GET MORE MONEY: 3 Things You Need to Know about the GEICO Claim Process
Attorneys for GEICO Injury Claims Help Car Accident Victims Win Bigger Settlements
This Practical Guide Can Help You Get a Bigger Settlement Check from Your Insurance Company
Government Employees Insurance Company is the second-largest auto insurer nationwide, providing coverage to more than 14 million Americans. GEICO sells policies directly to customers rather than relying on insurance agents and has an award-winning mobile app with digital insurance cards, quick response messaging, accident assistance, and more. Popular features like their innovative coverage calculator and well-known TV commercials help GEICO stand out from the crowd.
But... where the rubber meets the road is in how GEICO customers feel about the company after filing a claim. Like any insurance company, GEICO’s bottom line is making money, and since GEICO is owned by Berkshire Hathaway (a multinational conglomerate led by Warren Buffett), this is clearly something they’re very good at.
If you’re involved in a GEICO injury claim following a car accident, you need an experienced lawyer protecting your right to fair compensation.
Milwaukee car accident lawyers at Warshafsky Law are highly experienced in negotiating with GEICO and other insurers to secure the maximum settlement amount for injured victims of car accidents. Some of our lawyers are even former insurance industry attorneys, giving our legal team a unique understanding of the GEICO settlement process and how insurance companies operate.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®
hen people choose their personal injury lawyer based on the endorsement of a football player or actor, they risk choosing an attorney who has never won more money in a courtroom. Settlement mills forward your paperwork and take a cut of your damages.
Hundreds of times we have prepared cases like yours beyond the brink of trial. Facing unlimited liability AND an expensive jury trial, insurance companies fess up what your case is worth. They HATE when you choose Warshafsky. Insurance companies know: it IS about the money.
Our Definitive Guide to GEICO Insurance Claims:
1. Dealing with GEICO during the Insurance Claims Process
Speak with our experienced personal injury attorneys before speaking with the insurance adjuster.
GEICO provides a simple insurance claim process over the phone or through their website or mobile app. In minutes you’re able to report a car crash, hit and run accident or vehicle damage, request roadside assistance, and even schedule a repair. You’ll receive a confirmation e-mail right away, and a claim examiner will call you to explain the next steps. GEICO typically has fast response times when investigating a claim—after all, the sooner the claim is settled, the more money they save.
You may be feeling eager to get the claims process over with, which is what they’re counting on. Insurance adjusters are usually very nice and personable people, but when they say, “I’m sorry that happened, sir. Let’s get this taken care of for you ASAP,” what it means is they want you to sign the smallest possible check to make you disappear from their ledger.
We’re not saying GEICO reps are devious. The truth is they have a job to do, which is to save their company as much money as they can get away with. It can be easy to forget this important fact when you’re in a stressful situation (like looking at the wreck of your car, or lying in a hospital bed with a concussion) and someone is telling you they want to settle quickly for YOUR benefit.
How Insurers Gather Information
During the claims process with GEICO, you can expect a liability examiner to interview everyone involved in the accident. They will also collect as much information as possible from:
- the police report
- passenger and witness statements
- photos and measurements from the scene
- researching repair estimates
- anything you say
An insurance adjuster may also ask you to sign medical authorization forms. It is extremely unwise to sign any forms giving your insurance company access to your medical records without first consulting a lawyer. The forms are usually crafted to allow the insurer complete access to your detailed medical history. Then they go hunting for any past medical issue (even if it’s a psychiatric evaluation or an injury from 25 years ago) which could be used to dispute your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine which medical records must be provided to the insurance company and when it’s appropriate to share them.
In our experience, insurance companies will do whatever they can to get their hands on information which they will NOT hesitate to use against you in the future. You may even be placed under surveillance while going about your daily life. They’re not looking out for your best interests, no matter how friendly a rep may seem. The insurance adjuster’s duty is to their employer, and their goal is to pay you as little as possible.
Before You Speak to an Insurance Adjuster
The best way to handle a conversation with an insurance adjuster is to be respectful and do your homework. You can avoid being taken advantage of by talking to a personal injury lawyer experienced in dealing with insurance companies. If an adjuster calls you immediately after an accident, you aren’t obligated to make a statement. Be polite but firm, ask for contact information, and tell them you will call when you are ready. The best course of action for most personal injury claims is to consult with an attorney first, and let them handle the insurance company going forward. In any case, NEVER admit any degree of liability or fault during a phone conversation or interview with an insurance adjuster or representative.
2. Making a GEICO Injury Claim without a Lawyer
America's toughest personal injury attorneys protect victims' rights.
Before you contact an insurer about an injury claim, make sure you are informed of the risks involved if you speak to an insurance adjuster without an attorney. Every time you speak on the phone with anyone at your insurance company, you can safely assume the conversation is being recorded. You may inadvertently say something the adjuster can use against you—even a small inconsistency or innocent mistake will do.
Making your case and negotiating a settlement can be intimidating, especially when you’re facing a powerful organization and professionals who do this for a living. If you are well-prepared with documentation proving the value of your claim, you are more likely to be satisfied with the settlement amount.
It never hurts to show good faith as well as good manners, and it’s likely the insurance rep will be very personable and easy to talk to. But don’t be taken in—a friendly demeanor doesn’t mean they’re your friend. They’re paid to put you at ease, and if they can use charm to get you to take a lowball offer, they will. Trust us, they haven’t taken their eyes off the bottom line for one second.
Be Aware of Common Insurance Company Practices
The claims process has many pitfalls for an inexperienced claimant, so it’s wise to get informed about the process and be cautious. After an accident, you get ONE chance to recover the damages you need to put your life back together. One misstep or one misspoken word is all an insurance company needs to dispute or deny your claim—and don’t think they won’t use it.
Remember: an insurance representative will ALWAYS serve the company’s best interests. Warshafsky’s experienced personal injury lawyers serve YOUR best interests.
More helpful tips about the claims process:
- An insurance adjuster doesn’t decide how much you’re entitled to; they decide how much they’re going to offer you. A settlement check isn’t a definite statement of value; it’s just an offer. You’re in a business negotiation. The insurance company will say things like, “After a thorough investigation and using highly specialized software, we’ve determined the value of your claim,” to get to you believe it’s an official statement of value. Don’t be fooled. Even a printed check is only an offer, and once you sign it you can NEVER pursue further compensation.
- Realize the insurance representative is trained and experienced and everything they do is calculated. Don’t be surprised if you demand a certain settlement amount and the rep responds by saying they need to consider it and get back to you. Ending the conversation and wasting your time is one of many delay tactics insurance professionals use to slow down the process, hoping frustration and financial hardship will pressure you to settle for less.
- Put it in writing. When communicating with your insurance company, write a letter or send an e-mail to create proof of your actions (which you may need in the future if they dispute the accuracy or timeliness of your submissions). After speaking on the phone, send a short follow-up note to confirm the statements and promises made by the representative.
- You’re one individual up against a powerful chain of command. The insurance adjuster you first speak to could very easily have instructions preventing them from offering you more than a certain amount. Let’s say you ask for a supervisor. The supervisor has a unit manager, who has a claims manager, who has a regional manager, and so on. And each boss of a boss has a playbook filled with strategies for convincing you to accept the smallest check possible. This is likely the only insurance claim on your mind. It’s one of thousands for an insurance company, and they do this every single day.
- Negotiating with an insurer isn’t like haggling at a car dealership. Insurance companies have legions of professionals (including attorneys) dedicated to limiting or eliminating your settlement. Your chance of arriving at a fair settlement amount is significantly higher when your claim is backed by the resources of an experienced team of aggressive personal injury lawyers.
When it’s clear you’re not going to roll over and take a lowball settlement offer, an insurance company has many “deny, delay, and confuse” tactics they can use to make things very unpleasant and difficult for you. They know full well you may be having financial difficulties after your accident, and you might eventually settle for any amount of money just to receive something at all in a time of crisis. They also count on your getting discouraged and frustrated, waiting for you to make a mistake they can exploit to limit or deny your claim.
Claims adjusters’ tactics range from the annoying, such as losing your paperwork, to the serious, such as using impossibly obscure and confusing terminology as a reason to deny your claim (after Hurricane Katrina, many homeowners who had purchased hurricane insurance suddenly found themselves denied coverage because of an incomprehensible “anti-concurrent” clause). Some adjusters will even try to scare you by threatening legal problems if you talk to a lawyer (the irony being the insurance company has dozens of lawyers working on their side).
Be Ready to Prove Fault
Determining liability is an extremely important factor in a personal injury claim. If it’s obvious someone else was at fault for your injury, you have a better chance of success in handling your claim alone. But if it’s less than crystal clear the other party was responsible for your injury, or if any argument can be made showing you share even some of the liability (they may say you were driving too fast or not paying full attention), then expect the insurer to put up a fight. They profit from creating a delay in settling your claim, because they’re earning interest on investments while you’re watching the invoices pile up.
3. How to Increase Your GEICO Settlement Offer
Jump to: Knowing What Your Claim Is Worth
Warshafsky Law personal injury firm makes sure you get the most for your personal injury claim.
In rare cases an insurance adjuster can be reasoned with and make the necessary changes to provide a fairer settlement amount. Although hiring a personal injury lawyer is most likely the fastest way to substantially increase the amount of your settlement, there are some things you can try:
1. Be prepared.
Begin by explaining the reason for your injury claim, and mention specific points showing the value of your claim. It is likely the insurance adjuster is already aware of these facts, but you’re demonstrating your knowledge of the claims process and a fair estimation of your damages.
2. Document every penny you spend as a result of your accident.
Medical bills, receipts for prescription drugs, your car’s mileage as you drive to and from the doctor, recent paystubs proving your income before the accident, and written repair estimates for vehicle damage will all help prove the cost of your damages. An insurance adjuster’s job is to justify the amount of the settlement. If you provide proof of its value, it will help your claim go more smoothly.
3. Keep your cool.
State the minimum amount you are willing to settle for, and keep in mind the insurance adjuster WILL make you a lowball offer. They have specific instructions, and in fact may not have the authority to make you a higher offer unless a lawsuit is filed. If you feel like you’re getting nowhere, stay calm, be respectful, and ask to speak to their supervisor or a different claims adjuster.
4. Don’t sell yourself short.
No matter how draining the negotiation process is, don’t let fatigue or a desire to get this thing over with lead you to accept an inadequate offer. It’s exactly what they’re counting on. Never sign a settlement agreement if it leaves you stuck with outstanding bills or fails to fairly compensate you.
Be aware of your timeline. In some cases an insurance company will delay the process so effectively, the statute of limitations on when you are able to file a lawsuit expires. Then you are stuck with whatever they offer you because you no longer have the ability to use your biggest bargaining chip: taking legal action.
5. Consider hiring an attorney.
Going over your claim with an experienced personal injury lawyer is a good way to know if your claim’s value is in the right range. An attorney will also take the burden of negotiations off your shoulders—in fact, once you hire legal representation all communication between yourself and the insurance adjuster must cease. A personal injury lawyer is a professional negotiator who may help you collect a much larger settlement than you were prepared to accept acting on your own.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.® Get MORE MONEY for Your Claim. Bring in the BIG DOGS
Sometimes you’ll be able to work with an insurance adjuster to reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement amount. If your injury was minor and you feel confident you’ve been fairly compensated, you can move on. However if you’ve sustained significant injuries or the final outcome of your medical treatment is unclear, it can be hard to know from a limited perspective whether the amount you’re looking at is adequate. An experienced personal injury attorney, on the other hand, has seen a wide range of insurance settlements and understands how to calculate the comprehensive value of your claim.
Knowing What Your Claim Is Worth
Some damages are easy to calculate, such as repair costs and medical bills. However calculating lost wages and lost earning potential can quickly become problematic if you’re self-employed or between jobs, or if you need to determine the present value of a future earning capacity. You may also be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, or mental anguish, which defy exact calculation.
Having an experienced legal team on your side gives you access to greater insight and resources to defend the value of your claim. The reputation of a law firm determined to win at court also works in your favor. Insurance companies know the only limit on a settlement amount is determined by a jury trial, and it’s in their own best interest to settle out of court.
We understand the way insurance companies think, because our legal team includes former insurance industry attorneys. Not only do we know insurance companies, they know Warshafsky Law. Insurers value your claim based on the quality of your lawyer, and we have a reputation for preparing each and every case we take to win at trial. When you’re represented by Warshafsky, your insurance company sits up and takes notice. Typically, the first thing they do is make you a much larger settlement offer.
Seasoned Personal Injury Attorneys Know How to Handle GEICO Claims
Personal Injury Law Firm eager to fight insurance companies and get you the best financial compensation.
To an insurer, there’s nothing personal about your personal injury claim. It’s not enough to need and deserve a settlement—they don’t collect tens of millions a year in profits by taking people’s word for it, and they aren’t likely to pay the settlement amount you’re entitled to without a fight.
The attorney you choose may be the most influential factor in determining the amount of your settlement. Many personal injury law firms are content to cooperate with the insurance companies, “signing and settling” as many cases as they can, as quickly as possible, and collecting their fee. Insurers know they won’t be taken to court, so there’s a limit to what they’ll offer the settlement-mill lawyers.
The determined personal injury lawyers at Warshafsky will go the distance to make sure the insurance company compensates you for ALL recoverable damages. When our accomplished trial lawyers are in your corner, your rights will be defended and your compensation will be maximized. We understand the economic duress imposed by bill collectors and creditors and will relieve some of the pressure as we fight for your settlement. You will pay absolutely nothing in fees until you receive your compensation.
INJURED? It IS About The Money.®