State Farm is a powerhouse in the insurance industry, with over 91 million insurance and financial policies and accounts, and it’s the country’s largest auto insurer. If you suffered injuries in a car accident, chances are you may be dealing with a State Farm agent whether or not your policy is through State Farm. Our personal injury attorneys deal with insurance companies regularly. Here’s how our lawyers handle a State Farm injury claim.
Common Injury Claim Accidents
Our personal injury attorneys handle a variety of accident claims in Bakersfield and beyond, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip and Fall accidents
- Premises liability incidents
Even if your accident isn’t listed above, we still want to hear from you and let you know how we can help.
About State Farm
Over a century ago, the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company was established. Today, State Farm is the largest auto insurer, boasting a workforce of 58,000 employees, including 19,200 agents. The company earns about 17 percent of the money people spend on personal car insurance in the U.S.
Like many other insurance companies, State Farm prioritizes its profits over the interests of policyholders, often providing settlements to injured individuals that fall significantly short of the actual value of their damages.
Our legal team knows the strategies State Farm adjusters use to skirt their responsibility to make accident victims whole again. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve and take State Farm to court if they refuse to offer a fair settlement.
Filing a State Farm Injury Claim
California is known as a fault state regarding auto insurance claims. That means the person responsible for a car accident has to pay for the resulting injuries and property damage. Accident victims must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. This is called a third-party claim.
If the other driver’s insurance policy limits are not high enough to cover all your damages, you can file a claim with your own insurance company, provided you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance. You can sue the at-fault party directly. You also have the option to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
State Farm requires policyholders to report accidents whether or not they are at fault. This must be done in a reasonable amount of time. Report your accident, because failure to do so could result in the company canceling your policy. You can report your accident online, through a mobile app, or by calling the company’s hotline at 800-SF-CLAIM. The process is relatively easy, whichever option you choose. However, the company encourages filing digitally over phoning in your claim.
Whether you are filing your claim with the at-fault party’s agent, reporting the accident to your agent, or filing a claim against your UM/UIM policy, stick to the basics. Give the date, time, and location of the crash, the types of vehicles involved, and the name and insurance provider of the other driver, if you have it.
Don’t give any more details of the accident or try to explain what you think happened. And never admit fault, even if you think you were partly to blame. Don’t give any statements or sign any documents.
Whether or not you’re a policyholder, State Farm, like other auto insurers, may use your words against you to limit your compensation. Just stick to facts and let your car accident lawyer handle the rest of the communications with the insurance company.
Filing an Injury Claim in California
California requires all drivers of motor vehicles to have a minimum amount of liability insurance. If you are at fault for an accident, this coverage compensates those you may harm for their injuries or property damage.
The current minimum requirements are:
- $15,000 for bodily injury per person;
- $30,000 for bodily injury per accident; and
- $5,000 for property damage
If you or a family member are involved in a serious accident resulting in severe or catastrophic injuries, these limits will likely not be enough to cover all your damages. Purchasing UM/UIM coverage for your vehicle can offer extra protection and peace of mind. However, you may still have to prove your case to your insurance company for full compensation.
How Our Lawyers Handle State Farm Injury Claims
Once you hire our personal injury lawyers for your car accident claim, we will begin working right away to build a strong case to support your State Farm claim by taking the following actions:
Investigate Your Accident
Our lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation into your accident. This may involve collect evidence, interviewing witnesses, and working with accident reconstruction experts to establish liability and prove negligence on the part of the other driver(s).
Identify all Liable Parties
In some cases, there may be more than one party responsible for an accident besides the at-fault driver, and thus, multiple parties from which we may seek compensation.
Here are some other parties who you may hold liable in a car accident case:
- The owner of the vehicle involved may be held liable, even if they weren’t the driver, if the owner knowingly allowed an incompetent driver to take the wheel.
- The employer of the driver may also be held liable if the accident occurred while the driver was performing work duties.
- If poor road conditions, lack of signage, or improper road design and maintenance contributed to your accident, the government entity responsible for road maintenance may be held liable.
- If a vehicle defect or malfunction contributed to the accident, the vehicle manufacturer or a component manufacturer may be held liable under product liability laws.
Value Your Claim
Our lawyer must consider several factors when assessing the value of a car accident claim. These include:
- Your responsibility: If you are partly at fault for the accident, this affects the value of your claim. California follows a pure comparative negligence rule, which means your compensation is reduced based on the degree of your fault.
- Precedents and case history: Our lawyers may research similar cases and their outcomes in the same jurisdiction to determine what other courts have awarded in comparable situations.
- The severity of your injuries: We may consider medical bills, ongoing medical care, rehabilitation costs, and potential future medical expenses when calculating damages. We may also consult with medical experts to estimate future medical needs.
- Loss of income and earning capacity: If the accident resulted in you missing work or experiencing a reduced ability to earn income in the future due to your injuries, our lawyers will calculate lost wages and potential future earning capacity losses.
- Future damages: In cases involving long-term or permanent injuries, our lawyers consider how those injuries will impact your quality of life and future earning potential.
- Pain and suffering: Our lawyers often factor in the physical pain and emotional suffering endured by the plaintiff as a result of the accident.
Once we understand the full impact the accident had on your life and the lives of your family members, we will determine the value of your claim. While some damages, such as medical bills and lost income, are easy to quantify with invoices, pay stubs, and receipts, others, such as pain and suffering, are more difficult to calculate.
Our lawyers use one of two methods to determine the value of pain and suffering damages: the multiplier or the per diem method. The multiplier method involves multiplying your economic, or quantifiable, damages by a number, usually between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your accident injuries. The per diem method involves calculating a value based on a daily rate, usually your salary or wages.
State Farm Calculates Damages Differently
State Farm uses a completely different approach to assess injury claim damages — a specialized claim estimation software known as TEACH. This program reviews your medical records, identifies necessary treatments, and estimates costs. Additionally, it computes lost income and assigns a value to your pain and suffering.
However, this process can underestimate your damages. For example, the adjuster might overlook the severity of your injuries. And, TEACH may not understand the expenses associated with more extensive or additional medical treatments or the long-term consequences of your injury.
As a result, State Farm will make you an offer based on TEACH’s calculations with little or no consideration of how much the accident has affected your and your family’s lives. We strongly recommend consulting an attorney before considering any offer from the insurance companies, as it is highly likely that you deserve significantly higher compensation.
Negotiate with State Farm for a Fair Settlement
Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, as they often try to minimize payouts. Our lawyer can handle all communication with State Farm adjusters on your behalf, ensuring that you don’t say anything that might harm your case.
We are trained negotiators who can work to secure a fair settlement on your behalf. Sometimes, this takes some back-and-forth discussions with State Farm. Throughout that process, we will strive to get you compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages you may be entitled to.
Represent You in Court
While most accident cases settle before trial, if State Farm refuses to offer a fair settlement through negotiations, we can file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf and represent you in court. We will build a strong case, present evidence, and argue on your behalf to seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful and overwhelming. Having a lawyer by your side can provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your recovery while they handle the legal aspects of your case.
The Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mickey Fine offer free consultations to discuss your accident, determine whether you have a valid case, and explain your legal options.