Insurance adjusters, attorneys, plumbers, and building contractors fit into this category. There are good ones and there are bad ones. In order for you to know whether you're dealing with a competent adjuster, here are a few things to look for.
Be wary of quick settlement offers.
Although the Oregon statute governing insurance claims practices requires an adjuster to promptly investigate all claims and act in good faith, it sometimes does not happen. It makes no sense for an adjuster to make an offer of settlement when you have not even begun your medical care. Beware of an adjuster a makes a fast settlement offer.
Personal Injury Protection and Apportionment
We recently dealt with a claim involving the gentleman who had suffered a similar injury in the past motor vehicle collision. The adjuster insisted that there may be an "apportionment" for payment of medical expenses. This may be appropriate in a rare case. Just because somebody suffered a similar injury in the past, does not automatically mean that medical bills are entitled to an apportionment, meaning that a certain percentage of the need for medical care situated to some prior medical issue. In fact, Oregonians are protected from this kind of bad faith claim activity.
With the possible exception of talking with your own insurance company in order to obtain medical insurance benefits, we typically recommend the people do not agree to a taped statement with a liability insurance adjuster. We have seen first-hand where insurance adjusters will attempt to "box in" our client by trying to get them to make a statement that can be later taken out of context and used against them. If you find and adjusters getting hostile during a taped statement, you have every right to stop the conversation.
Unreturned Phone Calls
Although it does not happen often, some insurance adjusters will allow a claim to linger, hoping that the injured party well missed the critical time limit to file the claim in court, or have a claim resolved. We recently resolved a significant injury case where the adjuster simply "ignored" our client, and thankfully, we were able to file the case at the last minute, and obtain a substantial result for a client.
If an adjuster's not calling you back, you can seek out the supervisor, or better yet, contact the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services Insurance Division. You can file a consumer complaint. This agency is not known for strictly enforcing the insurance code, but an inquiry will be made, and you will probably get a response.
We deal with difficult adjusters all the time, and no what to ask, and how to ask. Call us if you have questions at 503-325-8600. If we can't help you, we will look for somebody who can.