GEICO is one of America’s leading car accident insurers. The answer to the question of how does GEICO pays car accident claims depends on many factors. Insurance companies like GEICO have settled claims for decades and they are very good at it. The car insurance process is never hassle-free but GEICO promises to settle claims in a “streamlined and stress-free” manner on its website.
GEICO promises to deliver a check to you “as soon as possible after the accident investigation is complete.” However, you should be aware claims for property damage are usually more straightforward than those for personal injury, particularly when liability is disputed. GEICO, like any other insurance company, is looking out to save its shareholders as much money as possible and to drive down your settlement. It can often take longer to receive a more substantial payout that covers the costs of your injuries. GEICO (short for Government Employees Insurance Company) was founded in 1936 and grew to become one of the largest insurers in the nation. It spends about $1 billion a year on advertising which shows the massive profits it is making. It touts that by spending 15 minutes switching to GEICO, you can save 15 percent or more.
That big advertising budget comes at a price – the payouts it makes to claimants. If you were injured in a collision in Maryland, contact Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice for a free consultation about your insurance claim.
What Process Does GEICO Use to Pay for Car Accident Claims?
If you suffer an injury or property damage you should file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who caused the Maryland car accident. Make sure to file a claim well before you lose the chance. In Maryland, the statute of limitations means you must take legal action no later than three years after the accident. If the driver is uninsured or cannot be found, file a claim with your own insurance company using underinsured (UIM) or uninsured motorist insurance (UM).
You should decide if you need an attorney early in the process. Factors like the extent of your injuries, whether liability is disputed, and the complexity of the case are relevant in your decision. It makes sense to seek a consultation with a Baltimore personal injury lawyer whether or not you intend to hire counsel.
When a claim is made to GEICO, the company will appoint an “adjuster” to investigate your case and put a value on your claim. The adjuster is an employee of the insurance company. The adjuster is tasked with keeping payouts down. He or she is usually given a range in which to make offers. GEICO prides itself on its customer service. However, you should be aware the adjuster is not on your side.
Factors a GEICO Insurance Adjuster Considers in Making an Offer in Maryland
The factors an insurance adjuster considers are similar to the considerations of a jury if the case comes to trial. They include:
- The actual expenses the car accident victim incurred such as medical bills and time off work;
- Future medical expenses;
- Pain and suffering as a result of an injury from a car wreck;
- The cost of property damage;
- Other negative impacts of the claimant’s injuries;
- Liability and whether the claimant may have contributed to his or her injuries;
- The limits of the claimant’s insurance coverage.
You may have to take your car to one of your GEICO’s approved body shops for repairs, but you can obtain an estimate at any body shop. Check with your agent before taking your car to any shop to make sure your insurance company will reimburse you.
What Information Will GEICO Need Before Paying for Car Accident Claims?
The insurance adjuster has a meticulous list of information he or she will collect. The adjuster will:
- Review the police report of the accident;
- Inspect your car for damage;
- Talk to witnesses who were at the accident scene;
- Visit the accident scene;
- Contact medical providers to get your medical reports;
- Ask you to sign a medical release to obtain your records;
- Review information relating to the loss of wages;
- Talk to you.
If you hire a car accident lawyer in Maryland, your attorney can deal with requests for medical records and other details relating to the crash on your behalf.
The insurance adjuster will decide whether your claim is justified. If, so he or she will make you an offer. If the adjuster denies your claim, you can appeal. It often makes sense to hire a Maryland car crash lawyer at this time.
Insurance companies like GEICO have standardized formulas to work out settlement offers. The insurance company usually adds up your medical expenses and multiplies them by a number from 1.5 to 5 to put a figure on pain and suffering.
You should be aware of an early offer from GEICO or another insurance company will usually be lower than what you could receive if a personal injury lawyer is negotiating on your behalf. Make a counteroffer or hire a lawyer to work up a better one.
If negotiations reach a stalemate, you should file a lawsuit well before the State of Limitation’s 3-year deadline for litigation. The filing of a lawsuit is important in the question of how does GEICO pays car accident claims. Insurance companies prefer to keep cases away from juries that can award high verdicts. Typically, GEICO will take a car accident injury claim more seriously if you file a lawsuit. However, insurance companies still play hardball. Often cases can take months to be resolved and settle on the eve of a trial or during a mediation hearing just weeks before a trial.
Ask a Baltimore Car Accident Injury Lawyer About GEICO Insurance Claims
At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we deal with GEICO claims on a weekly basis. We know how the company operates and the methods adjusters use to keep your settlement low. Dealing with GEICO or any other insurance company on your own can be intimidating. You can fall into traps. The insurance adjuster may get you to incriminate yourself, and undermine your case and eventual payout. Hiring a lawyer protects you from insurance company tricks and can drive up your eventual settlement. Please contact our Baltimore-based team today for a free consultation.