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As a former liability adjuster, I cannot count the times that an individual threatened a lawsuit in an attempt to get more money.

I would like to make the point that adjusters are calloused to the threat of a lawsuit.  Many times, the adjuster’s ignorance is the reason they do not respond.  It is rare for an adjuster to actually be involved in the negotiation of an actual suit, so they never get real experience and hardly ever actually hear or see what the staff attorney or hired attorney does to get the suit settled.  Threatening a suit is rarely useful unless the threat is clearly credible.

As a recovery adjuster, I was in charge of initiating suits against other parties to recovery claim damages, and many times an insurance company was on the other end.

No matter how many times I threatened suit, I rarely ever got a response from the threat.  What I began to do was prepare a petition (lawsuit), and then fax or e-mail it over to the claims department indicating when I intended to file the suit.  Normally, this would get some attention as it was credible.  I mean, all I had to do was put a little money with the petition and mail it to the court and a suit would ensue.  Sometimes, this tactic did not get a response and so I lived up to the promise of suit and filed the paperwork when I indicated that I would.  This always got a response because otherwise, the person I sued would lose by default.

The point is that the threat of suit is nothing new to an adjuster, but a real suit is a different story.  It is not that hard to get a small claims suit going, and the judgment that comes from a small claims court is just as powerful as a judgment that comes from any other court.  The insurance companies cloak themselves behind the complex laws of the court system, but they don’t count on intelligent people handling their own suit in small claims court.  I have had many cases where the outcome was easy to determine, yet I was still not able to get the claim settled fairly because of an egotistical adjuster or claims manager.  Once a suit was initiated, and the defendant served, then I was almost always able to get a different person on the phone and erase the attitude of the previous handler.  At least half of the suits I filed never went to court.

Be tough.

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