Keeping your powder dry


What do you do when someone won’t call you back? I had an adjuster write to me on a case and ask me to contact him to set up a time to talk, ostensibly about settlement. 

I called. I emailed. Called and emailed again. No response. 

The statute was coming up soon but this was a small case, not worth filing on unless there is no other choice.

What do you do?

You could keep trying. More calls and letters and emails, increasingly urgent and sterner, maybe threatening, or maybe using some humor. That’s what most lawyers do most of the time, and it works most of the time. 

Another option is to go around the adjuster. 

Call their supervisor and ask if the claim has been re-assigned, “because I can’t seem to get ahold of him and I’m going to have to file soon”. 

The supervisor looks at the file, see’s it’s ripe for settlement, rattles the adjuster’s cage, and you get a call. 

That woks. But sometimes it pisses off the adjuster (and his supervisors) and since you will have to deal with one or both of them on other cases, maybe it’s better to use the “idea” of talking to the supervisor to wake up the adjuster. 

Leave another message for the adjuster and ask if they’re still handling the claim. Tell them you’re concerned they might not be getting your messages, or they’re ill, (and you’ll have to file soon).

And then you say if you don’t hear from them, you’ll contact their supervisor to find out. 

Not in a threatening way but in a way that suggests, “this is a problem for both of us, let’s work together to resolve it”.

You know they don’t want you to call their supervisor. It makes them look bad. They also don’t want to force you to file because it makes more work for them (and they look bad). So they call. 

By positioning the issue as a mutual problem, you increase the odds of getting a mutual solution.

You can always play hardball. But maybe it’s best to save that for another case.