After a motor vehicle collision occurs, you may get calls from many different insurance company employees or adjusters. It is important to understand the differences between the adjusters as soon as your phone starts to ring.
This quick guide explains the different types of adjusters and can help you avoid some very common pitfalls and misunderstandings. These tips are important for anyone that is hurt in an accident – not just the catastrophically injured.
Independent Consultants, Independent Adjusting Firms and Independent Investigators
These adjusters are hired by Section A, B, C or D adjusters and do not have their own set function. Since independents can be vague or quick in explaining why they are calling you, I often have calls from people who are mistaken about the role an independent adjuster is playing in their case.
If you receive a call from an independent and you proceed to ask them where they are calling from, you should not be satisfied with an answer such as ‘the insurance company’ or ‘your insurance.’ Make sure that the adjuster specifies who exactly hired them and why! Only then can you know what information to share with the independent adjuster.
Section A Adjuster – Tort Claim
Section A adjusters usually represent the person that caused an accident. If a person hit you and caused a collision, the adjuster works for that person. So the Section A adjuster is working for an adverse party. This means that they are not on your side. You have to be very careful with the information that you provide to them.
When a person is in an accident, my standard advice is to ask that they do not communicate with the Section A adjuster at all until they receive proper legal advice.
Despite what may be insinuated, you have no obligation to meet with a Section A adjuster or to sign anything for them. If you deal with a Section A adjuster on your own without legal advice, you may inadvertently do significant damage to your case.
Section B Adjuster – No Fault Benefits
Section B adjusters work for your own insurance company. They process no fault medical, wage replacement and homemaker benefits after a collision.
You are required to communicate with the Section B adjuster and fill out the claim forms they send to you in order to activate your benefits.
If your Section B adjuster denies paying you benefits to which you feel entitled, you should consult a lawyer.
Section C Adjuster – Property Damage
Section C adjusters coordinate payment for your property damage. They only come into play when either another person caused the damage to your vehicle or you have optional collision coverage. You do need to coordinate and cooperate with the Section C adjuster in order to ensure that your vehicle is repaired and any other property damage claims are paid.
Section D Adjuster – Uninsured/ Unidentified Motorist
Section D adjusters are rare and only arise in cases where the other driver did not have insurance. In this case, an adjuster from your own insurance company (the Section D adjuster) essentially steps into the shoes of a Section A adjuster. All of the Section A advice above applies to a Section D adjuster in this situation.
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