How to Handle a Car Accident Claim with Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance was founded in California in 1928 by two men. It has grown into The Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. Together, Farmers Insurance companies are one of the largest insurers of homes, vehicles, and small businesses in the United States.
Because Farmers Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies in the country, you might likely encounter the company if you are involved in a car accident. Knowing how to handle car accident claims with Farmers Insurance can help you avoid some of the common mistakes people make that hurt their chance of recovering fair compensation for their injury claim.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Texas
Before you file an accident claim, there are several things that you should do after an accident.
After any car accident, you should:
- Call 911 to report the accident and request assistance from police and emergency medical services
- If possible, ask eyewitnesses to give you their contact information before they leave the accident scene
- Take pictures of the crash scene and make a video of the accident scene with your cell phone (only if it is safe for you to do so)
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than the police officer
- See a doctor as soon as possible to document your injuries
- Keep detailed notes of all conversations regarding the accident
- Stop posting information online or using social media accounts until you settle your accident claim or talk with an accident lawyer
Gather information that you will need to file a claim with Farmers Insurance, including your insurance information, copies of any documents received at the accident scene, and a copy of the accident report. You will need the other driver’s name and information to file an insurance claim.
Always notify your insurance company immediately after the accident. You may have coverage that applies regardless of who was at fault for the auto accident.
Filing an Insurance Claim with Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance has an online claims service center or a 24/7 call center. You can begin a claim online or call 1-800-435-7764 to file the claim.
You will be required to complete a questionnaire online or answer questions by telephone with an agent. Be careful how you answer questions during the initial filing of a claim with Farmers. Do not accept fault for the cause of the accident, and do not state that you are not injured, or your injuries are not serious.
After you report the accident to Farmers Insurance, it will assign a claims adjuster to investigate your claim. The adjuster’s job is to determine whether the company is liable for your damages. There must be evidence proving that the insured driver caused the accident.
An important thing to keep in mind. The insurance adjuster works for Farmers Insurance. His job is to protect the company by limiting the company’s liability for accident claims.
What does that mean for you? That means insurance adjusters try to undervalue or deny claims so the company can avoid paying a large settlement for an accident claim.
Therefore, if you were seriously injured in the car crash, the adjuster pressures you to provide a formal statement, or the adjuster tries to blame you for the cause of the accident, you may want to consult with experienced personal injury attorneys before you talk to the adjuster.
Negotiating a Settlement with Farmers Insurance
If you decide to handle the claim process yourself, the adjuster may issue you a settlement offer to resolve your claim.
There are a few things to keep in mind about settlement offers:
- The settlement offer is a legally binding agreement that releases all future claims and parties
- Insurance companies generally make settlement offers for less than the value of injury claims
- You should not settle an accident claim until you complete medical treatment, and your doctor states whether you have permanent impairments
- Make sure that you understand the types of damages you can include in the settlement offer and the value of your damages according to personal injury law
- You can negotiate for a higher settlement amount – You are not required to accept the initial offer from Farmers Insurance
Insurance claims that involve minor injuries and only a few thousand dollars in medical bills may be handled by the accident victims.
However, if you are unsure how much your accident claim is worth or do not understand what damages you might be entitled to include in a claim, you may want to consider talking to experienced personal injury lawyers before signing a settlement agreement.
When you sign a settlement agreement with Farmers Insurance, your claim is closed. Even if you discover that you have a permanent disability or you need another surgery, you cannot demand more money for your claim.
Insurance companies write settlement agreements to protect their interests. Therefore, the agreements generally include language that releases the company, the other driver, and any other parties from further liability for your damages.
Understand the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
Before negotiating a settlement after you filed a claim with Farmers Insurance, make sure you know how much your claim is worth.
In most cases, you are entitled to compensation for your financial losses and expenses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost income and benefits
- Travel expenses to and from doctors’ visits
- Medications and medical supplies
- Physical, occupational, and other therapies
The value of your economic losses is the actual total of all the bills, invoices, and receipts you have as evidence of your financial damages.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate. These damages include the pain and suffering you experienced because of the accident and your injury. There is not a formula for calculating pain and suffering damages.
Many insurance companies use a software program to place a value on these damages based on various factors. Generally, severe injuries and permanent impairments increase the value of pain and suffering damages. You may also be entitled to future loss of income and ongoing medical care for permanent impairments.
For personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities, it is best to seek legal advice about the value of your injury claim. The claims adjuster for Farmers Insurance is not going to tell you the actual value of your claim. If you settle your claim based on advice from the insurance company, you could be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars that you deserve.
Do Not Let the Statute of Limitations Expire
Car accident lawsuits are subject to the Texas Statute of Limitations. Typically, you have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. However, there are a few exceptions.
If the insurance company delays your claim, contact a lawyer to avoid losing your right to file a lawsuit.
Contact Our Texas Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have questions about a claim with Farmers Insurance, contact our Houston law office at (713) 500-5000 to schedule a free case review with one of our Texas car accident attorneys. We are familiar with Farmers Insurance and its claim process.