State Farm started business in 1922 and is currently the largest car insurance company in the U.S., so you or the other party in a car accident may have a State Farm insurance policy.
If you are in an accident where you’ve sustained injuries, and you or the other driver has a State Farm insurance policy, you want a car accident lawyer to explain their policies and practices.
Data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests that State Farm has received relatively fewer complaints about auto insurance than its industry peers. However, injury victims have faced unnecessary challenges with their State Farm claims, especially when they lacked legal representation.
What Is an Injury Claim?
An injury claim is the legal process through which an individual seeks compensation for injuries due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongful actions. This compensation for the damages and losses incurred due to the injury typically comes from the responsible party’s insurance company.
Injury claims can arise from a wide range of situations, including motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, product defects, workplace incidents, dog bites, and other accidents and incidents. To initiate an injury claim, the injured party, known as the plaintiff, typically engages the services of a personal injury attorney.
- Evaluates the circumstances of the case
- Gathers evidence
- Communicates with insurance companies
- Negotiates on behalf of the plaintiff to secure a fair settlement
The compensation sought in an injury claim can cover various types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses: This includes costs related to medical care, including emergency services, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, and continued medical treatment.
- Lost income: Compensation for the income lost due to the inability to work during recovery, time off of work to attend medical appointments, or due to long-term disabilities caused by the injury.
- Pain and suffering: Non-economic damages account for the physical and emotional distress experienced due to the injury.
- Property damage: When the injury is associated with damage to personal property, such as in a car accident, the injured party deserves compensation to repair the property or purchase new property.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Compensation for the loss of ability to enjoy life’s activities and experiences as before the injury.
- Punitive damages: In instances of extreme negligence or intentional harm, such as a drunk driving accident, the courts may award punitive damages to punish the responsible party.
Negotiations between the plaintiff’s attorney and the insurance company are common throughout the injury claim process. If you cannot reach a fair settlement through negotiation. In that case, the case may proceed to litigation involving a lawsuit and potential trial.
Injury claims provide a legal path for individuals to seek justice and financial recovery after suffering accident injuries from someone else’s actions. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure the best possible outcome and navigate the complexities of the legal process.
What is Bad Faith?
All claimants should know that insurance companies must engage in thorough and fair investigations, negotiations, and settlements for claims.
Insurance company bad faith practices include:
- Neglecting to properly investigate the claim
- Unreasonable delays in processing
- Failing to maintain effective communication
- Misinterpreting the terms of the policy
- Omitting critical information
- Offering inadequate claim payments
- Unjustified denial of coverage
- Rejecting legitimate requests for documentation
Initiating a State Farm Insurance Claim
When a motor vehicle accident occurs, either driver may report the accident to their insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the at-fault party hasn’t reported the accident to State Farm yet, the injured party has the right to do so. Getting the auto accident claims process started as soon as possible is in your best interests.
If a car accident attorney represents you, they will contact State Farm on your behalf to initiate your claim. State Farm will then assign your claim to one of its claims adjusters.
It’s the job of the claims adjuster to:
- Carefully review the information and documentation about the claim.
- Contact each party to request a recorded statement/interview.
- Collect and preserve additional evidence related to the claim—such as eyewitness statements, pictures, or video footage of the accident.
Be Careful Interacting With State Farm
If you have any interactions with a car insurance company on your own, you must recognize that the claims adjuster might come across as sympathetic, compassionate, and approachable. However, the claims adjuster and anyone representing State Farm or their legal representatives will advocate for the company, not you.
Knowing this, exercising caution in your communication with them is essential to the success of your claim. Don’t admit fault or disclose details of the accident. While responding truthfully to their basic questions, avoiding speculating on answers or volunteering additional information is advised. Be aware that the insurance representative can use your conversations to their advantage.
In addition, avoid discussing your medical condition with the adjuster and stop short of signing any medical record release without first seeking legal counsel. They can even exploit medical history unrelated to your accident-related injuries to reduce their settlement offer.
Any statements you make, whether recorded or not, can potentially be wielded by State Farm to minimize future settlement propositions. The claims adjuster’s role involves securing the lowest feasible settlement on behalf of State Farm. As such, their strategies may involve leveraging your statements to achieve this goal.
The best thing to tell State Farm is that you are hiring an accident attorney to handle your communications, so you politely decline to speak in-depth about the accident or your injuries until you have legal representation.
What If the Claims Adjuster Requests a Recorded Statement?
Following a car accident, it’s common for the insurance company to seek a recorded statement from you. However, providing such a statement can hurt your claim. The aftermath of an accident is a time of emotional distress.
Never give a recorded statement or respond to inquiries from the insurance company, especially if you’re experiencing pain, under medication, fatigued, or emotionally overwhelmed. Let your car accident lawyer handle all insurance company communications.
The claims adjuster might assert that a recorded statement is necessary for claim processing. While your own insurance policy might contain a “Cooperation Clause” mandating sharing certain information with your insurer, you are not obligated to provide a recorded statement if you’re pursuing a third-party injury claim against someone else’s insurance company.
Questioning during a recorded statement can pose potential risks, for example:
- Crash details: Accident victims are often shaken and may not clearly understand how the accident occurred. This confusion can lead to inaccurate information or a false assumption of responsibility, even if you weren’t at fault.
- Extent of injury: In the immediate aftermath of a crash, the full extent of your injuries might not be apparent, and you might not fully understand the necessary treatment. Providing premature or incomplete information about your injuries can affect your compensation.
- Past accidents or claims: Claims adjusters are skilled at asking questions that can lead to misleading answers about your claims history or actions. These inquiries often aim to portray you in a negative light.
Avoid providing a recorded statement without consulting a skilled personal injury attorney. Doing so will protect your rights and ensure you’re not accidentally compromising your claim due to the confusion and stress following the accident.
Negotiating With State Farm
Navigating the negotiation process for an insurance settlement can feel daunting. Often, insurance adjusters kick off the proceedings with a lowball offer, aiming to temper your expectations about the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Never engage in settlement negotiations on your own. Even if an offer seems reasonable, accepting it without a clear grasp of your claim’s true value can leave you with thousands of dollars of debt.
Insurance representatives often follow a strategy that starts with outright denying your entitlement to compensation or downplaying the amount they should provide. They might allege that your injuries aren’t real, were caused by a prior incident, or even argue you received unnecessary medical treatment.
A seasoned car accident attorney proves invaluable in dealing with insurance companies. Your attorney will thoroughly examine the insurance policy, establish the negligence or recklessness of the insured party, and thus establish the financial liability of the insured and the insurance company.
When negotiating with State Farm, one of our first steps is to determine the exact value of your claim. This process is often more complicated than it appears. While certain losses, such as medical expenses and lost income, can be quantified with relative ease, evaluating the severity of your injuries, the anticipated recovery timeline, and the potential long-term repercussions demands time and careful consideration.
Assigning a tangible value to these damages can be challenging, often requiring insights from medical and economic experts. Your attorney is well-versed in assessing your current and future financial needs and will likely draft a demand letter requesting the necessary compensation up to the at-fault party’s policy limit.
At that point, the ball is in State Farm’s court. You should expect them to counter with an offer that generally falls quite short of your requested amount. This initiates a back-and-forth negotiation process. In some instances, the insurance company might resist negotiation efforts altogether. This is where an attorney’s representation becomes even more valuable.
Sometimes, filing a personal injury lawsuit is the only way to let State Farm know that you and your attorney are serious about obtaining compensation for your injuries and damages. It demonstrates your commitment to pursuing the claim and moves the matter toward resolution so that you can move on with your life.
Managing a State Farm Injury Claim: Our Legal Approach
When handling a State Farm injury claim, our experienced team of lawyers follows a strategic and comprehensive approach to protect our clients’ rights and pursue fair compensation. Here’s an overview of how we navigate the process:
We begin by offering a free initial consultation where we listen attentively to your account of the accident, injuries, and the impact on your life. This helps us understand the specifics of your case and determine the best course of action.
Our legal team conducts a meticulous investigation into the accident. We gather evidence such as police reports, medical records, eyewitness accounts, and any available photographic or video documentation. This forms the foundation for building a strong case on your behalf.
Assessment of Damages
Understanding the full extent of your damages is crucial. Our attorneys work closely with medical experts to evaluate your injuries, treatment plans, and potential long-term effects. This enables us to calculate not only your current medical expenses but also any future costs that may arise.
Engaging with State Farm
We communicate directly with State Farm’s claims adjusters, ensuring we present a compelling case backed by evidence. Our experienced negotiators are skilled at countering lowball offers and advocating for the compensation you truly deserve. You don’t have to interact with anyone from State Farm—this protects your claim and gives you the space you need to recover from your injuries.
We engage in rigorous negotiations with State Farm to secure a fair settlement that adequately addresses your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other related damages. We aim to ensure you’re not left burdened by unforeseen financial hardships.
Preparation for Litigation
While most cases settle out of court, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. Our attorneys carefully prepare for litigation, gathering additional evidence and building a strong argument to present in front of a judge and jury.
Throughout the process, we maintain open and transparent communication with you. We keep you updated on the progress of your case, explain your legal options, and provide professional recommendations based on our experience.
We center our approach on your well-being. We prioritize your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. Our skilled lawyers work tirelessly to uphold your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our ultimate goal is to secure the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and losses. We take into account all facets of your case and leverage our skills and experience to fight for a fair outcome.
Our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers in New Port Richey is committed to advocating for your best interests at every stage of the process. Whether through negotiation or litigation, we strive to ensure that you receive the justice and compensation you deserve for the challenges you’ve faced due to the accident.
Don’t let State Farm intimidate you. Call our New Port Richey personal injury law firm for representation instead.