Want to learn how to maximize insurance settlement?
We are going to go over questions that are real actual questions that we ask and teach our case managers and our lawyers to ask the insurance adjuster when they’re getting ready to negotiate a claim.
Here are 11 questions that you can ask the insurance adjuster that will help maximize the value of your injury case settlement.
Question #1: What Are The Policy Limits Of Your Insurer?
Question number one to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: What are the policy limits of your insurer?
Insurance adjusters like it when you don’t ask what the policy limits are because they want you to settle your claim for not only less than the value of your claim but they want to settle it for less than what the policy limits of what the insured are.
Every insurance company, when they write policy, covers only a certain amount. And the first question you need to ask is, what is that amount that you’re going to cover?
Question #2: What Is Your Authority To Settle The Claim?
Question number two to ask your insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: What is your authority to settle the claim?
Regardless of what the policy limit is, every insurance adjuster will have done a preliminary evaluation of your claim, they’ll have talked to their supervisor or the people in charge, and they’ll have an authority limit of what they’re allowed to settle the claim is. So, ask them.
They’re probably not gonna give you the right answer, but you’re gonna learn more in the process by asking them, and the more information you get, the better.
Question #3: Do You Agree That The Other Driver Is At Fault?
Question number three to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: Do you agree that the other driver is at fault?
And if not, what portion of liability are you assigning to my client?
It’s important to know. They are probably not going to tell you at first, but it’s important to know exactly from the insurance company’s perspective who they think is at fault in the accident, or do they think that there’s some fault on both drivers?
Question #4: What Have You Paid For This Exact Same Injury For Other Claimants Before?
Question number four to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: What have you paid for this exact same injury for other claimants before?
Insurance companies keep immaculate records. They keep records of exactly what they paid for every type of claim, for every type of injury. And so for you, you can ask the insurance adjuster, what is it that you’ve paid before for another claim that has the exact same type of injury?
Question #5: What Do You Have For The Dollar Amount Of My Client’s Medical Bills?
Question number five to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: What do you have for the dollar amount of my client’s medical bills?
Medical bills are economic damages. ‘There is a bright-line number to them, and presumably, before you’ve negotiated, you’ve sent over a demand package and all the supporting documents including the medical bills.
But just because you’ve sent it over there doesn’t mean that the insurance attorney is going to agree with what your number is for medical bills.
Sometimes they discount it due to health insurance, or they’ll discount it because they believe that the medical provider is going to discount it later.
When you’re negotiating, you want to make sure that certain facts that you have been agreed upon. So ask the insurance adjuster, “What is it that you have for my client’s medical bills? “What’s the actual number?”
Question #6: Do You Agree That My Client Has A Permanent Injury And As Such, Do You Agree That Pain And Suffering Is An Appropriate Measure In This Case?
Question number six to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: Do you agree that my client has a permanent injury, and as such, do you agree that pain and suffering is an appropriate measure in this case?
So Florida, like other States, has what’s called a tort threshold. And that means that pain and suffering can only be awarded if there’s a permanent injury.
It’s very likely that your client does have a permanent injury, and so ask the insurance attorney, “Do you agree with that?”.
If the answer is yes, then you could absolutely expect that the insurance attorney, or the insurance adjuster, is calculating that into the settlement award.
And if the answer is no, then you’re probably going to find that you’re not going to get the insurance adjuster to get to the value that you deem to be appropriate, at least pre-suit.
Question #7: What Do You Think The Bad Facts Of My Case Are?
Question number seven to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: What do you think the bad facts of my case are?
And that’s a funny question to ask, right? Because you’re asking the insurance adjuster to tell you why they think their case is so good. But it’s a learning, discovery mechanism. So you are asking the insurance adjuster to put out there what do they think would devalue your claim, and it’s an opportunity then, now that you know what they’re thinking and they’ve been exposed, for you to rebut them, whether it be with medical records, or testimony, or some other sort of evidence, to increase the value of your claim.
Question #8: How Many Cases Have You Made An Offer To Settle That Was Then Rejected By The Claimant, Went To A Jury Trial, And Then The Jury Awarded A Higher Settlement Value Than What You Had Offered?
Question number eight to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: How many cases have you made an offer to settle that was then rejected by the claimant, went to a personal injury trial, and then the jury awarded a higher settlement value than what you had offered?
Again, insurance adjusters keep unbelievable records; they have records about everything.
And so what you’re doing is you wanna know, and you wanna get the insurance adjuster to admit, that they’ve low-balled cases before; that their valuation of cases has been low, lower than what a jury, a jury of your client’s peers, might award.
Question #9: How Many Times Have You Made Your Last Final Offer, And Then Subsequently Made A Higher Offer Than What Your Last Final Offer Was?
Question number nine to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: How many times have you made your last final offer, and then subsequently made a higher offer than what your last final offer was?
I can’t tell you how many times this has happened, but insurance adjusters like to come and try to shut things down and say, “Listen, this is my offer, this is my final offer.”
And the reality is, in most cases, that’s just not true. So ask them that question. It thaws things out, gets them thinking.
And usually, they’ll get a concession that there’s a little bit more wiggle room to be had in your negotiation.
Question #10: How Many Times Have You Made Your Last Final Offer, And Then Subsequently Made A Higher Offer Than What Your Last Final Offer Was?
Number 10 question to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: How many times has your supervisor overridden what your best offer was and increased the value of the settlement claim?
Supervisors are really important, and it’s not every case and every insurance company that you can jump ahead and get to the supervisor.
But, what you’re telegraphing to the insurance adjuster is, look, I think that that offer you made is unfair, it’s way too low, and because you as an insurance company have a duty to act in good faith towards your insured,
I’m gonna tattle tale on you and I’m gonna go to your supervisor. Sometimes this can be enough to get the insurance adjuster to kind of start to wiggle a little bit more with you.
Question #11: If Your Son Or Daughter Was Injured In An Auto Accident With The Same Facts And The Circumstances That My Client Has In This Case, Would You Advise Your Son Or Daughter To Take The Same Offer That You’re Offering?
Question number 11 to ask the insurance adjuster to maximize insurance settlement: If your son or daughter was injured in an auto accident with the same facts and the circumstances that my client has in this case, would you advise your son or daughter to take the same offer that you’re offering?
And this is a great question when you’re getting towards the end of your negotiations, because you can listen to the response from the insurance adjuster, and get a feeling as to whether the insurance adjuster truly believes that the numbers that you’re talking about max value of the case, or if the insurance adjuster doesn’t believe so. In which case, push for more, or consider filing a lawsuit.