Negotiating a Settlement With State Farm: Insurance Claim Tips & Tactics 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. Playing Hardball State Farm lead 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...Read More
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We understand the ins and outs of personal injury, and our team approaches each client’s case with the same determination to get the best result possible. We’re up front with clients, communication is simple and easy. Each member of our team focuses on what’s best for the client and how we can achieve that result. Through consistent hard-work and outstanding results, we’re able to earn client’s loyalty.
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Meet the Team
Anthony J. Milano
Milano Legal Group PLLC was founded by Anthony J. Milano. Anthony is a dedicated personal injury attorney that handles auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, wrongful death cases, and other personal injury cases. Anthony provides a hands-on approach to each case that comes through the door and is intimately involved in each and every case, no matter the size or seriousness of injury. From engagement to handling the property damage to settlement or verdict, Anthony personally manages each case to the finish line. Anthony obtained a bachelor’s degree in business economics from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management. He went on to attend South Texas College of Law in Houston, where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence. Anthony is licensed to practice law in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas.
- South Texas College of Law, Doctor of Jurisprudence
- University of Arizona, B.S.B.A. (Business Economics)
Elif Dag-Milano, LL.M.
Elif is an Attorney at Milano Legal Group. Elif provides clients with passionate, results-driven representation in auto accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, 18-wheeler/commercial vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, product defect accidents, slip & falls/premises liability, and wrongful death cases. Elif has extensive experience in dealing with insurance companies and she ensures that her clients get the maximum recovery arising out of their personal injury and property damage claims. Elif is closely involved in each case from pre-litigation to appeal.
Prior to joining Milano Legal Group, Elif has several years of litigation experience working as an In-House Legal Counsel for the leading consumer electronics retailer in Europe with 65K employees, 22B € in revenue, and operations in 15 countries. She oversaw multinational-national judicial transactions and advised executive managers on legal and strategic solutions to drive business objectives forward through risk mitigation, regulatory, and statutory compliance and process improvements.
- University of Houston Law Center, Master of Laws
- University of Istanbul Faculty of Law, Master of Laws
- South Texas College of Law, Exchange Student
- University of Istanbul Faculty of Law, Bachelor of Laws
- State Bar of Texas
- Istanbul Bar Association
- Union of Turkish Bars
David Wilkison is an Arizona-based attorney specializing in personal injury and criminal defense. David is Of Counsel and supports litigation within the State of Arizona. Mr. Wilkison has years of experience working on high level felony cases. From DUI to First Degree Murder, Mr. Wilkison has dealt with prosecutors and law enforcement to get the best possible outcome for his clients. Mr. Wilkison has litigated criminal matters ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, with the emphasis on each case being client satisfaction. He has represented clients in misdemeanor and superior courts, MVD Executive Hearings, Rule 11 competency hearings, Simpson hearings and appellate courts. He has handled over 1,000 criminal cases and has argued in front of the Arizona Court Appeals for Special Actions. Mr. Wilkison prides himself on being part of the 5% of all attorneys in the nation that take the legal battle to the courtroom and litigate. He is passionate about his career and it shows.
- Phoenix School of Law, Doctor of Jurisprudence
- University of Arizona, Psychology
- State Bar of Arizona