How to deal with Atlanta Car Accident Adjusters
While many Georgia car insurance company’s television ads are designed to make them sound friendly and helpful, when it comes to dealing with the insurance adjusters at these companies, it may be an entirely different story.
It’s the adjuster’s job to make money for the insurance company. One way they do this is by offering you a quick minimal settlement offer that, in many cases, is far below the amount you may be entitled to.
When it comes to dealing with car accident adjusters, each company may handle things a bit differently.
State Farm Insurance Adjusters
State Farm has a team of experienced and fairly reasonable adjusters for larger claims. Where you run into problems is with the folks handling claims under $50,000. They can be robotic and completely irrational. We just handled a small case for a family friend with $4,000 in bills and the cars were totaled with the wheels knocked off and they offered the medical bills only. That went into suit as a result. Generally speaking though, their adjusters are the best trained in the State of Georgia.
If you are dealing with State Farm Insurance as a result of your car accident, the first thing you want to do is find out who your adjuster is. If you discover that your claim is being handled by a team of adjusters, this means that they may consider your claim to be of lower value and/or risk and they may try to offer you a settlement that is far below the amount you may deserve. In our experience, State Farm adjusters are better trained than those at other insurance companies and while you might not agree with their evaluations, when they finally get into litigation and all the facts are known, they tend to do the right thing.
Understand that some cases can be settled without having to hire a lawyer and be patient with the adjuster because they get a lot of phony people trying to put one over on them. If your medical care is real, they will work with you.
Your State Farm adjuster may also want you to give a recorded statement. You do not have to give one, and the Atlanta auto accident lawyers of Christopher Simon recommends that you don’t give a recorded statement to any car insurance adjuster without running the situation by a lawyer on the phone first. This is part of the free consultation and is a wise move before you dive in and say something that costs you down the road.
Liberty Mutual Insurance Company Adjusters
Liberty Mutual Insurance is the 4th largest insurance company in the United States. As with many other insurance companies, Liberty Mutual makes money by paying out as little as possible on claims and shutting them down as soon as possible. Mr. Simon worked for Liberty as their attorney for three years and the frustrating truth is the adjusters are told to not consider the advice of their own in-house counsel. These are good people with lousy bosses who think that being belligerent in their claims handling will lead to increased profits. Be nice to the adjusters because they hate it as much as you do. Expect to have to file suit to get a case resolved.
The American Association for Justice (AJJ) recently published a report on the “Ten Worst Insurance Companies in America, and Liberty Mutual was on this list. One of the reasons they made the list, according to the American Association for Justice, is that they hired McKinsey & Co. to update their policies and the result is that the policies don’t work in your favor. AJJ’s report said that McKinsey & Co. promoted the policy to, “deny, delay, and defend.” This is to ensure that they pay out as little as possible on their claims.
In addition, if you’re making an uninsured motorist claim or another type of car insurance claim, you may find that Liberty Mutual is operating in bad faith. Some of the examples of bad faith on the part of Liberty Mutual is to:
- 1. Cause delays in paying your claim
- 2. Not investigate your claim completely
- 3. Deny a claim that is valid
- 4. Refuse to offer a settlement that is reasonable
- 5. Interpret the terms of your car insurance policy in an unfair manner.
In addition, the adjusters at Liberty Mutual may make you a ridiculously low offer on your claim. If you accept this offer, you give up any additional monetary compensation as a result of the accident, even if you still need medical treatment.
The Atlanta law firm of Christopher Simon wants you to know that you have the right to ask for or negotiate a larger settlement or you can file a lawsuit against Liberty Mutual instead of accepting the offer made by the insurance adjuster.
Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) Adjusters
GEICO is the second-largest car insurance company in the United States. As a result, there are many car accident claims pending within their company. They are owned by Warren Buffett and for some reason, they don’t share his practical vision of the world. GEICO has built up the Atlanta in-house claims office to 18 lawyers as of this writing but the truth is they are overwhelmed with work because they just don’t settle cases anymore. Almost every file we have with GEICO goes deep into litigation.
GEICO adjusters may argue who was at fault, or who has liability as a result of your car accident. In some cases, they may try to say that you were 50% at fault when the accident report clearly shows that you were not at fault for the car accident. This tactic is used to discourage you from getting continued medical treatment for your injuries that occurred as a result of the accident out of the fear that GEICO may not cover your remaining medical bills. I have had a GEICO adjuster whose driver was drunk and fled the scene of the crash on foot try to blame our driver for the accident. Hilarity.
As with some other insurance companies, GEICO may ask you to make a recorded statement. Do not do this because anything you may say could be used against you at a later date. In fact, even if they don’t ask you to make a recorded statement, they still may be recording the telephone call, so be careful what you say.
GEICO, like many other insurers, may reduce your medical bills based upon what they believe to be “usual and customary” medical charges for the same care you received in the same area you live in.
Progressive Insurance Company
Progressive Insurance Company’s adjusters are pretty much in the same boat as GEICO and Liberty in the pre-suit phase. They will make low offers initially, but once the suit is filed, you will have an early opportunity to work the case out.
The adjusters at Progressive Insurance Company may have been told to downplay your claim and use underhanded tactics in order to get you to accept a settlement offer far below what your claim is worth.
Allstate Insurance Company
Allstate Insurance Company adjusters use a software program called Colossus that assigns points rated for severity to each portion of your car accident claim. Colossus uses historical data that may indicate whether an attorney is more likely to litigate a claim or be open to negotiating a settlement. If Colossus determines that the attorney will take action, that is factored into the dollar amount of the claim.
That’s not even the biggest problem. Allstate decided in the middle of 2017 to stop accepting medical bills at face value. Although the law in Georgia is clear and the defendant owes the gross total of the bills, Allstate has decided to tell the jury they don’t owe what the victim owes. I understand their complaint that some lawyers use shady doctors with trumped-up bills but to argue that an ER bill is not legitimate is just plain stupid.
In addition, Colossus will not take into account monetary compensation for your pain and suffering, any loss of your ability to function from day-to-day, loss of time with your family, or any other problems you may be experiencing as a result of the accident.
Your Allstate adjuster is more than likely offer you close to what Colossus says your claim is worth. Be advised, that you don’t have to take the settlement offered to you, and you should seek out the advice of a qualified Georgia personal injury attorney to help you with your car accident claim.
Farm Bureau Georgia
Farm Bureau is a large insurance provider throughout the United States, and dealing with a Farm Bureau Georgia insurance adjuster, is much like dealing with an adjuster at other large car insurance companies.
Just as there are monetary limits to your car insurance policy, Farm Bureau Georgia’s adjusters have limited settlement authority, generally between $5,000 to $10,000 dollars. Some adjusters, however, may be able to settle your claim for up to $20,000.00.
As with other insurance companies, never agree to a recorded statement, and be aware that any telephone conversation you may have with your adjuster may be recorded without your knowledge.
While car insurance companies generally have the same procedures in place to handle claims, no two insurance companies are alike.
Nationwide adjusters routinely make low settlement offers to people not represented by a Georgia attorney in hopes that you will accept it. If you accept their first offer, you could be giving up your rights to more money as your medical and other bills continue to rise.
In addition, Nationwide adjusters are known to delay processing your claim until the last minute. They may do this to earn as much interest as possible on all the money they’ve collected from premium payments. They may also deny your claim which forces you to submit additional paperwork while you are still suffering from your injuries and your bills continue to pile up.
Never agree to a recorded statement and be aware that they may be recording all the telephone conversations you have with your adjuster.
No matter what insurance company you are dealing with as a result of your car accident in Georgia, the Atlanta law firm of Christopher Simon recommends that you hire a qualified car accident attorney to handle your claim. By using a Georgia attorney to handle your claim, you can concentrate on healing and know that you will be receiving all the monetary compensation you deserve.