“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there!“
When you see that phrase, it is hard not to also hear it in a sing-along fashion. The State Farm jingle is one of the better-known taglines in all of marketing and advertising.
State Farm is also the single largest automobile insurance company in the United States. In fact, their vehicle insurance lines account for approximately 65% of the business’s property casualty net written premium.
On a whole, State Farm reported its net worth for 2018 to be $100.9 billion. Good neighbor? A wealthy neighbor might be more accurate.
Assuming a car accident led you to be one of the 35,000 daily claims processed by State Farm, you might be researching the best possible way to negotiate your personal injury claim with this insurance giant.
Boulton Law Group handles State Farm injury claims every day, and we have put together some general steps and negotiation information that we regularly keep in mind when attempting to resolve our own clients’ cases.
However, please be mindful that this article only contains general information, not binding legal advice. In no way does it guarantee you a specific or favorable outcome, as each case will always have unique factors that affect its true value.
Additionally, if you still intend on attempting to settle your own claim, we ALWAYS recommend that you first contact an experienced injury lawyer for a free case evaluation. The advice they can provide you will likely prove highly valuable to your individual case.
Filing a personal injury claim with State Farm
After you have confirmed that the defendant is indeed insured by State Farm, the first step that needs to be taken is to file an official claim with the insurance company.
When you call State Farm’s claims division, you will be connected with a representative that will initiate a claim number in their system. Immediately following this, State Farm will assign an insurance adjuster to your case.
Each of State Farm’s adjusters is highly trained in the art of claims investigation. They may be friendly and empathetic in their communications, however, it is absolutely imperative that you realize their primary goal is to limit State Farm’s exposure so that they can pay out as little as possible for your accident and injuries.
How good are State Farm’s adjusters at limiting claims? Very good. To remain mindful of this fact, all you need to do is recall State Farm’s net worth that we discussed at the beginning of this blog: $100.9 billion.
Boulton Law Group strongly recommends you request that an experienced accident attorney initiate the injury claim on your behalf. Having presided over a countless number of State Farm claims for our clients, our office knows how to avoid each and every pitfall.
If you are reading this and have already filed your claim with State Farm, it is never too late to hire an attorney to act on your behalf.
In both instances, we can send a letter of representation to State Farm that advises they are to have no future contact with you and we will now be acting as your official legal counsel.
State Farm’s begins its investigation of your personal injury claim
After the personal injury claim is officially filed, State Farm’s adjuster will attempt to contact you as quickly as possible so that they can begin to conduct a carefully orchestrated investigation. This is done in an effort to turn your case in their favor.
It should be noted that the more serious your injuries, the more aggressive they may be in their attempts to make contact with you. This is especially true if you were struck by a semi-truck or other vehicle carrying a large insurance policy.
There are a couple of things that State Farm’s adjuster will typically request from you at this point:
- Your agreement to provide a recorded statement.
- Your signature on their medical release authorization document(s).
The information they will attempt to extract from the recorded statement and medical release authorization include:
- Liability factors that caused or contributed to the crash.
- As many details as they can possibly obtain about your injuries, as well as your current and past health history.
- Identifying all the parties who were present in each of the vehicles.
- Locating any potential witnesses.
It is at this step in the claim process that many victims unknowingly provide State Farm with a treasure trove of information that has the potential to decrease the value of their claim and/or having it dismissed.
Again, if you are being represented by an attorney, they will oversee and respond to all aspects of State Farm’s investigation.
Do not be pressured!
The State Farm adjuster may also rely on a number of tactics that leave you feeling as though you need to settle your case sooner rather than later.
Statements an adjuster mentions during conversation may include:
- “Your injuries should have healed by now.”
- “We won’t compensate you for additional treatment(s).”
- “We can issue you a check right away if you’ll agree to settle.”
- “If we don’t hear from you, we’re going to ‘close your file.'”
These types of statements are sometimes made in an attempt to have you settle your claim for less than what it is actually worth. The truth is that every state has a strict statute of limitations regarding how long you have to settle your case.
For example, Indiana law gives victims two years from the date of their accident to settle their case. For minors, they have until two years after their 18th birthday.
Important: There are a number of conditions that can affect the amount of time you have to settle your injury case, so we strongly recommend that you ask an attorney to calculate your official statute of limitations. If you exceed the statute date, you will be barred from making any recovery.
Negotiating case value with State Farm’s adjuster
Once you have been released from your doctor’s care, the next step typically involves your communicating to the adjuster what you believe your case is worth.
Depending on the details of your accident and injury, a combination of the following factors may be used in the valuation of your claim:
- Medical records – This includes all of the notes and findings from all of the doctors who oversaw your care and recovery.
- Medical bills related to the accident – This may include bills from the ambulance provider, emergency room visit, various doctors, physical therapists, prescriptions, etc.
- Lost wage documentation – State Farm will require that you provide official documentation of any lost wages related to the accident that was a result of your doctor excusing you from job duties.
- Pain and suffering – Perhaps the most important part of your claim valuation, you will want to communicate to State Farm how this accident and your injuries have personally affected you.
We want to make this clear: Anyone who attempts to settle their own State Farm personal injury claim will likely be guessing as to what their case is worth.
By contrast, State Farm will have at their disposal expensive software, algorithms, formulas, and mountains of historical data to help them arrive at what they believe your case is worth.
Because of this, it is not uncommon for State Farm to reject your first attempt to settle your claim. An example of negotiation might play out as follows:
Victim: “Based on my injuries and pain and suffering, I would like to be compensated $10,000.”
State Farm Adjuster: “I understand that you have been through a lot, however, the unfortunate truth is a case like yours is not worth $10,000. We can offer you $3,000.
Why the large disparity?
State Farm will sometimes low-ball their counteroffer to see if the victim will make a secondary offer. The mistake often made at this point is when a victim drops their initial demand amount. Our office sees this happen a lot.
Once this happens, State Farm knows that you are now willing to settle for less, and they will continue to negotiate with you in an attempt to whittle down the dollar amount to a number that may be less than what you could potentially receive if you were presented by an attorney.
Similar to State Farm, an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer will have several years’ worth of data and real-world case analysis to help them determine what your case is actually worth.
In many cases, our clients are surprised to learn that their cases are worth much more than they initially realized, often exceeding what they would have asked for themselves.
A personal injury lawyer can increase the value of your State Farm case
In addition to the reasons we have already discussed, hiring a personal injury attorney will greatly increase the likelihood that State Farm will be forced to pay what they actually owe you.
Having a legal professional on your side helps to ensure that your case is presented in the most powerful and professional manner possible. It also helps to ensure that all the appropriate valuation information is included in the final demand package.
Additionally, when you hire an Indiana personal injury lawyer, you instantly put leverage on your side in the form of a potential lawsuit. This means that your attorney has the option and ability to initiate litigation and file a lawsuit on your behalf if State Farm refuses to be reasonable.
Insurance companies largely wish to avoid jury trials if possible, and this includes State Farm.
Questions about your State Farm personal injury claim?
If you feel uncomfortable trying to handle or negotiate your claim, Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years of experience helping Indiana’s accident victims recover compensation from insurance companies like State Farm.
In addition to settling his clients’ State Farm cases, attorney Boulton has also filed numerous lawsuits against the insurance giant. His experience in dealing with State Farm has proven to be the difference for many of his clients who received a fair and just settlement.
If you have a question about your State Farm injury claim, Boulton Law Group will also provide you with a Zero Fee Guarantee.
This means that you will never be charged a consultation fee, and the only way the firm receives payment is after it makes a recovery on your behalf. This arrangement helps to ensure that anyone can hire award-winning legal representation, no matter their financial situation.
To speak with attorney Boulton today, call us at 317-350-2680. Or if you prefer to write to us and request an immediate review of your State Farm claim, please use our confidential contact form.
We look forward to hearing your story!
(This article is strictly focused on the personal injury aspect of a State Farm claim. The damage to your vehicle will be treated as a separate claim and will most likely be assigned to a different State Farm adjuster.)
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.