A police car crashed into a San Francisco home on March 6 when it swerved to avoid a turning car and lost control. The two police officers occupying the vehicle were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Meanwhile, the homeowner, Margarita Gomez, was inside when the officers crashed into the garage. According to SF Gate, Mrs. Gomez heard screeching outside and was bracing for the sounds of a collision, but instead was shocked by the noise of a car slamming into her home.
Luckily, no one in the house was injured. However, Mrs. Gomez must now wait for the insurance adjuster to come out and evaluate her claim for the extensive property damage. Claimants like Mrs. Gomez should keep in mind that the adjuster works for the insurance company and not for them. The insurance company has an incentive to resolve the claim as quickly as possible, which sounds good for claimants, but claimants’ desire to receive the claim money quickly makes them susceptible to pressure to accept a relatively low offer in order to move the claim along. Other common tactics reported by Hector Quiroga, J.D. include, calling at inconvenient times to rush the claimant and also assigning multiple agents to one case so that claimants must explain their position multiple times and leaving them with possibly incongruent answers. Agents may also take the value of the claim out of context by giving examples of what the claimant can buy with the money, instead of the discussing the actual value of the claim.
If you have submitted a claim to an insurance company, NOLO recommends approach any offers with caution. If another party is at fault you will likely be dealing with that party’s insurance company In that case, you may have to argue who the other party’s liability for the damage and whether you contributed to the accident, on top of the actual dollar amount of damages. Before accepting any insurance offers over the phone, you should hang up and think over the offer and whether it really covers the damages and other hidden costs you incurred. If injuries were involved, you should roughly calculate past and future lost wages and pain and suffering. If the claim is unacceptable, but the insurance company is unyielding or using questionable tactics, you might want to consult an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company for you.
Personal injury and insurance attorneys have experience working with insurance companies and understand the strategies the insurance companies use to keep insurance claims as low as possible. An insurance lawyer is able to keep the totality of the circumstances in mind and avoid the pressures of the insurance company. Additionally, an attorney will craft an effective demand letter to the insurance company, presenting the evidence of property or physical damage and painting a vivid picture of the true damage caused to the claimant. Additionally, an attorney will draft a settlement agreement that adheres to the insurance company’s accepted procedure, but also serves the client’s best interests.