Can I Trust the Claims Adjuster?

No - maybe. There are two types of insurance relationships, first party coverage which is with your own company and third party coverage which describes your relationship with the liability insurer of the party that caused injury to you. In the first instance, your company owes you a duty of good faith and fair dealing under the Washington Administrative Rules and, in theory, is not supposed to put its interests ahead of yours. Hence, the adjuster for your company (assuming it is not the same company that represents the other party) is entitled to a kernel of trust. However, first party coverage also involve disputed personal injury protection claims and underinsured motorist claims which inevitably evolve into adversary proceedings lacking a community of interest.

The third party adjuster cannot be trusted. With the very limited exception of settling your property damage promptly when liability is reasonably clear (which is also required by the WAC rules) the third party adjuster's sole allegiance is with the party that injured you. The third party adjuster's first objective is to contact you and obtain your statement with the hope that you will say or disclose something that will make it difficult for you to recover your full damages. They will also try to seek information about your past medical history and ask you to sign authorizations and releases allowing access to your confidential records.

The second objective of the third party claims adjuster is to "take control" of the claimant. This means to discourage the injured person from obtaining legal representation in a serious bodily injury case. Insurance companies know that if a party is well represented in an injury claim, they will likely have to pay much more to the claimant.

They also know that if a person is not represented by a lawyer, they have the claimant in a "take it or leave it" position; i.e., they will tell you what your claim is worth and you will have to accept that. On the other hand, if you have an attorney, the playing field becomes level and you do have the option of trying your case in court if you are unable to come to an agreement with the third party insurer. Read When should I hire a lawyer?

With the help of The Farber Law Group, a Washington law firm experienced and knowledgeable in handling auto accident cases, you may be able to recover the full amount of your damages. Please contact us for more information and to schedule a free consultation.