They do want to do the right thing. But “the right thing” means something different to them than to you. And they are paid to protect the insurance company.
To an insurance adjuster or attorney, “doing the right thing” means protecting the insurance company against false claims, and lawyers who want too much. And if they screw up, not doing this version of “the right thing” – in the sense of protecting the insurance company – means getting fired.
I have had at least one lawsuit where I filed a lawsuit knowing that the lawsuit was almost certainly filed too late – it was past the statute of limitations.
(I was working for an insurance company, which had paid a claim and wanted to get their money back from the insurance company for the person who caused the accident. The company got me what I needed to file the lawsuit after the last date suit could be filed. And I say “almost certainly” because the statute of limitations can be extended by certain things, such as a defendant’s absence from the state under certain conditions. You cannot know until after you file suit, and ask the defendant a number of questions.)
An adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company called me up – apparently without checking the filing date – and offered me 2/3 of the amount I had asked for in the lawsuit. I immediately faxed a letter back to the adjuster accepting the offer.
She called me an hour later and asked when I had filed the lawsuit. I told her. She said she wouldn’t pay. I said we had a deal.
I referred the lawsuit to another lawyer for the insurance company for which I worked – I was now a witness to the terms of the deal, and could not testify. The other driver’s insurance company fought the lawsuit, and then settled after a couple months for the original settlement amount.
I never heard again from the adjuster who made the original settlement. I am pretty sure she was fired.
The question in all this was never whether the other insurance company owed the money, or how much. They clearly did. The question for them was whether they could get the amount reduced.
Insurance company adjusters and attorneys can rationalize just about offer – short of lying – by saying that there is no way to know what a jury will award for an injury, or for property damage.
The “right” thing, according to the other insurance company, though, was not to pay the bill. The “right thing” was to minimize the bill – regardless whether it was the proper amount. Their adjuster failed to do this – in a blatant manner – so she was fired.
Obviously, you cannot rely on the insurance company to provide you with all of the information you need to evaluate your lawsuit. You certainly cannot use their offer as a barometer of what your lawsuit is worth.
If you want someone who can level the playing field, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.
Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.