When you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be anxious to arrive at a settlement amount as quickly as possible. Before you rush to accept a settlement with State Farm, keep in mind that State Farm, like other insurance companies, is a for-profit business. Like any other kind of business, an insurance company’s goal is to make a profit, not to fairly compensate an accident victim.
Since representatives employed by State Farm are motivated by protecting the company, no matter how pleasant a representative may seem, it’s important to realize that there is no benefit to the representative or their employer to offer you a fair settlement. While their marketing campaign tells you that they are “like a good neighbor,” in reality they will do everything they can to avoid paying out.
Tactics State Farm Agents May Use
What should you expect from a State Farm agent if you try to negotiate your own settlement? In most cases, they will offer a low-ball settlement amount pretty quickly just to close the case and get you to go away. If you have been injured, an early offer that seems pretty low shouldn’t be accepted.
At this stage, you probably don’t even know for sure how serious your injuries are, or if there might be physical complications in the future. If this happens, a low settlement won’t cover all the expenses that you’re likely to face down the road.
Some other tactics State Farm and other insurance companies may use include:
- Pretending that they are on your side and saying they are working hard to get you your money quickly since they know the accident has probably caused you financial hardship.
- Doing things which delay the processing of your claim such as not taking your calls or misplacing your file. In the state of Texas, you have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury. Insurance companies may try to prolong their processing of your claim in a deliberate effort to allow the statute of limitations to pass.
- Asking for a recorded statement. Insurance representatives may try to get you to make statements on a recording that can be used against you, such as statements that minimize the extent of your injuries or imply that you may have been to blame for the accident.
- Asking you to sign a medical release to allow them access to your private medical records. There is no reason for you to grant them this information, but they’ll try to make it sound like you are required to do this. If they have access to your prior medical records, they may try to imply that your injuries were actually caused prior to the accident.
- Suggesting you see a particular doctor or auto repair shop. If you go along with this, the service providers they recommend are most likely working for them and may report that your damages or injuries are minimal.
- Trying to convince you that you don’t need a lawyer.
Efforts to Deny or Devalue Claims
If you try to negotiate with State Farm representatives, you’ll probably find that they work very hard to try to deny or devalue your claim. They may deny your claim outright by trying to claim that the accident was your fault or that you couldn’t possibly have been as badly hurt as you claim.
They may try to dispute all or part of your medical bills by saying your injuries couldn’t have been so extensive or that you tried to get more medical care than you really needed. A State Farm representative may even try to get you to discontinue treatment, saying that it won’t be covered if you continue.
They may try to use delay tactics to put you in a position in which you are desperate for money. You may be unable to work and struggling with lost wages, as well as the loss of your means of transportation.
State Farm knows that many people will become so exhausted and stressed that they don’t want to fight anymore and that they may eventually give in to a low-ball offer just to put it all behind them. They’re hoping you’ll do the same.
Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating with State Farm
Mistakes that you make when dealing with State Farm can be used against you as time goes by. A State Farm representative is likely to reach out to you very quickly after your accident to try to get you to settle fast and this is done deliberately to catch you off-guard.
It’s a mistake to engage with this representative at all because he or she isn’t on your side even though it may seem that they are. While you might feel desperate for money, avoid taking the initial settlement, especially if you aren’t sure what the extent of your injuries are.
Making any kind of statement at any time in the negotiations, especially one that is being recorded, can hurt your case. It’s always better to consult an expert personal injury attorney before talking directly to the insurance company that represents the other driver.
Ways State Farm May Misrepresent the Law
If you try to negotiate your own settlement with State Farm, they may try to misrepresent the law. They may minimize the amount they say you are entitled to and tell you that you aren’t legally entitled to seek damages for pain and suffering. Insurance adjusters may try to misrepresent the amount of insurance coverage that is available to pay on a claim and they may try to take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge.
If you want to try to negotiate your own settlement, you’ll need to have a good grasp on the full extent of your losses, including ongoing medical care, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you come up with a number that you believe fairly compensates you, expect some back and forth negotiating. Avoid giving in to a number that is much lower that what you have determined is fair.
Getting Legal Help
State Farm is a very large company and they have a reputation for trying to avoid making reasonable offers. It may be necessary to file a lawsuit against them in order to get them to make a reasonable settlement offer.
The guidance of an expert in the field of personal injury law can make a big difference in how successful you are able to be in obtaining the compensation you deserve. A personal injury lawyer may be able to provide more tenacity than you can on your own if you try to negotiate without legal representation.
Don’t give in to the tactics used by State Farm or other big insurance companies. Patterson Law Group can give you a better idea of what should be fair compensation in your unique situation and we can help you to negotiate with insurance adjusters. We can also help you if we’re unable to come to a reasonable agreement with State Farm and it ends up being necessary to go to court.
Get in touch with us by filling out the form on this page and we will get back to you very soon for a free case evaluation. We will give you our expert legal opinion regarding the strength of your case. There is no cost to you unless we win.