State Farm Claims

Tips on Making State Farm Claims for Car Accidents

Bringing Injury Claims Against State Farm

claimsHas trying to handle your car wreck claim against State Farm left you feeling like small potatoes in a big farmer’s market? Did their “early offer” make you feel like they just don’t care if you have fully recovered or not? State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company has been around since 1922. State Farm Insurance is the largest private passenger auto insurer in Texas based on market share. Their next closest competitor is Progressive Auto Insurance which has about half the market share of State Farm. State Farm Insurance owns several subsidiaries and other companies that do business under some form of the State Farm name. The State Farm companies service over 80 million insurance policies issued in the United States including over 44 million auto policies. You are a small potato when it is just you against a State Farm claims team.

The Three “D’s” – Delay, Deny Defend

CNN did a study in 2007 about the practices of major insurance companies in America. In interviewing a former State Farm and Farmers Insurance employee, they concluded that with smaller claims, the strategy of delay, deny, and defend was the way many auto insurance companies ensure large profits.  They collect the premiums and delay responding to claims, deny claims, and defend the claims in court using “staff counsel.” Staff counsel” or “captive counsel” are lawyers who are on salary with the company so that the company can litigate cases in bulk without having to incur expensive attorney’s fees to defend every case individually.

What Does It Mean to Be Assigned to a State Farm Insurance Claims Team?

From our point of view, one of the most dreaded things you can hear as an injured party making a claim against State Farm Insurance is the phrase: your claim has been assigned to Team ‘X.’ In Texas, we see Team 21 and Team 22 on a fairly regular basis. Dealing with their consolidated claims team seems to be a good indication that your case is viewed as a smaller-value claim. While it will be assigned to an adjuster, you have to call the team to find out who that adjuster is. Once you do, you may find yourself transferred to a voicemail. When you finally reach the State Farm adjuster, he/she may or may not choose to give you a direct contact line. If not, you have to go through the team to get to the insurance adjuster every time you call.

The key to remember with any insurance company is this: insurance companies know that the longer your claim is stalled out, the more frustrated you will get. If a claimant gets frustrated enough, often he/she will give up and/or be more inclined to accept whatever settlement offer the insurance company makes. Don’t give up on your claim without talking to an attorney about your rights first.

How to Get State Farm to Pay a Fair Settlement for Your Injury Claim

If you want to get State Farm to pay a fair settlement for your injury claim, you should know that you will be required to document your losses. They will want copies of the medical records and bills. Do you want to spend the time and money o collect these on your own or sign over a release from them to get them?  Beware those releases do not restrict them from seeking unrelated medical information they are not entitled to.

You will also have to document other damages. How much time were you off work? Was it under the doctor’s orders or your own decision? The answers to these questions can determine whether State Farm pays you a fair settlement or not.  Then comes the intangible damages. Do your medical records demonstrate you suffered anguish or impairment or is it just your word?  The adjuster is likely to devalue everything you cannot independently document. An auto accident attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to document these types of damages in order to push State Farm to pay a fair settlement.

What Can Be Done to Make State Farm Pay a Fairer Settlement?

With State Farm, if you cannot get a fair settlement offer out of the Team adjuster, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit. Sometimes having a lawyer file a lawsuit can get the claim transferred to a new adjuster who will be more focused on your case and may have the authority to make a more reasonable settlement offer. Other times, you may just have to take your case to trial and get a jury to award you a judgment against their insured.

Learn more about what happens when you file a lawsuit.

Should I Hire an Attorney to Handle My Accident Claim?

At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Sharon Simmons-Cantrell has been handling and negotiating State Farm insurance claims with State Farm adjusters for over 25 years.  We also have three trial lawyers with over 65 years of combined litigation experience.  State Farm has a team looking at your case, shouldn’t you have a team fighting FOR you as well?  Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today for a free consultation.  We front the cost of bringing the claim and we charge no attorney’s fees or case expenses to you unless we make a recovery for you. Call us at (713) 932-0777.