Here we will cover settlement negotiating tips and secrets State Farm adjusters don’t want you to know in order to maximize your bodily injury settlement, including answers to frequently asked questions regarding State Farm car accident settlements.
Overview of State Farm Claims
State Farm is the largest insurance company in the United States (by direct premiums written). With their massive marketing budget, they’ve attempted to convince consumers that like a good neighbor, State Farm is there if you ever need them. However, the over the years, their policyholders would likely disagree with their well-known tagline.
State Farm leads the charge in overhauling the handling of auto insurance claims with their internal company philosophy of the Three D’s—DELAY, DENY, DEFEND.
Even when presented with valid claims, they decided to unnecessarily delay the handling of these claims by taking their time in investigating and ultimately determining liability on those that were valid.
They’d also deny valid claims, leaving the claimant with the only choice of going to court.
And they’d aggressively defend these cases throughout litigation.
What this all meant for State Farm was more time to hold the premiums in their hands so that they could maximize the investment income on this money. What this meant for their insureds and claimants was frustration, wasted time, and countless lawsuits filed.
In an 18-month CNN investigation, it was found that State Farm (along with Allstate) employed a hardball scheme in minor-crash claims, including employing the Three-D’s, convincing juries that these claims were fraudulent, and treating claimants unfairly.
Documents CNN obtained in the investigation highlighted that this scheme was purely for profit and was not to crack down on fraud, as State Farm had claimed.
Fighting State Farm’s Delay, Deny, Defend Strategy
You don’t need to fall victim to State Farm’s strategy to avoid paying or undervaluing your auto accident injury claim. The following 10 tips will help in fighting back and avoid being a casualty to State Farm’s Three-D’s strategy:
1. Get Medical Treatment Immediately
If you’re injured, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Preferably go to the emergency room by ambulance. Now is not the time to be cheap. Of course, you only want to seek medical treatment if you’re injured. Don’t go faking your injuries. State Farm will find you out (see #7 below).
If you’re not initially in pain immediately after the accident, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not injured. When your adrenaline is rushing through your body after an auto accident, many times you are numb to pain. You may wake up the next day or several days later stiff, sore, or with limited range of motion in your back, neck, or limps.
You can go to an emergency room or urgent care later down the road but as time passes, it’ll be more difficult to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident. State Farm certainly gives claimants a hard time if there are substantial gaps in medical treatment. Don’t let this happen. Get to the doctor (this includes the chiropractor)!
2. Do Not Give State Farm A Recorded Statement
State Farm is notorious for asking for a recorded statement from claimants. DO NOT GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT! There is no requirement under the law that you give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company.
I will preface this by saying do not give a recorded statement to State Farm if they are the insurance carrier of the at-fault party.
If they are your insurer and you’re making a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, PIP, Medical Payments, Collision, or Comprehensive coverages, then you’ll need to talk to them. But be very careful in talking to them. Although they are your insurance company, this is where things become adversarial. It’s probably best in this scenario to discuss your case with a car accident lawyer prior to talking with State Farm.
3. Reject State Farm’s “nuisance” Offer
A “nuisance” offer is an offer made by an insurance company to quickly settle a case for an absurdly low amount to make the claimant go away. These offers range anywhere from the low hundreds to low thousands. Sometimes they may even offer to pay your emergency room bill or a few visits to the chiropractor, at a reduced amount, of course. Reject these types of offers!
If State Farm is offering you any money for your bodily injury claim, they likely have more to offer, if you can prove your case’s damages to them. By “damages,” I mean medical expenses, lost wages, and any general damages, including pain and suffering.
On many injury claims, specifically those with soft tissue injuries, State Farm assigns the claim to a team. This means State Farm is placing a low value on your case. These team adjusters typically have very low settlement authority and will try to get the case resolved as quickly as possible before the claimant gets a lawyer involved.
Before any offer is accepted in writing or over the phone, make sure you at least talk to a car accident lawyer. They always give free consultations and if you hire one, you will not have to pay them anything up front. They’ll only get paid if they are able to win your case.
One more thing: if you settle your case by signing a release or accepting an offer orally, it will be extremely difficult to get out of it. Remember a settlement is final! Trying to get State Farm to pay you more money after you’ve settled with them will be futile.
4. Know The “eggshell Skull Plaintiff” Doctrine
State Farm, like the vast majority of insurance companies, ignore this important legal doctrine. Not only do they ignore it, but they try to turn the tables on the claimant when it comes to preexisting conditions or injuries.
So, what is the Eggshell Skull Plaintiff doctrine? It’s a common law (judge created) doctrine that says the defendant takes the plaintiff as he finds him when he makes the plaintiff’s condition worse. This means the defendant is liable for an exasperation or aggravation of a preexisting injury or condition.
Here’s an example: an at-fault driver causes a minor fender-bender with a little old lady that has bones as brittle as glass and shatters her hip. Here, the at-fault driver is responsible for making the little old lady’s condition worse. It doesn’t matter that this little fender-bender wouldn’t have caused this type of injury to most people.
Another example of this is with a claimant with an asymptomatic (i.e., no symptoms) herniated disc in his lower back that now becomes symptomatic as a result of a careless driver rear-ending him at a red light. It doesn’t matter that the careless driver didn’t cause the herniated disc. All that matters is that the careless driver aggravated a preexisting injury, for which he/she is responsible under the Eggshell Skull Plaintiff doctrine.
State Farm will try to use a preexisting injury or condition against you, claiming that you have failed to establish your case against their driver. They’ll claim that it’s almost impossible to sort out a prior injury from a potentially new or aggravated one. This is not true.
A good place to start in proving an exasperation or aggravation is with your prior medical history. You may be able to provide State Farm with medical records that document the lack of any issues with the particular body part in question. Most people see their primary care physicians at least once a year for a checkup. If you had any complaints, you most certainly would express them to your doctor.
Proving an exasperation or aggravation to a preexisting injury or condition can get quire complex. So, it’s important to consult with a lawyer before you start sending your prior medical records to State Farm. Keep in mind, you absolutely have no obligation to provide them with your prior medical history. If they do not get your permission by having you sign a medical release before acquiring your medical records on their own, they are violating HIPAA.
By the way, you should not provide a signed medical release to the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
5. Know The Factors Affecting Your Case Value
There are many factors that affect the value of an auto accident injury case. Some factors are more important than others, including:
Facts of Your Case
Obviously, facts matter. But what facts are most relevant in an auto accident injury case? Well, a few include the extent of the property damage of all vehicles involved in the collision; the county where the accident occurred; independent witnesses, and the road conditions. These facts all play into valuation.
The extent of property damage matters because the more property damage, the more likely there are to be serious injuries. The county where the accident occurred matters since State Farm may pay more in a more plaintiff-friendly venue. There being independent witnesses that saw the accident matter when liability is being questioned by State Farm in a word against word accident. And road conditions matter since it may affect how State Farm places fault on each party.
Severity of Injuries
State Farm pays more money on more serious injuries, as you may have guessed. Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, are worth less than a broken bone or fracture. However, keep in mind that just because you have a soft tissue injury doesn’t mean your injuries aren’t serious. Claimants with soft tissue injuries, such as a herniated disc, can recover more than a minimal amount from State Farm. Proper and consistent medical treatment are crucial in these types of cases.
As mentioned above, proper and consistent medical treatment is crucial in proving up your injury case. Fundamentally, it is the plaintiff’s burden in proving their case against the defendant. This includes proving their damages. Typically, the largest driver in most personal injury cases is the medical bills. Without proper and consistent medical treatment, you can end up only being offered a nuisance offer, especially if your injuries are not apparent (e.g., soft tissue injuries).
Any fault placed on you can be devastating to your claim against State Farm. For example, if they determine that you are 50% at fault for your intersection accident, you have effectively cut your potential maximum compensation in half.
The state in which the accident occurred will determine whether you may be barred from recovering some or all of your damages.
In some states like Arizona, California, or Florida, you can technically still recover some of your damages even if you’re 99% at fault.
In other states like Texas, if you are more than 50% at fault for your accident, you are completely barred from recovering any of your damages.
In many cases against State Farm, your potential compensation will be limited to the amount of the at-fault party’s policy limits.
For example, if the at-fault driver only has a $30,000/$60,000 liability policy, that is the maximum you can receive from State Farm. However, if you have your own underinsured motorist coverage or MedPay/PIP, you may be entitled to more than the State Farm policy limits.
Another important note on State Farm policy limits: If the State Farm insured has a large policy and your injuries are minor (e.g., soft tissue injuries), they will do their best to low-ball you. More on this below.
An important factor in valuing any auto accident case is knowing who the at-fault party’s insurance company is. Some pay more than others. We’re discussing State Farm here. They are the largest insurance carrier in the United States. That doesn’t mean they are the best quality insurance company though.
If I had to assess their quality, out of the big five insurance companies, I’d put them near dead last. They’re cheap, they use unfair tactics in negotiating claims, they undervalue claims, and they would push every case to litigation if they had their choice.
However, they are not invincible. Every insurance company has an Achilles heel. That Achilles heel is a well-informed claimant, an experienced car accident lawyer, and justice herself. They can’t dodge a lawsuit and avoid paying a judgment. Remember that. The law is on your side in these cases if they are handled correctly.
An aggravating factor is one where the at-fault party acts beyond just regular negligence.
Remember, in a personal injury case based in negligence, all that you must prove is that the defendant failed to meet the reasonable person standard and as a result the plaintiff suffered recognizable damages.
If the defendant acts with either gross negligence or recklessness, both of which are elevated levels of culpability above regular negligence, they may be liable for punitive damages.
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages (e.g., medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering) and are intended to punish the defendant for their conduct. In effect, an aggravating factor can increase the value of a claim.
An example of this is an accident that was caused by a drunk driver.
Who the defendant is matters. If the defendant is a corporation whose driver caused the accident, the corporation will be responsible for the damages under the Respondeat Superior doctrine. Juries and State Farm adjusters tend to award more money to the plaintiff in cases where there is a corporate defendant that caused the accident.
There are two main reasons for this: (1) juries think corporations have deeper pockets to compensate the injured party, and (2) they are less sympathetic to a huge company with tons of assets.
The defendant’s profile is also relevant to value where the defendant has a substantial criminal history or has a bad driving record. The defendant’s background doesn’t usually come into evidence at trial to show the defendant is a bad person or bad driver but may come in as evidence to show their propensity towards truthfulness when testifying. This still has the same effect as it being offered as “bad character” evidence before the jury. In effect, this evidence most likely will increase the value of your claim against State Farm.
6. Negotiate Your Case Properly
You should always start your negotiations with State Farm high—a number that you know they won’t pay, but one based in reality. For example, you don’t want to start negotiations at $500,000 when you have whiplash and only sought medical treatment at a chiropractor. But you don’t want to start off too low either and paint yourself into a corner.
Know the number you would take to settle your claim before you start negotiations. With each round of offers, see if it’ll be beneficial to match the movement of the adjuster as they come up from their previous offer. Also, don’t ever bid against yourself by lowering your offer if the adjuster doesn’t increase their offer. Wait for them to come up before you come down.
Typically, State Farm will low-ball you on their first offer, especially if you are claiming soft tissue injuries. This offer will most likely be based only on medical bills that they have considered reasonable with adjustments for what they claim is usual and customary within your particular geographic location. They will then add in a nominal amount for general damages (e.g., pain and suffering).
Usually, State Farm adjusters will move from their initial offer anywhere from three to five times. If you hit a wall in negotiating, see if you can provide the adjuster with any new information that might give them a reason to increase their offer.
Go over each line item of your medical bills with the adjuster. Ask them how much of each bill they are considering and whether they are considering ALL of your bills. State Farm is notorious for discounting the medical bills based on their arbitrary usual and customary rate.
Remember that adjusters are just people like you and me, performing a job. They have families and bills to pay. Treat them like people. They will not cower down to disrespectful or aggressive negotiation tactics, or foul language. That will get you nowhere. Be kind and firm. Use facts. Don’t bad mouth State Farm to them.
Most State Farm adjusters ultimately have little power and must go through the bureaucratic nonsense that’s required in a large corporation to get more settlement authority on a claim.
You should build a rapport with them. Make them want to help you. Being courteous and professional will more easily get them to their top offer than being belligerent and combative. If you can’t get to a number you think is fair, it’s time to lawyer up!
Pro tip: If you’re dealing with a large policy like $100,000/$300,000 or $250,000/$500,000, and your injuries are minor, expect a fight. State Farm has no incentive to settle your case for top dollar since, even if the case goes to trial, an excess verdict is unlikely. There’s only one thing that insurance companies hate more than paying claims and that is paying above the policy limits as a result of an excess jury verdict.
7. Avoid Special Investigative Unit (If You Can Help It)
The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) is the insurance company’s fraud department. Cases are thrown into SIU when there is suspicion of fraud or impropriety. Usually this is occurs because State Farm thinks the injuries or damages were fraudulent, or the injured party is a serial claimant.
I have seen two types of cases more often go into State Farm SIU. Claims where: (1) the claimant’s statements about facts or injuries that don’t line up with other evidence; or (2) the claimant has treated with a medical provider that is on State Farm’s red flag list. These medical providers overtreat, overcharge, or conduct business unscrupulously according to State Farm.
So, how do you avoid SIU? The best way to avoid SIU is to be 100% honest with the facts that you know and the injuries with which you are certain. This doesn’t mean you need to volunteer information to them or attempt to diagnose your condition to satisfy their demands. But don’t fabricate a story or fake an injury. That’s unethical and it’s a crime. They will find you out.
Sometimes State Farm gets it wrong. They may send a claim to SIU that doesn’t belong there. Ask the adjuster why your claim is in SIU. If it’s something you can remedy, do it. Otherwise, they may severely undervalue your claim or deny your claim altogether.
8. Talk To A Supervisor
State Farm adjusters operate under an organizational hierarchy just as most large corporations, with lower-level employees, middle management, and upper management. The adjusters handling the vast majority of claims at State Farm, especially at the team level, do not have much settlement authority. They must strictly adhere to the adjusting software they use in evaluating claims and stick to the State Farm script in extending offers to settle.
Sometimes you can sidetrack this process by discussing the claim with the assigned adjuster’s supervisor, if you had no luck in negotiating a fair settlement with the assigned adjuster. A State Farm supervisor may be willing to take a second look at the claim to see if the adjuster missed something.
Keep in mind: you may get pushback from the assigned adjuster or their supervisor when requesting a supervisor re-review of your file. They may say the supervisor is not able to add any value to the claim. I would continue to push them. Also, if you have any additional information to give them that may increase the value of your claim, send it to them. This includes additional medical bills, photos of your injuries, photos of pain medication you’ve been prescribed, or how the accident has affected your daily routine or impaired a bodily function.
9. Consult With An Attorney
Claimants are only doing themselves a huge disservice by trying to handle their car accident injury case on their own. We have taken cases over for clients that tried to handle State Farm on their own countless times. I can tell you it’s never good. Sometimes it’s at a point where it’s too late and they’ve settled their case by signing a release or accepting a State Farm low-ball offer over the phone.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer immediately after a car accident if there are injuries. It’s always free to discuss your case and you won’t have to pay anything unless they win your case.
If you’re hesitating and think you will make more money in your pocket by not hiring a lawyer, that is simply not the case. A study by the Insurance Research Council showed that attorney represented claimants received two to three times more of a settlement than those without a lawyer. Even with taking attorney’s fees into account, you’ll end up with more money in your pocket.
10. File A Lawsuit
If you’ve done everything you can to increase the value of your case by negotiating resolutely, providing the adjuster with evidence of your injuries and all damages, requested to discuss your claim with a supervisor, and provided them with any new information about your case, filing a lawsuit may be the only option.
Preferably at this point you’ve consulted with an attorney and hired him/her to pursue the State Farm insured in court. Many times, the only way to get State Farm to move is to sue their insured and make their attorneys work.
Keep in mind you’ll most likely settle your case once it’s reached the litigation phase since more than 90% of all auto accident cases don’t ever make it to trial.
How Long Does It Take State Farm to Settle?
In our experience, most cases settle in three to six months. Of course, this will all depend on how much medical treatment you will need.
Soft tissue injuries usually heal in about six to eight weeks and need about that much time of chiropractic treatment and/or physical therapy.
A broken bone or fracture can take anywhere from six to 20 weeks to heal completely. But you may be able to resolve these types of cases quickly with State Farm since your injuries are apparent, especially if the State Farm bodily injury policy limits is under $100,000/$300,000.
Other more catastrophic injuries or wrongful death cases may be able to resolve immediately with State Farm, assuming liability is clear, and the policy limits are under $250,000/$500,000 or $500,000/$1,000,000. It will depend on the seriousness of the injury, impairment, scarring, and other general damages elements.
How Much Does State Farm Pay for Spinal Injuries?
The value of your spinal injury will depend on the several factors, including the extent of your spinal injury, policy limits, and medical treatment.
The more severe and permanent your injury, the more your claim will be worth. Your claim may be limited by the amount of the State Farm policy limits that the defendant has. Medical treatment is a huge factor in determining how much your case is worth with State Farm. If you need surgery, your case will be worth more than a case where you only sought minimal treatment with a chiropractor.
The most common type of spinal injuries in an auto accident are sprains and strains to the muscles and tendons surrounding the spine. State Farm pays the least on these types of spinal injuries since they are not permanent and usually heal in six to eight weeks with minimal treatment. State Farm can pay anywhere from the low hundreds to several thousands of dollars for back/neck sprains or strains.
Herniated discs are also a common spinal injury in an auto accident. A herniated disc can be worth much more than just a sprains and strains case since this injury is permanent and can be debilitating. These can settle anywhere from the low five-figures to several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The higher end settlements for a herniated disc injury usually involved surgery.
More serious injuries like spinal fractures are obviously worth more than a sprains/strains case and can be worth more than a herniated disc case. However, that will depend on what sort of medical treatment is required and whether there will be any impairment. Surgical cases involving fractures can be worth millions of dollars if the injury is life-altering (e.g., paralysis).
How Does State Farm Calculate Settlement Values?
State Farm uses claim adjustment software to calculate most of their auto accident claims. The basic calculation is to add the medical expenses, lost wages, and general damages (e.g., pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.) and adjusting for any comparative fault on the claimant.
However, State Farm may reject paying all the medical bills if they don’t think the medical treatment was reasonable or if the provider overcharged for their services.
The calculation of the pain and suffering and other general damages components is less straight forward. Several soft factors will be entered into their software including whether there is any objective proof of pain such as MRI film/reports and photos of the injuries, orthopedic devices, or surgical hardware (e.g., screws, plates, pins).
Is State Farm Good at Paying Out Claims?
Generally, State Farm is very cheap in paying claims, especially with soft tissue injury cases. So, the answer is NO. Out of the top five insurance companies by premiums written (i.e., State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, Allstate, Liberty Mutual), they are close to last, if not dead last for how good they are at paying claims.
Usually, if you want top dollar on your case with State Farm, you’ll need to file a lawsuit against their insured. Not only do you need to file a lawsuit, but you’ll likely need to go a bit farther in litigation to get fair value for your case. Some insurance companies will immediately increase their offer once you file a lawsuit.
State Farm usually doesn’t increase their offer much immediately after the suit is filed and their insured is served with notice of the lawsuit.
Is State Farm Known for Denying Claims?
The short answer to this question is, YES. It’s part of the Three-D’s strategy to Delay, Deny, Defend, as you recall.
There are three main reasons why State Farm would deny a claim: suspected fraud, coverage issues, or it’s a Minor-Impact-Soft-Tissue-Injury claim.
We discussed in detail above in Tip #7 what SIU is and how you can do your best to avoid it. If you get a letter like the one below, call a lawyer immediately. It will be difficult to overcome this on your own.
Coverage issue denials occur for several reasons, including:
- Their insured forgot to pay their premiums
- Their insured was doing rideshare without adding a rideshare endorsement to their policy
- The crash was the result of an intentional act (road rage)
- The covered vehicle wasn’t being driven by a permissive user (it was stolen)
M.I.S.T. cases are those where there may be little visible damage to the vehicles involved and the claimant is only claiming soft tissue injuries.
State Farm will argue that there is no way there could be an injury since there is no real damage to the vehicles involved in the crash, and therefore, no “mechanism of injury.” Makes sense, huh? Not really. Human beings get injured in low impact auto accidents all the time and there are studies showing this to be true. State Farm only hopes that when they go to trial on these cases that they can plaster a large photo of the vehicles in front of the jury and argue, “How can there be any injuries here?” So, if you get a letter from State Farm like the one below, call an attorney.
Do I Need a Lawyer in My Case Against State Farm?
This will depend on if you have injuries. If you have only minor property damage and aren’t sore, stiff, or have limited range of motion after a sufficient time after your accident, then you likely can handle the case on your own.
But if there is moderate damage to either your vehicle or the other party’s and you are experiencing any symptoms of injury, I would at least get the opinion of a car accident lawyer. It can’t hurt. Every personal injury attorney from Tucson I’ve ever seen offers FREE consultations and you won’t need to pay them anything up front to start working on your case.
Will My Case Against State Farm Go to Trial?
The odds of your case going to trial are less than 5%. Most cases, even those against State Farm, settle before trial. You may need to file a lawsuit to get fair value for your case but that doesn’t mean you will ever see the inside of a courtroom.
State Farm Car Accident Settlement Examples
Below are some of our own State Farm case settlements and some pulled from Verdict Search, a database of jury verdicts and settlements.
Case Study #1: Client V. State Farm Insured (Harris County, Texas)
Our client was heading eastbound on Woodforest Boulevard in Houston, Texas, when a State Farm insured attempted to make a left-hand turn from a private drive and caused our client to crash into the side of his vehicle. The State Farm driver was cited for Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way at an Open Intersection.
Our client later went to the emergency room complaining of neck pain and back pain with pain radiating down his legs.
Our client treated with a chiropractor 16 times and received MRIs of his middle and lower back. The radiologist noted a 2mm disc herniation at level L5-S1 of his lower back, indenting the thecal sac.
We demanded State Farm pay us their insured’s policy limits. State Farm’s initial settlement offer was $78,500. After several rounds of negotiations with State Farm, we settled our client’s case for $89,473.
Case Study #2: Client V. State Farm Insured (Montgomery County, Texas)
Our client was traveling southbound on Kuykendahl Road in The Woodlands, Texas, when she was rear-ended by a State Farm insured as he attempted to change lanes unsafely. He was cited for Failure to Control Speed.
Our client presented to urgent care two days later complaining of wrist and shoulder pain, pain in her back with numbness and tingling radiating down her back and legs.
She treated with a chiropractor for three months, received an MRI of her lower back. The radiologist noted a posterior central 2.2mm disc herniation at the L5-S1 level, indenting the thecal sac.
Due to subsisting pain, our client was then referred to pain management where she received trigger point injections and an epidural steroid injection in her lower back. The pain doctor recommended another round of the epidural steroid injection, but our client declined.
We sent State Farm a demand to pay their insured’s policy limits. Our client ultimately settled with State Farm for $25,000, in addition to $2,500 in personal injury protection from her own carrier.
Case Study #3: Client V. State Farm Insured (Fort Bend County, Texas)
Our client was traveling northbound on US Highway 59 in Stafford, Texas, when a State Farm driver failed to control his speed and rear-ended him.
Our client presented to a chiropractic clinic three days after the accident complaining of pain in his neck, and middle and lower back.
He treated with the chiropractor for 19 visits, received MRIs of his neck and lower back. The radiologist noted several herniations in his cervical and lumbar spine, with mild to severe canal and foraminal stenosis. Later, due to persisting pain, our client was referred out to pain management. The pain doctor recommended continued conservative treatment with the chiropractor, and if his pain levels increased, to return to his office.
We later demanded State Farm pay their policy limits and they countered with an initial offer of $15,200. Through several rounds of negotiations, we were able to settle our client’s case for $19,875.
Case Study #4: Client V. State Farm Insured (Bay County, Florida)
Our client was traveling eastbound on Country Road 388 in Panama City, Florida, when the State Farm driver crashed into the rear-end of her vehicle.
A few days following the accident, our client presented to the emergency room complaining of neck and back pain. She later treated with a chiropractor and received MRIs of her neck and lower back. She had a positive finding of disc herniations in both her neck and back.
Due to persisting pain, she was referred to pain management. She underwent several rounds of trigger point injections with no relief. Then, she was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. The orthopedic surgeon performed a laser neuro-ablation and facet joint injections.
Our client later settled her case with State Farm for $100,000, their policy limits, as well as $10,000 in underinsured benefits from her own insurance carrier.
Case Study #5: Client V. State Farm Insured (Harris County, Texas)
Our client was traveling on 610 Loop when she was rear-ended by a State Farm driver. The State Farm driver was cited for Failing to Control Speed.
Our client was taken to the emergency room by ambulance. She complained of neck, back, and left knee pain. She was later released from the emergency room the same day, instructed to follow up with her primary care physician, if pain persisted.
She then presented to a chiropractic clinic for relief of her neck and back pain. She treated with the chiropractor for 19 visits. She received MRIs of her neck, back, and left knee. The radiologist noted 1.3mm – 1.5mm disc herniations in her lower back and a 2mm disc herniation, indenting the ventral cervical cord with moderate canal stenosis in her neck.
Our client was referred out to a pain doctor due to persisting pain in her neck and back. The doctor recommended an Interlaminar epidural steroid injection at L4-5 with cervical paraspinal muscle trigger point injections. She declined to have the procedures.
We demanded the policy limits and State Farm responded with an initial offer of $17,792.21. We later settled our client’s case for $27,500.
Case Study #6: Clients V. State Farm Insured (Maricopa County, Arizona)
Four of our clients were traveling in a van on Interstate 10 in Goodyear, Arizona. The State Farm insured failed to secure a load in his pickup truck and a large item fell out of the truck causing our clients to crash.
Three of our clients suffered soft tissue injuries and one suffered a fractured middle back vertebra, which required a disc fusion surgery.
We sent a demand for policy limits and State Farm immediately tendered their policy limits of $50,000 for all four clients.
Case Study #7: Irby V. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Palm Beach County, Florida)
Plaintiff was driving through an intersection in Riviera Beach, Florida, when she was struck by a vehicle driven by an underinsured driver. She sued State Farm, her insurer, seeking underinsured motorist benefits.
Plaintiff went to the emergency room by ambulance. She complained of ankle, arm, back, knee, wrist, and shoulder injuries. She underwent treatment at a chiropractor, pain management, and psychological counseling for anxiety and depression.
The case settled for $75,000, $50,000 of which from her underinsured motorist coverage.
Case Study #8: Estate Of K.s. V. State Farm Insurance Company (Palm Beach County, Florida)
Decedent, a pedestrian, was struck by a fleeing vehicle while she was in the crosswalk on Palmetto Road, alongside Ponderosa Drive in Boca Raton, Florida. While lying in the street suffering from her injuries, she was struck by a second vehicle, which also fled the scene. She died 30 days later as a result of her injuries.
Her estate filed suit against State Farm for uninsured motorist benefits for both accidents. She was survived by her husband and adult son. The estate pursued damages for her husband’s emotional pain and suffering and her son’s loss of parental support.
State Farm eventually tendered its policy limits of $2,000,000, $1,000,000 for each accident.
Case Study #9: Montoya V. Hernandez, Sorrentino (Miami-dade County, Florida)
Plaintiff was driving her vehicle through the intersection of Southwest 152nd Avenue and 96th Street in Miami, Florida, when she was struck by defendant.
Prior to filing a lawsuit, the plaintiff’s attorney claimed that State Farm only made an offer of $4,500 to settle plaintiff’s case. As a result, plaintiff then sued both the driver of the vehicle and the owner claiming she was vicariously liable for the driver’s actions.
The plaintiff was treated at the scene by paramedics but did not go the hospital. She then went to her primary care physician and was diagnosed with disc herniations in her neck and lower back. She underwent a cervical fusion at the C5-6 level. Later, she underwent a lumbar fusion at L5-S1. The plaintiff claimed she was unable to return to her job due to her injuries and was permanently impaired from this accident.
This case eventually went to trial and on the third day of trial settled for $1,500,000.
Case Study #10: Lingerfeldt V. Castro (Broward County, Florida)
Plaintiff, a pedestrian, was picking up his grandson from school in Plantation, Florida, when the defendant jumped up on the sidewalk with her SUV, pinning him under the vehicle.
The plaintiff was taken to the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital for eight days. His injuries included torn rotator cuff and compound fracture of his leg. The injuries left the plaintiff with a limp and the inability to play with his grandchildren, as well as difficulties performing the duties at his job as an engineer.
The case eventually settled for $950,000, which included a settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company and the plaintiff’s underinsured motorist benefits with his carrier, State Farm.
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