State Farm Claims Attorney
If you are contemplating filing a claim with State Farm insurance company, you should be adequately prepared for the process. Although it is the largest insurance company in the US, filing a claim with State Farm boils down to the same thing as filing with any other insurer – you must be ready to fight for fair compensation.
The reason for this is simple. Insurance companies typically consider their bottom line before their policyholders. They will do all that is necessary to minimize their exposure and pay you as little as possible on your claim. You must fight for the fair compensation you believe you deserve for your accident.
The car accident and personal injury State Farm claims attorneys at Dismuke Law assist people from all over Florida with their State Farm claims. If you have been injured or incurred damage in an accident, this is what you can expect in dealing with State Farm.
What is it like to deal with State Farm?
State Farm insurance company is far and away, the largest insurance company in the US. With a market share of more than 17% and annual revenues above $70 billion, the company is as big as insurance companies can get in the US. Although this should provide policyholders with peace of mind knowing they have an established insurer to call on when they need help, this is not often the case.
State Farm, like most insurers, does not like to pay out on claims. The company is more interested in generating profits than in ensuring that victims of accidents can access the help they need. There’s nothing personal in this; for them, it’s just business.
In an investigative report for CNN in 2007, Anderson Cooper found that top insurance companies adopted a policy of rejecting claims out of hand. According to the report, their motto was “deny, delay, defend.” They were found to do all in their power to deny claims or delay on paying settlements in order to force policyholders to settle for low-ball amounts.
State Farm was also implicated in allegations that it fraudulently denied claims to policyholders in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. In the lawsuit that resulted, the insurance company was found liable for mishandling claims in a judgment upheld by the United States Supreme Court.
All things considered, if you have decided to file a State Farm claim, you should be prepared to put your best foot forward.
What should you do immediately after your accident?
What you do in the days following your accident dramatically affects the likelihood you can present a substantial claim that the insurance company will find more challenging to deny. Little missteps at this stage can make things more difficult. This is why we recommend that our clients do the following immediately after the accident:
- Get medical attention immediately. If you fail to seek medical attention, it will be harder to show these injuries were accident-related.
- Call the police and ensure you make a police report. If the police were not at the scene, go to the nearest police station and file a report.
- Take pictures of the scene on your phone, including the damaged portions of your car, blood on the road, and skid marks.
- If you can speak with witnesses who saw the accident and collect their contact information.
- Speak to a State Farm insurance attorney before proceeding to the next step so you can understand how best to proceed.
- If you report the claim yourself, it is crucial that you keep the contact as brief as possible. Only inform the agent about the bare facts of the accident, do not speculate about any of the facts, and absolutely do not sign or agree to anything. Keep in mind what you say may be recorded by State Farm.
What is the process for filing claims with State Farm?
After speaking with the insurance agent, you should have been given instructions on how to proceed with your State Farm claim. You will either file with your own insurance company or file a third-party claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
Claims may be filed through several means, including by sending a claim letter along with all your evidence by mail to the company. You can also contact the company by phone, email, mobile app or through their website. The insurance agent will inform you on which of these means will be best for filing your claim.
What information do you need to file your claim?
At the point of filing, you will be required to provide certain information that lets the company understand the nature and details of your claim. Have the following information close by:
- Your insurance policy number or the policy number of the at-fault driver along with their name and other details.
- The traffic crash report from the accident. You can request a copy of this from the police officer that investigated the crash.
- Contact information of all passengers that were involved in the accident, if any (usually listed on the traffic crash report)
- Contact information of all witnesses you were able to speak with (usually listed on the traffic crash report)
- Pictures and video you have of the scene of the accident
- Comprehensive information about all your injuries from the accident, including copies of medical records and bills, as well as any recommendations made by the doctors
- Wage information and medical records that show the restriction your doctor has placed on you due to the traffic crash
- Details of any other loss you suffered, such as damage to your vehicle
- Contact information of an auto repair shop that you trust to provide an independent estimate of the likely cost to repair your vehicle
What happens after you file your State Farm claim?
Once your claim is filed, State Farm will typically assign a claim number to your case. This number will identify your claim and allow you to track your claim as it goes through the internal process of the insurance company.
After filing your claim, the company will send a loss adjuster to investigate the scene of the accident or take photographs of the property damage. If you suffered an injury, the investigation would likely include a closer inspection of your documentation and details of the injuries you suffered. This will likely cause the investigation to take longer.
The loss adjuster may also call you to clarify details about the accident. You need to be careful here, though. They will typically ask if you are willing to make a recorded statement. You should never agree to this without speaking to a State Farm claims attorney first. This is because the loss adjuster will usually have a list of leading questions they will ask to confuse your claim and try to catch you, saying something harmful to your case.
The investigation typically ends with an initial settlement offer. As a rule, you should never accept the first offer. This is because, in most cases, this offer will be significantly lower than what your claim is worth. It is unwise to accept any offer from the insurance company before you speak to an attorney; even if they offer you their “limits,” there are specific steps necessary to preserve your right to pursue underinsured motorist coverage.
When should you contact a State Farm claims attorney?
You should contact a qualified State Farm claims attorney immediately after your accident, and ideally before you contact the insurance company. This is very important, especially where you have suffered bodily injury in the accident.
The insurance claims process is usually designed to frustrate claims, and if you are not careful, you may find yourself without relief.
Decades of Experience
Dave has dedicated 15 years and a significant portion of his practice to auto accidents and has well-trained staff in place to help you.
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Dave is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and focuses his practice on automobile accidents.
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