If you are injured in a car accident, perhaps the quickest way to obtain monetary compensation to cover the costs associated with your injuries is by accepting a settlement offer from the insurance carrier of the owner of the at-fault vehicle. This is because, when you decide to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, you often avoid long, drawn out legal battles in court over your personal injury claim. However, before you decide to accept a settlement offer tendered by an insurance company, it is important that you understand how insurance companies calculate settlement offers and how they determine when to refrain from making settlement offers.
Who Determines The Amount Of The Settlement Offer in Parsippany, NJ?
Depending on which insurance company you are filing a personal injury claim with, the person who calculates the value of your claim and makes settlement offers accordingly is called either a claims adjuster or an independent insurance adjuster. A claims adjuster is someone employed in-house by the insurance company to determine the value of personal injury claims. An independent insurance adjuster is someone who works for the insurance company on a contractor basis to determine the value of personal injury claims. There is essentially no difference between the role of claims adjusters and the role of independent insurance adjusters.
Factors Adjusters Consider To Calculate The Value Of A Claim in NJ
Whether your claim is investigated by a claims adjuster or an independent insurance adjuster, both will delve extensively into the circumstances surrounding the accident, your medical history, and even facets of your personal life in order to determine the appropriate settlement offer amount to tender to you. Specifically, adjusters will research, gather, and analyze the following information when determining the value of your claim:
- Written accounts of the accident, including statements made by you, the at-fault driver, and any police report created because of the accident;
- All medical records related to diagnosis and treatment of the claimed injury;
- All medical bills accrued to treat the claimed injury;
- The injured person’s past leave and earning statements if lost wages are being claimed;
- All past medical records of the injured person;
- Documentation related to any prior insurance claims the injured person has made;
- Evidence of the injured person’s character and past criminal history;
In addition to the above-described documentation, adjusters may even conduct their own interviews of you, any witnesses to the accident, and the doctor that treated your injuries.
Determining When And How Much To Offer You after a New Jersey Accident
After obtaining the information relevant to your claim, adjusters can determine if you are partially at-fault for the accident, the severity of your injuries, whether any past medical conditions contributed to you sustaining your current injuries, and whether you are a likable plaintiff that will appear credible to a jury. If you are not at all at-fault for the accident, you sustained severe injuries in the accident, you have no past medical conditions, and you are a likable plaintiff, odds are that an adjuster will offer you a higher settlement offer than if you were partially at-fault, sustained minor injuries, have past medical conditions, and you are an unlikeable plaintiff. This is because the more factors that are favorable to your claim, the more apt you are to win a bigger monetary award if you went to trial on that claim.
However, if an adjuster believes you are hiding information or there are facts that could hinder you from obtaining a monetary award at a potential trial, adjusters may tender only meager settlement offers or may not even tender you an offer at all. This is because adjusters are employed to obtain the lowest possible settlement on behalf of the insurance company. Accordingly, if adjusters think you will lose at trial, they will tend to offer you little to no settlement.
Nonetheless, whether you are tendered no offer, a meager, or a substantial settlement offer, adjusters cannot make offers that are higher than the insured’s policy limit. Accordingly, if you believe your claim is worth more than is offered, it is your prerogative to reject the offer and proceed to trial on a personal injury claim.
Contact a Morristown Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious personal injuries due to a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Hanlon Dunn Robertson Schwartz represent clients in personal injury lawsuits in Parsippany, Edison, New Brunswick, Morristown, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 267-8895 or email us to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 33 Market Street, Morristown, NJ 07960, as well as offices in New Brunswick.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.