State Farm Car Accident Claims & Settlements Guide (2024)
December 29, 2023
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about State Farm Car Accident Claims and Settlements in Texas.
Here is an overview:
- Key Takeaways
- About State Farm
- State Farm’s Personal Injury Claims Process
- How to Negotiate with State Farm After a Car Accident
- Examples of Verdicts and Settlements in State Farm Cases
- State Farm’s $36 Million Verdict in Bad Faith Case
- Record-Breaking Settlement in Bad Faith Case Brought By State Farm Policyholders
- State Farm Faces Bad Faith Claim for Refusing to Settle After a $2.71 Million Jury Verdict
- Controversies Involving State Farm
- Litigating Against State Farm in Texas
- State Farm is a leading auto insurer in the U.S., known for its extensive market presence and notable advertising campaigns.
- The claims process with State Farm involves reporting the incident, claim review, getting an estimate, payment, and completion.
- Negotiating a claim successfully requires avoiding recorded statements, gathering evidence, timely medical attention, understanding policy details, and considering legal representation.
- Verdicts and settlements in State Farm cases vary, with some requiring litigation for fair compensation.
- State Farm has faced controversies, including allegations of using inferior repair parts.
- In Texas, personal injury lawyers view State Farm as challenging to deal with, often employing strategies to minimize claim payouts.
- Legal assistance is crucial for effectively navigating the complexities of State Farm claims and achieving fair settlements.
About State Farm
State Farm, founded in 1922, stands as a leading auto insurance provider in the United States. It’s renowned for its sizable market presence, with millions of policies in force covering various areas including automobiles, fire, life, and more.
State Farm’s unique approach to insurance is facilitated through exclusive agents, ensuring a personalized and dedicated service. This company has evolved significantly over the years, expanding from its initial focus on farmers to a wide range of financial services, including banking and mutual funds.
Its impact on the insurance industry is marked not only by its substantial client base but also by its influential marketing campaigns, including the famous “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle, penned by Barry Manilow. State Farm’s recognizable branding and commitment to customer service have cemented its position as a key player in the insurance sector.
State Farm’s Personal Injury Claims Process
Filing a claim with State Farm involves a straightforward, five-step process:
- Report the Incident: You can file a claim online, via the State Farm app, or by calling their 24/7 helpline at 800-SF-CLAIM (800-732-5246).
- Claim Review: State Farm will assess your claim individually, keeping you informed about the status and next steps.
- Get an Estimate: Choose a repair shop of your preference or use State Farm’s Select Service shop for guaranteed completion dates and limited lifetime warranties.
- Payment: State Farm will handle payments directly with the repair shop, deposit funds into your account, or send a check.
- Completion: Once your claim is processed, you can get back on the road.
The process is designed to be user-friendly, offering control and convenience through their app and website. It’s important to have details like the date, time, location, and description of the incident ready when filing a claim. The impact of the claim on your premium varies based on factors like fault, accident frequency, and driving history.
For more detailed information, you can visit the State Farm website.
How to Negotiate with State Farm After a Car Accident
Negotiating a claim with State Farm after a car accident involves strategic steps to ensure a fair settlement:
- Avoid Recorded Statements: Be cautious about providing recorded statements to State Farm without legal advice.
- Gather Evidence: Collect photographs, witness statements, and medical records to support your claim.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Document your injuries and follow through with all prescribed treatments.
- Acquire a Crash Report: Obtain a report from the authorities to strengthen your claim.
- Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer: An attorney can help navigate the complexities of insurance claims and protect your interests.
- Don’t Rush to Settle: Take time to understand the full extent of your damages before considering any settlement offers.
- Understand Your Policy: Know the details of your coverage and the process for filing a claim.
For detailed guidance, it’s advised to consult a personal injury lawyer and refer to resources like the Wagoner Law Firm’s article on writing a demand letter for a car accident settlement in Texas.
Examples of Verdicts and Settlements in State Farm Cases
Negotiating with State Farm in personal injury cases can be challenging. The following examples shed light on State Farm’s settlement tactics:
State Farm’s $36 Million Verdict in Bad Faith Case
In a recent lawsuit against State Farm, a Santa Fe jury found that the company had acted in bad faith and in breach of contract when it refused to raise its low-ball settlement offer to the family of a woman who died in a 2017 crash.
The jury awarded the estate of Andrea Lovato $36 million, including $24 million for bad faith practices. State Farm initially offered a settlement based on lower policy limits, despite Lovato having upgraded her coverage to $1 million just days before the accident. This verdict included punitive damages and was a response to State Farm’s breach of contract and violation of New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act and Insurance Practices Act.
Record-Breaking Settlement in Bad Faith Case Brought By State Farm Policyholders
In a record-breaking Illinois case, State Farm faced a lawsuit for acting against the interests of its own insureds, Bernadette and Charles Cook.
After the Cooks were injured by an uninsured driver, they rightfully claimed uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) benefits under their State Farm auto policy.
Instead of supporting their policyholders, State Farm refused to pay the arbitration-awarded amount. This action led to a significant lawsuit, ending in State Farm paying $650,000 in settlement.
State Farm Faces Bad Faith Claim for Refusing to Settle After a $2.71 Million Jury Verdict
In a case involving State Farm, a New Jersey jury awarded $2.71 million to a plaintiff who had suffered a neck injury in a 2017 crash caused by a wheel from another vehicle insured by State Farm.
The plaintiff’s truck was struck by the wheel, leading to a neck injury requiring cervical fusion. The defendants argued the injury was due to pre-existing conditions, but the jury found that the plaintiff’s medical issues were directly caused by the crash.
According to one source, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Kevin Parsons, intends to prosecute a claim against State Farm for bad faith in failing to participate in settlement negotiations before the verdict.
Controversies Involving State Farm
State Farm, one of the largest auto insurance providers in the United States, has faced numerous controversies over its claims handling and settlement practices over the years.
One notable controversy was the 1999 whistleblower case, where State Farm was accused of using inferior parts for auto repairs to cut costs.
State Farm has also been involved in various legal battles and lawsuits over its claim settlement processes. In some cases, State Farm has been accused of denying valid claims without a clear explanation, using various tactics to delay the settlement process, or providing lowball estimates.
Two notable lawsuits against State Farm include:
- Campbell v. State Farm: In 1981, Curtis Campbell caused an accident, resulting in a fatality and permanent disability. Despite being found 100% liable, State Farm refused to pay the excess amount beyond policy limits. Campbell then made a settlement with the victims to pursue a bad faith lawsuit against State Farm. In 1989, after the Utah Supreme Court’s decision, State Farm paid the full judgment amount. Campbell’s subsequent lawsuit against State Farm led to a $145 million punitive verdict for bad faith, fraud, and emotional distress.
- Cook v. State Farm: In 2015, Charles and Bernadette Cook, involved in a crash with an uninsured motorist, claimed under their State Farm policy. Despite their policy covering up to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence, State Farm refused to pay the awarded amounts of $100,000 and $400,000, citing an Illinois statute. The Cooks sued State Farm for negligence in the claims process and introduced excluded personal information during arbitration. State Farm settled for $650,000, the largest reported settlement for a bad faith claim against them in Illinois.
These cases highlight State Farm’s contentious handling of claims and the company’s legal battles over its claim settlement processes. Potential customers should consider these aspects and exercise caution when dealing with the company.
Litigating Against State Farm in Texas
In Texas, when litigating against State Farm related to auto accidents, expect a tough battle. Here’s a detailed breakdown of their tactics:
- Policy Limits: State Farm often offers minimum limit policies ($30K/60K). They compete like Walmart, focusing on volume and low prices rather than high-value coverage.
- Nickname “Snake Farm”: Lawyers familiar with State Farm often humorously refer to it as “Snake Farm” due to their cunning and deceptive litigation strategies.
- Social Media Surveillance: State Farm is known for extensive social media monitoring. They scrutinize your online presence to find any evidence that could weaken your claim.
- Private Investigators: In many cases, State Farm hires private detectives. These investigators secretly record your physical activities, looking for any action that contradicts your injury claims.
- Frivolous Legal Maneuvers: Their in-house attorneys often use unnecessary legal tactics. This includes frivolous discovery motions and objections, aiming to obstruct and delay the discovery process.
- Uncooperative Behavior in Litigation: These lawyers have been known for their reluctance to cooperate in legal processes. They may refuse to present corporate representatives for depositions, complicating the case.
- Violation of Civil Procedure Rules:
- Subpoenas Without Notice: State Farm’s defense lawyers sometimes serve document subpoenas directly to injured plaintiffs’ doctors to access medical records, bypassing the plaintiff’s attorney.
- Taking Depositions Secretly: They may take written depositions of the medical records custodians of the injured plaintiff without informing the plaintiff’s attorney.
Understanding these tactics can be vital in preparing for a lawsuit against State Farm in Texas. It highlights the importance of having an experienced personal injury lawyer who can effectively counter these strategies.