Over the 48 years I’ve been practicing law, I’ve seen insurance companies try to swindle injured people out of thousands of dollars time and again. The biggest advantage they have over the average accident victim is simple – knowledge. I’ve been dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters for decades. I know all too well the dishonest tricks they use to fool seriously injured people into taking small settlements.
In this series I outline everything you need to know about these secret tactics – how they can harm you and how we at the Ken Nunn Law Office combat them to get you the settlement you deserve. I discuss things to watch out for while getting your car repaired, mind games insurance adjusters play to get injured people to accept small settlements, legal traps and loopholes they use to avoid paying you your full settlement, and how they go about gathering evidence to dismiss or diminish your claim. I also explain why it is so important to have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner to fight them on your behalf.
As you read my reports, please note that every situation is different. The only way to accurately determine the value of a case is to look at the particular facts in play. If you’ve been injured in an accident, do not hesitate to call me at 1-800-CALL-KEN to discuss the specifics of your situation. We answer phone calls 24/7 and there’s NEVER an attorney’s fee until we get money for you.
Atty. Ken Nunn, 11/16/15
Part 1: The Truth About Insurance Adjusters…
Over the years, when I hear that an insurance adjuster has retired or quit a particular insurance company, I interview them. Some of these ex-adjusters have told me they have had trouble sleeping at night! These same ex-adjusters told me about “nice people” who took “tiny checks” – only because “the people were nice” and “they did not have a lawyer on their side”. I recently talked with an insurance adjuster who worked for one of the largest, richest insurance companies in the country. She told me that her bosses demanded that she pay seriously injured people tiny checks. She told me, “I had trouble looking at myself in the mirror. I just couldn’t do it anymore. So, I quit.”
Some insurance adjusters have a heart – many don’t. It’s a “dog-eat-dog” world out there. I asked one ex-adjuster, “do you feel bad making ridiculously tiny offers on serious injury cases?”. He simply laughed. He said he was just protecting his job and doing what the insurance company told him to do. The adjuster was just following orders! They revealed strategies to me such as stalling, stonewalling or delaying making offers to injured people. A common strategy is to purposely wait until the financial pressure grows and grows and finally the injured person is forced to take a smaller settlement.
Some ex-adjusters told me they waited until Christmas or until they were sure the injured person was desperate for money and then a low ball offer would be made. Insurance companies sometimes have vast resources of information available to them about the injured person’s car payment, house payment, other bills that may be past due and if their house is about to be foreclosed. They then use that information to figure out when would be the best time to make a very small settlement offer. Unfortunately, a lot of injured people without lawyers say “yes” to these low offers. One former adjuster told me that she had been working for a large, well-known insurance company for 20 years and beginning about 10 years ago, the insurance company started a campaign of making “extremely small offers of settlement” to seriously injured people. She said the insurance company actually demands that their adjusters make ridiculously low offers of settlement and “if she didn’t, she would have been fired”.
One ex-adjuster even told me about giving high fives to each other when a seriously injured person accepts a tiny check. They actually brag to each other about getting a case settled way below true value. Other ex-adjusters also told me about the pressures they had from their bosses to make the settlement offers lower and lower and lower because the bosses received pay raises and bonuses for making more profit for the insurance company. Another former adjuster told me he had “trouble going home to face his family and friends and going to church knowing that his bosses demanded that only very low offers of settlement be made to people without lawyers”. Some adjusters have even argued with their bosses that the low offer was not fair. But the adjuster was told to make the small settlement offer anyway.
Ex-adjusters have also confessed to me of making low settlement offers to elderly injured people, expecting the elderly person to die before a trial can be scheduled – a truly heartless business decision. The ex-adjuster also told me that it is common to make very low offers to injured people who had out-of-state accidents while on vacation. The insurance companies know how difficult it is for the injured person to return to the state for a trial.
Sometimes, if an insurance adjuster is successful in getting you to take a tiny check, they may be eligible for a big bonus. This is why you need an experienced, aggressive personal injury lawyer on your side to combat them. Most of my clients only want to be treated fairly. I have said many times, “If insurance companies treated my clients fairly, I wouldn’t have a law practice!”
I stand between the insurance company and my clients everyday making sure that the insurance companies treat my clients fairly. From time to time, I will continue interviewing ex-adjusters in the hopes of getting more inside information to help my clients get the settlements they deserve. I have spent the past 48 years tracking, investigating, studying and analyzing insurance companies and their negotiation habits. I have found that the more I know about insurance companies, the better settlements I get my clients.
That said, this is only Part 1 of my ongoing Secrets Insurance Companies Do Not Want You to Know series. To find out more about how insurance companies take advantage of people like you, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @Ken_Nunn_Law. Remember, knowledge is power. If you know someone who has been injured, do them a favor and share this information with them.