're an individual whos too wise, too tough and much too difficult for them to fuss with any longer.