What Should I Expect from the Car Accident Settlement Process with GEICO?
If you are dealing with GEICO after an injury accident, you might be curious about how the injury claim and settlement process works.
If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a GEICO customer, you must deal with this mega-insurer to get a settlement for your damages. Some common questions you might have include:
- What is GEICO’s claims process?
- How long does it take for GEICO to settle? and
- Will GEICO offer a reasonable settlement in my case?
Learning some basic information about the company can help. Likewise, understanding their policies and processes can make it easier to get through the complex process of obtaining an injury accident settlement.
Before making any decisions, consider talking to a car accident lawyer about your case. A car accident lawyer can help protect your legal rights and fight to get you the settlement you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
What Is GEICO?
You’re likely familiar with GEICO’s many light-hearted and irreverent commercials. Beyond the clever advertising campaigns, however, you might not know too much more about the company’s history and reputation as an insurance company.
Originally established in 1936 as the Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO insured only military members and federal employees until 1974. Today, GEICO provides auto insurance policies to the general public. The company ranks as the second-largest insurer in the U.S., second only to State Farm.
Although GEICO formerly underwrote property and life insurance, the company focuses exclusively on auto insurance today, insuring more than 28 million vehicles.
How to Contact GEICO’s Claims Department
GEICO writes a large percentage of its policies directly to consumers, rather than selling through insurance agents. You can learn how to file a GEICO insurance claim on the company’s website. You can also find information there about how to contact GEICO about an existing claim.
Some customers do purchase their policies through authorized agents. If you had an accident with a GEICO insured, you may be able to contact their independent agent for help reaching the claims department.
Should I Expect GEICO to Make a Fair Settlement Offer?
Just as you would expect to encounter with any large insurer, GEICO personal injury settlements come in all forms and sizes.
No insurance company is anxious to pay an accident victim fair value for their claim. In fact, most insurers will attempt to pay as little as possible. Getting a fair settlement offer from GEICO requires time, patience, and, sometimes, help from an experienced car accident attorney.
Several settlement disputes involving GEICO have made headlines over the past few years. In many of these cases, including one notable case in Miami, the jury held GEICO accountable for bad faith dealings with accident victims.
In another court case, this one in Palm Beach, a jury compelled GEICO to pay $8.48 million to a victim’s family in a wrongful death claim. The insurer’s original payment on the claim had been for $100,000. GEICO appealed, but the verdict was upheld.
GEICO has substantial resources at its disposal. The company will not hesitate to leverage those resources to minimize your claim value or deny your claim outright.
How Long Does It Take GEICO to Send a Settlement Check?
You won’t collect any compensation from GEICO until you agree to a settlement.
Once you initiate a claim, the company will assign an adjustor to review the facts of your case. The adjustor will eventually come to you with an offer to resolve the case.
The company’s first settlement offer is likely to seriously undervalue your claim, often to the point of being ridiculous. However, some accident victims accept these lowball offers because the company’s adjustors convince them it’s the best they’re going to get. Other victims accept lowball offers because they need the funds immediately.
If you want to recover the full value of your damages, you could be waiting and negotiating for a long time. GEICO and other insurers rely on the fact that individual consumers often lack the legal knowledge and resources to fight for fair compensation. Having a car accident lawyer to represent you can help force the insurer to negotiate in good faith and offer a reasonable settlement.
Tips for Getting Fair Value in Your GEICO Accident Settlement
You can’t expect GEICO (or any large insurance company) to play fair when it comes to negotiating your settlement. Fortunately, you can take action to help prevent large insurers from taking advantage of you.
Do Not Provide Any Statements to GEICO
When you open a claim with any insurance company, the adjustor will request a recorded statement from you. The adjustor will assure you this is standard practice and perhaps even suggest that this step is necessary to move your claim forward.
You need to understand that you are not required to provide any statement, and most car accident attorneys advise against making a statement. GEICO can use anything you say during your statement against you.
Likewise, be careful of anything you say when meeting with the insurance adjustor. Even the most casual comment can undermine your claim. Talk to an attorney before you provide any statement, especially one that the insurer records.
Do Not Agree to Any Payout or Settlement
Another common practice used by GEICO and other car insurance companies is making an early offer for settlement. In almost every case, these offers represent only a portion of your claim’s true value. Insurance companies attempt these lowball offers with the hope that you need money ASAP to cover your bills.
Although that might be true, accepting an undervalued offer comes with the stipulation that you can’t pursue any further claim for your injuries. You may not realize the actual value of your claim, and GEICO will try to take advantage of your vulnerability.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer to Negotiate with GEICO
Despite what might sound like dire circumstances, GEICO car accident settlements can be fair to the victim. Understanding the value of your claim will help, but that’s just the first step. You must also know how to document your claim and fight for what you deserve.
That’s where an experienced car accident lawyer can help.
Personal injury lawyers—especially those who have experience negotiating GEICO settlements—can provide much-needed assistance. Your lawyer can gather evidence and document your claim thoroughly. Lawyers have the knowledge and resources to build a persuasive case and negotiate your claim.
If GEICO won’t settle for an acceptable dollar amount, your lawyer can move forward with a lawsuit.
Signs That You Need to File a Personal Injury Claim Against GEICO
After a car accident, you might feel like you’re fighting a losing battle with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If that company is GEICO, those frustrations can quickly become overwhelming.
You need the resources to pay for medical treatment and care. If you can’t work because of your injuries, you might also need help with living expenses. If the insurer pressures you to make statements or accept a settlement, talk to a lawyer to explore your options.
Consult a GEICO Car Accident Lawyer at No Cost
The Florida personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk understand what you’re facing, and we can help. For more than 30 years, we have fought for clients who were wrongfully injured. We know how to deal with insurance giants like GEICO. We help protect your legal rights and fight for every dollar you deserve for your injuries and other damages.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, and we never collect any legal fees until we recover a settlement in your case. If you would like to learn more about what you should expect from the car accident settlement process with GEICO, contact us now.