Cognitive Brain Injury Claim Settlement Adjuster Comments
In the spring of 2009, I evaluated a cognitive brain injury claim in Maryland. The claimant was a young woman who was having memory and concentration issues which appeared to be legitimate and permanent (at least the symptoms had lasted for a couple of years and did not appear to be improving and her diagnosing specialist wasn’t one who was often involved in personal injury cases). I evaluated the case at policy limits of $100,000 and quickly received settlement authority for that amount from my “superiors”. I felt that I would be lucky to be able to get a signed full and final release to protect my policy holder.
Unfortunately for the claimant, her attorney made a settlement demand before I made my initial settlement offer. He asked for $75,000.00. Since all of my work telephone calls were recorded, I couldn’t just agree to send him the check or I would have been reprimanded or worse (remember that this was during the beginning of a recession and companies were laying off workers left and right). I got paid to negotiate, so I offered $65,000.00, which he immediately accepted.
That case kept me up at night for weeks. I still feel terrible about it two years later. If I had made the first move, I would have been obliged to offer $85,000.00 which was 85% of my top settlement authority and even if the attorney had accepted that first offer, he would have netted about $12,500 more for his client (I’m sure his fee was 33% or something like that). If he had held out for the policy limits of $100,000, he would have netted her another $23,100.00. That isn’t really pocket change to most people.
The funny thing about the whole thing was that I was praised by my company for making such a good settlement: I saved the company $35,000, which was the equivalent of a new adjuster’s salary for one year, so I got a coupon for one hour off work. Crazy.This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.