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Jim Sellers, Attorney At Law

40+ Years of experience in Personal Injury Law in both Washington and Oregon


When people are hurt by someone else’s negligence, they may have some idea of what to do to help their claim, but they really do not know and mistakes are easy to make. One of the problems that injured persons do not understand, is that it does if an insurance adjuster for the at-fault party has unfettered access to the person who is injured and not represented by an attorney except to the extent that the injury victim simply refuses to engage with the adjuster until an attorney is retained.

injury victim

If an injured person engages with an adjuster, the adjuster calls and starts asking for information. To the person who is injured, that may seem innocent enough. Further, the adjuster may come across as the injured person’s best friend – as someone who is knowledgeable and helpful. In and of itself, this interaction is not problematic. What is problematic is that such access gives the adjuster an opportunity to explore the personality of the person who is injured. This knowledge can give the adjuster knowledge that the insurance company can use against the injured person even after the person eventually seeks representation by an attorney.

Is the injured person fearful of the claims process? Does the injured person have personality characteristics that a jury will not like or not relate to if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit? Is the injured person someone who will never file a lawsuit? Whether they will or will not is often irrelevant. What is relevant is if the adjuster has had an opportunity to find out the answers to these question by talking to the injury victim.

The answers to these and other questions will potentially favorably influence an insurance company’s judgment in negotiations toward a lower settlement of a claim. If the injured person is fearful, has adverse personality characteristics, and shows a willingness to roll over and settle a claim for less than what it is worth, that knowledge will carry through the injury victim’s later representation by an attorney, which can be used by the insurance carrier to manipulate the
injured person’s acceptance of a poor settlement.


On the other hand, if the injured person immediately seeks representation by an attorney, the likelihood that an insurance adjuster can size up the personal idiosyncrasies and vulnerable personality characteristics of the injured person may be greatly reduced or substantially eliminated. Then the only information that the adjuster can get easily is that shared with the adjuster by the attorney. The attorney then has a free hand to paint a picture of the injured person that the adjuster cannot or will have great difficulty getting past.

Ideally, when a new injury client comes in, they have never even talked to an adjuster. The adjuster does not even know what they look like. The adjuster is only fed the information that the attorney wants the adjuster to have. The adjuster has no opportunity to size the injury victim up to ascertain the injury victim’s vulnerability. To the adjuster, the injury victim is simply an attorney’s client who is injured in the manner reflected in the injury victim’s medical records that are fed to the adjuster by the victim’s attorney. That this injury victim is committed enough and assertive enough to be represented to protect their interests.

There are injury victims who can fence with adjuster’s as well as any attorney. However, these injury victims usually have little or no experience negotiating claims. That simply gives an insurance adjuster, who negotiates claims for a living, an advantage in ways that are not obvious. When an injury victim hires an experienced person injury attorney, that cuts off entirely the adjuster’s personal access to the injury victim. If done early, that can enhance the value of the claim.



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