How to Negotiate a Personal Injury Claim with State Farm Insurance
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If you have been involved in an accident, and you or the at-fault driver are insured by State Farm, you will need to file a claim with them. A claims adjuster will be assigned to handle your claim, and it is their job to settle your claim for as little as possible, as State Farm’s goal is to maintain its bottom line, rather than ensuring you receive the compensation you are entitled to after an accident. While you may wish to try negotiating with State Farm yourself, State Farm has earned a reputation as being particularly difficult to negotiate with, and many settlements are only secured through a trial. As a result, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Denver personal injury attorney who knows how to negotiate with State Farm and seek maximum compensation for your injuries and damages, while not being afraid to take the case to trial if necessary.
You do not have to be alone in this process. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our Denver personal injury attorneys.
Communication with State Farm
The claims adjuster will contact you in order to get details of the accident. It is important to never admit any fault. You also should not share any details of the accident or your medical condition with the claims adjuster, as any communication with State Farm will be recorded and likely used to justify minimizing any possible compensation or settlement they may offer. You should also refuse to sign any kind of medical record release without first consulting an attorney, as State Farm may use this information, and even past medical history not related to the injuries you suffered in the accident, to justify a decrease in the amount they offer in a settlement.
A claims adjuster may appear to be friendly, and even sympathetic to your situation, but they are ultimately going to do whatever it takes to ensure State Farm settles your claim for the least possible amount, regardless of how it impacts you.
The Negotiation Process
If you do decide to attempt to negotiate alone, it is critical to remember that State Farm’s priority is to limit any settlement they payout. If possible, they will attempt to deny that you are eligible for any compensation, and thus avoid paying any settlement altogether. State Farm may attempt to deny they are liable for any damages, depending on your coverage, and you may have to prove who is at fault in the accident in order to bring them to the table to begin discussing settlement amounts, and this can be difficult without an attorney. As a result, you should be sure to hire a Denver personal injury attorney who is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and has specific experience working with State Farm to seek compensation for victims of accidents.
Once State Farm acknowledges liability or at least potential liability, your Denver attorney can begin negotiations. In order to negotiate a settlement, your lawyer will total all costs relating to medical care and property damages resulting from the accident once you have the information to determine what your final costs are after you reach the point of Maximum Medical Improvement.
In their research and estimation of your case, your attorney will also include damages for pain and suffering and lost wages due to inability to work. In calculating the total amount of compensation you may be entitled to, your personal injury attorney will total amounts for each area: medical costs, property damages, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc., before then presenting your claim to the claims adjuster. By adequately supplementing your demand with evidence establishing these costs and damages, your attorney will have a much stronger negotiating position.
Offers & Counteroffers
The claims adjuster will likely reject your first demand and counter with a significantly smaller settlement. This offer will likely be far short of covering your damages. It is important to remember that the claims adjuster is there to ensure that State Farm’s financial exposure to your claim is small as possible. This is why an experienced attorney is so crucial to present a demeanor that reflects your willingness to not give in and accept a smaller claim, but that you are willing to fight for compensation, even if you must take the case to trial.
To demonstrate why they should accept your settlement demands, you should be sure to present facts and circumstances that would be favorable to your case if it were to go to trial. By showing the extent of the pain and suffering and financial hardship you have been through as a result of the accident, as well as how these injuries have affected your family situation, your attorney can demonstrate that you are determined to fight for an appropriate settlement.
If you are able to convince the claims adjuster that they may not be able to easily win a trial, the claims adjuster may then be willing to raise the offer from State Farm to more accurately reflect what you are entitled to. The process of offers and counteroffers may go back and forth for some time.
State Farm’s Strategy
A classic strategy that insurance companies such as State Farm employ is to delay as long as possible. The insurance company knows that time is not a factor for them, while you may need your settlement as soon as possible, in order to cover your costs and allow you to move on with your life. It is important to remain patient, and not settle for just any compensation amount, especially the first offer they will make.
State Farm will count on your financial obligations to pressure you into taking whatever settlement they offer, even if it is absurdly below the value of your case. When the claims adjuster makes a settlement offer, your attorney should ask that the claims adjuster explain how they arrived at the settlement amount they are offering. If they are unable to explain their reasoning, you may consider demanding a larger amount.
It is important to remember that by offering a ridiculously low settlement, they are buying time and negotiating room, and this offer rarely represents what your claim is actually worth. By starting with a very low settlement offer, they can drag out the negotiation process, as they may offer settlement amounts that are only incrementally larger than the original amount, and still well short of compensating all of your damages. You must be determined and patient to secure a more appropriate settlement, and you should make sure that the claims adjuster is aware of your intent to voraciously pursue the claim.
Never Counter with an Offer Lower Than Your First
You should be aware that countering an offer from State Farm can also hurt your chances of seeking a fair settlement if you counter with an offer lower than your original claim.
By lowering the amount you are willing to settle for, you are admitting that you would be willing to settle for the lower amount, and this may prevent you from seeking the larger settlement you may be entitled to, which again is why an experienced attorney will be so helpful in being sure to avoid weakening your own position while negotiating with State Farm.
State Farm has also shown a willingness to go to trial over settlements and attempts to negotiate an adequate settlement may not be successful if State Farm believes they have a chance of paying a smaller amount by going to court. Without representation during a trial, State Farms lawyers may very well be able to ensure the company pays out very little if any to settle your claim.
Can I Afford an Attorney?
Accidents can put a strain on your finances, as you try to cover medical bills and repair or replace damaged property. However, Denver personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency basis. This means that they are paid with a percentage of your award, but only if they successfully secure a settlement or trial victory for you. You do not pay any out of pocket expenses, and your attorney will be highly motivated to secure the largest possible settlement for you.
Why Hiring a Lawyer is Important
Insurance companies such as State Farm are large companies, with teams of lawyers and adjusters at their disposal, whose sole obligation is to save money for the company. They handle multitudes of claims and settlement negotiations every day. This gives them a clear advantage when it comes to negotiating settlements if you attempt to negotiate yourself. They are incredibly familiar with the process and laws surrounding personal injury claims and insurance settlements, and they will use this experience to ensure they settle for the least amount possible.
State Farm is not bound by any law to automatically cover 100% of your damages and will rely on its own formula to calculate how much your claim is worth. These formulas, often part of an automated claim system, are known to suggest settlements that are far below what your actual damages may actually be worth. Insurers like State Farm do not care about the emotional and financial burden an accident can place on you and your family, and if you choose to negotiate alone, will be unlikely to offer a settlement that comes close to covering damages you have suffered.
By engaging the services of an experienced Denver personal accident attorney, you can level the playing field. An experienced Denver personal accident lawyer will know the ins and outs of negotiating with large insurers like State Farm. By hiring an attorney, you can avoid falling into the many traps and pitfalls insurance claim adjusters may employ in an attempt to force you to settle for less than you are entitled to. Your attorney will navigate the often confusing and confounding process of reaching a settlement for you and will help ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve after an accident.
Insurers such as State Farm will be less likely to offer absurdly low settlement offers if you are represented by an attorney as well, as they know that an experienced attorney will be capable of successfully pursuing a higher settlement than an individual without representation.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial, State Farm will be represented by experienced attorneys. As a result, you will stand a much better chance to receive a favorable ruling if you have an attorney who knows how to handle and present personal injury cases against insurance companies like State Farm.
ZINDA LAW FIRM CAN HELP YOU FILE A CLAIM
An accident can leave you with many pressing issues, and negotiating with State Farm is one that you should not attempt to face by yourself.
At Zinda Law Group, our Denver personal injury attorneys can help you acquire a fair settlement from State Farm by negotiating on your behalf. If a settlement cannot be reached, we can find other options for you to receive the compensation you deserve.
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