How to Negotiate a Settlement
After the adjuster determines that coverage exists, that the insured is probably liable for causing bodily injury or property damage to a third person, the adjuster must negotiate a settlement with the claimant or his or her attorney.
Just like the plaintiff’s attorney in a personal injury case, the insurance adjuster will investigate the claim – the facts of the accident and the plaintiff’s damages.
A very skillful and well-prepared insurance adjuster will often know more about the accident and about the plaintiff’s background than the plaintiff’s lawyer does.
The adjuster prepares for making an offer by first getting the insured’s story of the accident. This is obtained by completing a thorough recorded statement.
The adjuster will then investigate the plaintiff or claimant. The investigation can be as simple as reviewing claims databases compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) or the Insurance Services Office (ISO) all claims data base that allow adjusters to determine whether the plaintiff has ever filed a personal injury claim before. The thorough adjuster will also search Google, Bing, Ask, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to learn as much as possible about the plaintiff.
Determining the Value of a Pain and Suffering Claim
This is the real struggle, both for plaintiff’s attorneys and for insurance adjusters. Adjusters these days have the assistance of formulas and specialized software to assign a value to the subjective pain, suffering and inconvenience claims.
Negotiating a final settlement is a little like bargaining to buy something at an outdoor market where haggling is commonplace. The adjuster and the claimant, plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney both know roughly how much the damages claim is worth. The adjuster knows the most he or she is willing to pay and the claimant, plaintiff or lawyer, know the least amount they are willing to take to settle.
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
This article, and all of the blog posts on this site, digest and summarize cases published by courts of the various states and the United States. The court decisions have been modified from the actual language of the court decisions, were condensed for ease of reading, and convey the opinions of the author regarding each case.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and email@example.com.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.
Over the last 52 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.
Read posts from Barry Zalma at https://parler.com/profile/Zalma/posts