I often get phone calls from people as they approach the two-year limitation date (the date by which you have to file a Statement of Claim or lose your claim entirely). They tell me that the adjuster for the other driver has been very polite and helpful since the time of the accident and often ask me if they should continue to deal with them directly.
The problem with dealing with the other driver’s insurance adjuster directly is that he/she knows the ‘rules of the game’ but you don’t.
Imagine arriving as an alien and being put in front of a hockey game or football game and trying to figure out why the referee is blowing the whistle. There are things that the adjuster is allowed to do and things that they aren’t allowed to do. Without knowing the ‘rules of the game’, it is impossible to keep them honest. A good example of this is a call I received today from someone asking if it was okay to provide the other driver’s adjuster with an Authorization to obtain medical records. The caller told me that they had ‘nothing to hide’ and that surely the insurance company had the right to see the caller’s medical history?
The caller was surprised when I told her that the purpose of the adjuster wanting the medical records was to be able to point to anything in her medical history that might provide an excuse for not paying a reasonable settlement. The ‘rules of the game’ are that the insurance company is actually only entitled to ‘relevant and material’ medical documents – something that a lawyer is trained to determine.
Even though the adjuster seems nice, remember that his or her interest is in minimizing the value of your claim. He/she is paid to minimize claims – smaller claims means bigger profits for the insurance company.