Thankfully we live in a state that requires a minimum amount of insurance coverage, when driving a motor vehicle. Texas state law requires all motor vehicle drivers to carry auto liability insurance in the form of Bodily Injury Coverage and Property Damage Coverage. As well, if the vehicle is still under lien, the lender will require that the policy holder also carry Collision and Comprehensive Coverage. In Texas the required minimum coverage for Bodily Injury Liability Coverage is:
- $20,000 per person injured in any one accident
- $40,000 for all persons injured in any one accident
The required minimum coverage for Property Damage is $15,000 for injury to or destruction of the property of others in any one accident.
Car accidents are extremely expensive. This is the reason why so many car owners choose to get insurance policies, to help protect their finances if they ever get involved in one. Having an insurance policy does not automatically mean you’re worry free after an accident. Insurance companies do not automatically approve any claim for compensation just because you’ve been faithful customer.
Usually after an accident, an insurance adjuster will meet up with you to discuss your possible settlement amount. An insurance adjuster, or a claims adjuster, is the person that investigates insurance claims by interviewing the claimant and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records, and inspecting property damage to determine the extent of the insurers’ liability, an eventually negotiate a settlement for your accident which would not be detrimental to the company. So more often than not, the objective of the adjuster is to settle for as low a figure as possible.
Dealing with a car accident on your own can become overwhelming. Contacting your accident lawyer, will allow your attorney to review your case before the insurance company does and they will become an advocate for you during your time of need.
So to answer the question, how does an insurance adjuster determine a settlement amount?
The adjuster determines:
Value of the car
Amount of damages sustained by the car
Type of medical injury suffered
Pain and suffering (depending on your personal policy)
Lost wages ( also depends on your policy)
Once those factors have been determined and the adjuster makes you an offer, it does not mean that you will get the amount of insurance money that you think you deserve. Most insurance adjusters will try to dispute your claims. Sometimes, they would say that you’re not covered because the accident was your fault. There are also instances when they would question your injuries, the veracity of your medical report, and even try to relate your car accident injury to a previously existing one just to pay as little amount as possible.
In instances such as these, when your insurance adjuster is trying to pay you less than what you believe you deserve, it would be advisable to seek the advice of a lawyer. Often, your lawyer will be able to outwit the insurance adjuster and give you the compensation you deserve.