Brian White | February 6, 2024 | Personal Injury
The fact that State Farm is a for-profit business means it cannot be, and has never been, a “good neighbor” – at least not for those who file claims against one of its policies. State Farm makes money by accepting premiums, and they lose money by paying claims. That means their interests are directly adverse to yours, making them adversaries, not neighbors.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Houston, this is what you need to know.
The Tricks of the Trade
Any insurance company has a thousand tricks up its sleeve to gain an advantage in claim settlement negotiations, and State Farm is no exception. The following are just a few examples of common tactics.
State Farm Wants To Make Friends With You on Social Media
Did you know that your social media posts constitute admissible evidence in court? Insurance companies certainly know that, and they will try to gain access to your social media accounts. Accordingly:
- Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know;
- Don’t talk about your case on social media;
- Tell your friends not to talk about your case online; and
- Don’t upload anything that could call into question the seriousness of your injuries, such as a photo of you enjoying yourself at a party.
Better yet, suspend your social media accounts altogether while your claim is pending.
State Farm Will Use Your Own Words Against You
Imagine this back and forth between you and State Farm, as an example:
State Farm: “Good morning”
You: “Good morning”
State Farm: “How are you today?”
You: “I’m fine.”
State Farm: “Well, if you’re fine, then you must not be as seriously injured as you say you are!”
This hypothetical conversation is for illustrative purposes only. It illustrates how careful you have to be when talking to the insurance company. Assume every phone call is recorded.
State Farm Loves To Play “Lowball”
‘Lowball’ is an easy game for an insurance company to play. Simply offer the claimant only a small fraction of what their claim is worth, hoping that they will snap it up just so they can get the money immediately.
Even if you issue a reasonable counteroffer, don’t be surprised if State Farm won’t budge at first.
State Farm Loves To Sing Lullabies
“Singing you a lullaby” means deliberately subjecting you to a series of small, meritless claim processing delays. The idea is to stall you until you give up and accept their lowball offer, or accidentally miss the statute of limitations deadline to file a lawsuit (two years after the accident in most cases).
State Farm Loves To Go on Fishing Expeditions
An insurance company “goes on a fishing expedition” when you sign over unlimited access to medical records and they analyze them in detail, looking for something they can call a “pre-existing condition.”
They might seize upon an old back injury, for example, to assert that your current back pains were caused by your old injury, not your recent accident.
State Farm Hates Lawyers
State Farm will likely tell you that you don’t need a lawyer for “this type of claim.” Don’t fall for it unless the value of your claims is truly negligible. Insurance adjusters frequently experience sudden “attitude adjustments” the moment they realize that you have hired a seasoned personal injury lawyer to represent you, especially if the lawyer has a reputation for winning in court.
Bad Faith Insurance Claims
A bad faith insurance claim is a separate claim that you can file against an insurance company that treated you unfairly. If you win, you win twice–once for the underlying personal injury claim, and once for the bad faith insurance claim. Most of the foregoing tactics, however, don’t qualify as “bad faith” until they reach extreme levels.
Your Interests Coincide With Your Lawyer’s Interests
The more money you make in compensation, the less money the insurance company gets to keep. With your personal injury lawyer, it‘s the opposite—the more money you make, the more your lawyer makes.
That’s because your personal injury lawyer will almost certainly work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they will receive a percentage of your compensation as their legal fees. That, more than anything else, is what puts you on the same side as your lawyer.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More About Personal Injury Claims
For more information, contact the Houston personal injury law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054