Tips For Handling Your Own State Farm Insurance Car Accident Claim
If you were injured in a car accident caused by somebody insured by State Farm, you might be considering pursuing a settlement without a lawyer. If so, here is some helpful information on the process and what to expect.
First of all, you can get a sense of how it is going to go by looking at State Farm’s own website where they instruct their insureds that when they have an accident, “don’t tell anyone the accident was your fault, even if it was.”
Why would State Farm instruct their clients not to admit fault?
There is only one reasonable answer to this question – State Farm starts working to deny your claim even before an accident is reported. Presumably, the insurance company wants its clients to refuse to admit fault even to an investigating police officer. This conduct is consistent with a 2007 CNN investigation that outlined tactics employed by the insurance company giant to unfairly deny legitimate claims. Indeed, according to the report, a former employee explained their tactics as the “Three Ds” – Deny, Delay, Defend. So, with this in mind, here are some common questions in dealing with State farm adjusters:
- Should I give a recorded statement? Many folks believe they must give a recorded statement in order to get an offer from State Farm. This is not true. If the State Farm adjuster knows their client is at fault and caused the accident, why would they need the statement? You are not required to give a recorded statement if you don’t want to do so.
- Both the at-fault driver and I have State Farm Insurance. Does that mean that I will get a fairer settlement? No. The insurance adjuster has one job – save money for State Farm.
- I was assigned a “Team” of adjusters, does that mean they are taking my claim more seriously? No it does not. Quite the opposite actually. The team approach often means your claim is considered minor and you will likely get a low-ball offer.
Common Tactics to Justify a Low Offer
State Farm and other insurance companies will often use the following arguments to justify a low offer – especially when dealing with somebody who does not have a lawyer:
- You didn’t go to the doctor right away. First of all, many people feel pain after an accident but put off seeing a doctor in the hopes that the pain will not get worse or will go away. When it doesn’t, the seek medical attention after a few days. Also, in many cases, the pain is not evident for a few days and there is a short delay. In either case, the insurance adjuster will focus on this reasonable delay to claim that you were not hurt in the accident – basically that you are faking. This is unreasonable and they know it.
- Your medical bills are too high. This shouldn’t be your problem but State Farm adjusters and those from the other insurance companies will often offer a settlement that does not even cover your medical bills. This is not fair but is often done to save money.
- You had a pre-existing condition. Insurance companies always look for indications that you were already injured before the accident. Often, if you had treatment for back pain years ago, the adjuster will seize upon this to claim that your new injury did not happen in the accident. Even if you had an earlier injury, you have every right to pursue a claim if you were re-injured or if the accident made the injury worse. Don’t let an adjuster pressure you to drop your claim or accept an unfair injury with this argument.
Many people try to settle their own claim with State Farm Insurance an become frustrated with the adjuster’s tactics. If you have faced this and had enough, call Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer Michael P. Fleming today for a free consultation 713-221-6800.