To become a claims adjuster in Florida, one must only be a legal adult resident, apply, submit the fees, be fingerprinted, and complete a course or the Florida Adjuster Examination.
The course, it should be noted, includes only 40 hours of class time and self-study – and is not even required if you can pass the examination.
Once someone is licensed as a claims adjuster, they generally find employment at an insurance agency, where their paycheck is dependent upon the company’s prosperity. It’s not hard to guess that the more money the insurance company pays out, the less prosperous they are.
So what does that mean for you when you’re injured in an accident?
After your accident, your insurance company will usually assign a claims adjuster to your case. This adjuster may be very professional and may even be genuinely compassionate about your injuries and damages. Your adjuster will not, however, be able to put your interests ahead of the interests of his employer, even if he completely understands the economic impact of your accident. Your adjuster will not offer you more than the bare minimum for your claim – and he may even attempt to settle the case quickly, before you know the full extent of your injuries.
From the beginning of your case, therefore, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:
- Accuracy is better than courtesy. If you minimize your pain to be polite, that simple “I’m doing well today” could be used against you in a future court action when you try to explain your lingering daily pain. You don’t want to have to try to explain that when you said “well,” what you really meant was “heavily medicated” or “better than yesterday, when I couldn’t even get out of bed.” Never sugarcoat your damages and injuries.
- Don’t express optimism. If you express careful optimism, you may find that your statement “Oh, I’m sure I’ll be back to work in a week or so” could come back to haunt you if you find that your injuries were more severe than you hoped. Instead, say something to the effect of “I’m not sure when I’ll be back to work. I’ll talk to my doctor next week.” If the insurance adjuster asks you to estimate your recovery period, resist: Even your doctor may be unable to really know how long it will take.
- Hire legal counsel as early as possible. One of the greatest benefits to having an attorney in a personal injury case is that your attorney can deal with your claims adjuster for you – and can tell you if the offer will actually cover your likely damages.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, we have years of experience in working with insurance claims adjusters on behalf of our clients. If you’ve been injured in an accident in the Daytona Beach area, contact us today for a free consultation. Or call us at (386) 255-6400.