In a car accident situation, the amount of money a driver receives for property damage generally depends on the insurance coverage used to compensate for the property damage.
Disputes often arise with an insurance adjuster after a driver receives less money than anticipated. In fact, the driver may receive no payout at all from the insurance adjuster. In such cases, legal action may be needed to resolve any disputes or discrepancies involved in the situation.
What Can I Do about an Insurance Adjuster Dispute?
A driver has a variety of options to resolve a dispute with a car insurance adjuster. For example, the driver can request a senior adjuster in the insurance company to handle their claim. Alternatively, they may:
- Invoke the insurance policy’s appraisal clause;
- File a complaint with the state’s insurance office;
- Consider arbitration or mediation; and/or
- Sue the insurance company.
The choice of dispute resolution may depend on various factors, including:
- The type of policy the covered party has;
- The amount of damage sustained from the accident; and
- Whether the person was at fault or negligent in the accident.
What is an Insurance Policy’s Appraisal Clause?
The majority of auto insurance policies contain an appraisal clause that can be invoked during a dispute between the driver and the insurer. If no agreement is reached, the driver or insurance company can demand a car appraisal.
The vehicle is appraised by a third party called an umpire, who will determine the car’s value as well as the amount of damage sustained. Each party will be responsible for paying for their own appraiser. They share the cost of hiring an umpire.
Can I File a Complaint with the State’s Insurance Office?
Each insurance agent, adjuster, broker, and company is licensed by a state’s insurance office. A driver can file a complaint about the low amount of the payout. The insurance office will investigate the claim and determine the specific outcome. This option may be a suitable alternative if an appraisal is insufficient, or if there are other issues that need resolving.
What is Mediation in an Insurance Adjuster Dispute?
In a car accident setting, the plaintiff and the insurance adjuster may choose to resolve their disputes through mediation. Mediation is an alternative resolution method. Rather than going to court, the parties present their issues to a neutral third-party mediator.
The mediator will then listen to the facts and help both parties reach a mutually agreed-upon resolution to their dispute. The parties will then meet the conditions of the resolution afterwards. Both parties must agree to attending the mediation hearing(s).
What about Arbitration?
Many insurance companies include arbitration clauses in their contracts. If there is an arbitration clause in the driver’s contract with the insurance company, they may be required to attempt to resolve their dispute with the insurance company through arbitration before they are allowed to sue the insurance company in court.
Arbitration is similar to mediation. Like in mediation, both parties present their sides to a third party. Unlike mediation, arbitration is a much more formal process, with the third party determining the outcome of the case on their own without the input of either the driver or the insurance company. The decisions are usually binding, as the parties tend to agree, before going in, to adhere to the outcome of the arbitration.
What if I Need to go to Court and File a Lawsuit?
If these methods are not sufficient to resolve the dispute between the driver and the insurance company, it may be necessary for the driver to file lawsuit. The court will examine the evidence in dispute and will prescribe a suitable remedy for the parties to follow. In some cases, the case may involve an entire insurance company rather than just a single insurance adjuster. The court may assist in disputes over:
- Monetary amounts in dispute;
- The extent of property damage;
- Disputes over policies, written statements, or other documents; and
- Various other legal issues and dispute subject matter.
If you want to file a lawsuit in court, it is important you have the necessary documents and evidence to support your claim before you file your lawsuit with the court. Taking these steps will help you have the best outcome possible.
Should I Contact an Attorney about Suing an Insurance Adjuster?
Litigation is usually the last step in resolving a dispute with an insurance adjuster. Talk to a personal injury attorney near you about the dispute and your best legal recourse. Your attorney can provide you with advice and guidance regarding your options.