PI 44D Page – Negotiation Tactics – Preliminary Evaluation

Jacksonville personal injury lawyer

How A Claims Adjuster Might Use Preliminary Evaluation To Reduce A Personal Injury Settlement

Clients of a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer often have questions about a tactic used by claims adjusters called “preliminary evaluation.”

How The Adjuster Will Use Preliminary Evaluation

An adjuster will utilize the preliminary evaluation technique to try and get a gauge on what the minimum amount will be to settle the case. It’s akin to asking the claimant, “How much are you willing to take?” If, for example, a case’s value is estimated to be $25,000 to $30,000, a demand letter will be sent, with an amount requested to settle the case at $50,000. The adjuster might use delaying tactics before replying: “I’ve examined this file and am making an attempt to formulate a preliminary evaluation prior to bringing it to the claims supervisor or committee. I can’t pay $50,000. The initial evaluation I have arrived at is approximately $30,000 to $35,000. Would that be sufficient?”

In this way, the adjuster gives numbers for a settlement within a range that the company might find agreeable. The amount is higher than the attorney’s original value for the case and it might be accepted.

What the adjuster will then do is call the attorney and say that the claims committee rejected the preliminary evaluation amount and reduced it to $20,000. However, the adjuster will then say that he or she was able to convince the committee to raise the offer to $25,000. The hope is that the attorney will be happy with the offer and take it even though it is far lower than what the initial hopes for a settlement were. The adjuster might then try to reduce the offer again, knowing that an attorney and claimant won’t want to fight over an extra $2,000. This is how it turns into a “How much will you take?” strategy.

Speak To An Experienced Attorney From The Jacksonville Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have questions about the preliminary evaluation tactic, call injury lawyer John Fagan at 904-278-1000 today.

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