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If you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident and want to make an insurance claim, one of the people to whom you will have to speak will be an insurance adjuster. Understanding their role will help you have clarity about how to proceed after your accident to get the fairest insurance payout. In this article, we’ll help define what an adjuster is, what they do, and what kind of communication you can expect to have with them. 

Key Takeaways

  • An adjuster is a party who investigates insurance claims
  • Adjusters are responsible for deciding the outcome of an insurance claim
  • Most adjusters are employed by insurers, especially in motor vehicle accident cases

What Is an Adjuster?

An insurance adjuster, also called a claims adjuster, desk adjuster, field adjuster, or general adjuster, is the person who investigates insurance claims on behalf of insurers. They can investigate claims related to property damage as well as physical injury.

The adjuster will ultimately be responsible for the decision about the outcome of your claim, meaning that they are a very important party in the event of a motor vehicle accident for which you seek an insurance payout.

Most insurance adjusters are employed by insurers, although there are also adjusters who work independently or for the public. Public adjusters, however, aren’t usually involved in motor vehicle accident cases.

What Does an Adjuster Do?

After a motor vehicle accident, an insurance adjuster will begin the process of evaluating the claim. This will involve a number of steps including:

  • Interviewing the claimant
  • Interviewing the other driver(s) when relevant
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Collecting relevant documentation such as police reports, accident reports, medical records, and photos of injuries and/or damage
  • Gathering information about the accident scene and damage done to the vehicles involved

All of this will go into their decision about the liability of the accident. They may also seek out assistance from their supervisor if they aren’t able to make a decision on their own.

How Do Adjusters Make Their Decisions?

There are many factors that go into consideration when an insurance adjuster investigates a claim. This includes expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any other negative effects of the accident. All of these fall under the umbrella of “damages.”

The more clear the evidence in your case, the better the likelihood that the adjuster will offer a settlement. That is why it is so important to collect evidence at the scene of the accident and be in touch with potential witnesses who can support your claim. 

If you feel that the settlement your insurance offers you is unfair or insufficient, you can proceed with the next step of speaking with an attorney about your legal options. Alternatively, you can involve an attorney from the beginning to help protect your legal rights during the entire insurance investigation process.

Communicating With Adjusters

If you are making an insurance claim, your conversations with the adjuster will play a big role in the outcome of your claim. That is why it is important to be deliberate about how you approach communicating with your adjuster. It is recommended to keep the following things in mind:

  • Understand that the adjuster (most likely) works for the insurer and their interest is not in helping you receive the largest possible payout 
  • Never admit fault for the crash 
  • It is possible that the adjuster may try to interview you very soon after the accident when you aren’t prepared for the conversation yet. Do not feel pressure to make a recorded statement until you are ready to do so.
  • Work with an attorney to protect your legal rights and financial interests

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