According to the most recent annual report published by State Farm for its stockholders, State Farm had over 214 billion dollars of assets, and its combined claims and claim expenses amounted to only 34 billion. That means the amount it expected to pay out, including everything it is paying its adjusters and attorneys. State Farm has long been criticized for its approach to claims, and this article will tell you the secrets to filing a successful claim against State Farm.
State Farm Claims Tactics
State Farm has a long-held reputation for aggressively defending even legitimate claims. For example, CNN’s Anderson Cooper did an exposé on the “Deny, Delay, and Defend” tactic used by State Farm. While State Farm claims to be a “good neighbor,” its tactics in personal injury cases can hardly be described as neighborly.
Secrets to Filing State Farm Claims
State farm has been called out for denying valid claims, delaying payments, and aggressively defending legitimate claims to discourage lawsuits. Yet, these practices still continue today. Here are some things you should know about State Farm when it comes to holding them accountable.
State Farm Seeks to Deny, Delay, and Defend. This 3-D Technique was covered by Anderson Cooper on CNN. By fighting as hard as they can against people making legitimate claims, they are doing everything in their power to reduce the amount the company pays out.
State Farms seeks to Deny Claims
It probably comes as no surprise that State Farm is incentivized to collect as many premiums as possible while denying as many claims as possible. State Farm writes about 17% of all the policies in the United States, making them the largest auto insurer in the country.
What may not be as apparent, though, is State Farm does not want to have to defend itself against a Bad Faith Insurance claim – a claim that it didn’t pay for something it should have – thereby exposing its insured. There are a couple of practical takeaways here. First, State Farm is more likely to offer a reduced settlement amount rather than outright denying a claim where they think liability might stick. Second, they are looking for ways to deny a claim. As we will talk about later, you should not give State Farm any information as a claimant without if coming through your attorney. A personal injury attorney can assist you in making sure you are not providing information to State Farm that should not be provided and to which they are not legally entitled. Your attorney can also help frame the information that is turned over.
State Farm Claims Adjusters Want to Pay as Little as Possible
State Farm wants to reduce its payout in every case. Imagine they save just $1,000 on each of the next 100,000 claims. They’ve saved $100 million dollars. Reducing payouts is big business for State Farm.
State Farm puts junior adjustors on cases with low amounts of property damage. In fact, they will often assign the claim to a team instead of an individual adjustor. A team claim is a low-risk and low-value claim in State Farm’s eye. These adjustors have very little settlement authority. In this way, State Farm makes it very difficult to get a fair settlement, especially for accidents involving lower levels of property damage. Claims that have low impact or medical bills of $5,000 or less are generally going to be assigned to a team. Additionally, State Farm is banking on very few of these people trying to get an attorney to represent them – so the math works out, incentivizing State Farm to pay very little on these cases. In turn what this means it often takes a lawyer and a lawsuit getting filed for State Farm to take these cases seriously.
State Farm is also quick to criticize care. For example, they might criticize a decision not to see a doctor right away. (Pro tip: get a medical evaluation done as quickly as possible – you may not be aware of your injuries, especially right after an accident.) They might also criticize you for going to the doctor too much. While there’s a valid reason to screen for fraudulent visits – State Farm is known for being quick to push back on treatment. These are reasons why it is critically important to have an attorney representing you if you are injured. Similarly, State Farm adjustors are trained to look for past injuries – and there’s a massive difference between what you and your attorney likely believe – that something was re-injured and what State Farm wants to call something – such as pre-existing condition they do not have to cover.
State Farm is notorious for not wanting to pay for soft tissue injuries even as compared to other insurance providers. In general, if you want a fair value for your claim against State Farm, you’re going to have to file a lawsuit.
Pro tip: Don’t give a recorded statement
State Farm is going to make it sound like you have to give a recorded statement as the claimant or the person making a claim. This is not true. You should not give a recorded statement. You never have an obligation to give the other person’s insurance company a recorded statement. The reason they want to do this is to find some evidence that you could have done more to avoid the accident, mitigate, or reduce the severity of the injuries.
State Farm has the incentive to close cases for as little as possible. Another way they do this is to make lowball offers. This might be a settlement for a few thousand dollars. It might be an offer to pay some of your bills and anticipated future bills. These lowball offers should be rejected.
Delaying Claims Favors State Farm
Compounding the problem with lowball offers is that State Farm will delay for as long as possible to then give you a lowball offer. This puts the claimant in a situation where they have been waiting for some sort of financial relief for months and are eager to get to a resolution. This is especially true if the claimant has lost work, had their lives disrupted, and wants to get some semblance of normal back. It is important to work with your attorney in these cases to be sure State Farm is not backing you into a corner so they can take advantage of your need for resolution.
What you should do after a car accident
- Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, get medical attention – for yourself and anyone else in the accident, including your passengers. With your adrenaline running, injuries may not be obvious. Some of the most serious injuries may not result in immediately visible – like injuries to your spine and back. Once you’ve been evaluated, it is important to keep up with doctor appointments and recommended treatment and therapy.
- Document the Scene and Accident
Grab your phone, and start taking pictures and videos of everything – the scene, lighting conditions, the other vehicle, the position of the vehicles, the damages, any obvious injuries, and any traffic control devices.
- Look for Witnesses
Don’t forget that witnesses may not stick around for the police to arrive. Try to get contact information for anyone who stops to check on you. This information may be impossible to get later.
- Report the Crash
If your vehicle is not drivable, if you’ve been injured, if the other driver is uninsured, or if the other driver leaves the scene, call the police. Otherwise, move your vehicle to a safe location and complete a blue form accident report at your local police department.
How long does it take to resolve a State Farm case?
Every case is different. State Farm is known for doing everything it can to keep its payouts as low as possible. How long your case takes is a function of the strength of your case, the strengths of your lawyer, and how severe your injuries are. It may take 3-6 months, or it might take much longer.
How do you file a claim against State Farm?
You can file a claim by calling State Farm on their claims line at 800-732-5246. Your attorney can also help you file the claim, which would be the preferred route. The reality is who is on the other side matters – getting a demand from an experienced trial attorney is quite different than a claim called into the main claims line, or a claim coming from someone who has never been to trial.
How do you check on the status of your claim?
Your attorney will keep you appraised of the status of your claim. If you are not represented, you can check your claim status directly with State Farm.
How long do you have to file a claim against State Farm?
Generally, the sooner you hire an attorney to represent you in a personal injury matter, the better off you will be. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 16.003 provides that most personal injury claims in Texas need to be filed within two years from the date of the injury.
Get the best personal injury lawyer for your case against State Farm
You don’t owe us anything in legal fees if we don’t win. That doesn’t just mean you can afford to hire the best attorney for your case. In a world where insurance companies make billions by denying and denying legitimate claims, you need an attorney who will fight for you.
A contingency fee means that if you win, a portion of your settlement will go to the attorney. If you do not win, your attorney will not be paid anything – by anyone. We believe in bringing the best to represent our clients and we put ourselves in a position that means our interests are always aligned with yours. You should have it no other way.
If you’ve been injured in north Texas and have a claim against State Farm, give us for call for a free consultation. You can reach us at 817-207-4878. Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group is dedicated to serving car accident victims throughout Texas. We will review the facts and circumstances of the event that led to your loss and help you maximize your recovery.