If a car insurance adjuster or appraiser provides you with an estimate that you think is unreasonably low after an accident, there are various steps you can take in response.

Being involved in a car accident can be very costly. An accident can leave you with injuries that require expensive medical treatment. Your injuries might also prevent you from working and earning a wage.

Additionally, an accident is likely to damage your vehicle. Depending upon the severity of the damage, the cost of repairs may be fairly high.

If you have the right insurance in Massachusetts, you may not need to cover these expenses yourself. A car insurance adjuster or appraiser will evaluate the extent of the damage to your vehicle and determine how much it may cost to restore it to its original condition.

It is simply important to understand that insurance companies are still businesses. It is likely an insurance adjuster’s employer will have encouraged them to downplay the cost of repairs.

It’s possible you and/or the body shop handling your vehicle’s repairs will disagree with the car insurance adjuster’s estimate when they tell you how much money they think you are owed in these circumstances. This is an unfortunate situation to find yourself in, but it is not necessarily uncommon.

Luckily, you have options to consider if you disagree with the estimate provided by the car insurance adjuster or appraiser. They include the following.

Negotiating

You do not need to immediately accept the opinion of the appraiser when they provide you with an estimate. You can enter into negotiations with the insurance company, arguing that the estimate of the car insurance adjuster fails to accurately reflect the value of your vehicle (in a “total loss” scenario) or the cost of the damages and repairs necessary to restore it.

Just be aware that insurers have experience negotiating. Odds are good you do not. Thus, if you do plan on entering into negotiations with the insurance company, it is a wise idea to enlist the help of a legal professional who can negotiate more effectively than you could on your own.

Regardless, it is very important to study all the details of your policy before starting negotiations. Ideally, you should actually be thoroughly familiar with your policy’s details even before you are involved in an accident. Properly understanding what your policy does and does not cover is key to negotiating for an appropriate outcome.

…if you do plan on entering into negotiations with the insurance company, it is a wise idea to enlist the help of a legal professional…

Hire Your Own Appraiser

Appraisers are not infallible. They make mistakes. Again, they may also be discouraged from offering the full amount of financial compensation claimants deserve. The goal of an appraiser is often to protect the financial interests of their employer.

This results in a conflict of interest when an insurance adjuster is determining what it will cost to repair your vehicle properly. Although the insurance adjuster may pretend to be on your side, it is far more likely that they are going to approach the situation with the goal of minimizing how much money the insurance company has to pay you.

This is one of many reasons it can be helpful to hire a third-party appraiser if you disagree with the original estimate. Depending on the circumstances, you may have to pay for an appraiser’s services out of your own pocket, but in the long run, getting a second opinion can leave you better off financially. An attorney can also help you find a qualified appraiser if you are struggling to find one on your own.

All that said, you are far less likely to encounter this common frustration if you enlist the help of a legal professional from the start when seeking compensation after a car accident. A car accident lawyer can provide the aggressive representation you deserve, demonstrating to the car insurance adjuster why their estimate does not accurately reflect the total cost of the damage to your vehicle.

A car accident attorney can also help you recover proper compensation for other losses you may have sustained in a collision. These may include losses associated with injuries, such as medical bills and lost wages.

At Swartz & Swartz, P.C. our Boston car accident attorneys have substantial experience representing clients like yourself. We are prepared to help you pursue the compensation for which you may be eligible if you have been involved in a collision. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at (617) 742-1900 to set up a free consultation.

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James Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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