Quick Take: The Property Damage Trap

Quick Take: The Property Damage Trap

I've been handling car accident cases for a long time and one way I've seen insurance adjusters make things difficult for my clients is by accepting fault for an accident out of pure, unadulterated laziness. In a lot of cases, while working out property damage claims, the adjusters will come to some consensus where one person is 15% liable and the other is 85% liable. The adjusters will pay the property claims based on their fantastical liability attribution.

They shouldn’t. Those numbers are nonsense.

Later on, the person will come to me because their neck or back is still hurting. I will review the police report, talk to the new client, and find out about the adjusters' liability assessment. In a lot of cases, I'll mutter something untoward about the adjuster under my breath. Let me tell you why.

The adjuster accepting 15% has made my client's case more difficult. The facts will be something ridiculous, like a rear-end collision where my client was stopped. Or the other driver pulled out from a stop sign to turn left in front of my client. In both of those cases, the fault is crystal clear and you would be hard pressed to assign any actual fault to my client, but their insurance carrier just accepted 15% because it made their lives easier. So now, instead of negotiating in good faith, I have to not only convince the insurance company to pay a fair settlement for the injury, but have to convince them that their liability assessment is flat wrong.

So here is the deal. If you are in a car accident and are working out the property damage with the adjuster and they try to assign some of the liability to you, it would be a good idea to call a lawyer to talk it over. Your insurance company is not interested in protecting your rights.

TL;DR - Never trust insurance companies. Always call a lawyer.