State Farm insures a great many of Illinois’ drivers. The purpose of this information is to give our clients and attorneys a better idea of how best to deal with facing a State Farm insured and adjuster in a motor vehicle or truck crash injury case. State Farm insured drivers are just as responsible for injuring our clients as any one. State Farm will do battle to reduce its exposure and the amount of money to compensate our clients as much as possible. We happen to know how best to compete with State Farm and how to maximize compensation for clients.
State Farm has a very large market share in providing car insurance, homeowner’s insurance and umbrella insurance policies. State Farm employs 68,000 individuals in North America. It has 17,000 insurance agents. It is safe to say that State Farm insures more Illinois drivers than any other insurance company.
There are several levels of State Farm claims. Depending on the nature of the injury, a State Farm team will handle cases where the settlement has been assigned to adjusters with maximum settlement authority. Where the claims are of more serious nature, a different team of State Farm adjusters are assigned.
Some State Farm adjusters are eager to try to settle motor vehicle accident cases for fair value. Others are more difficult to deal with and resist reasonable settlements. State Farm adjusters like all insurance companies are aware of the different venues in Illinois. For example, State Farm adjusters should and may need reminding that Cook County is one of those fair jurisdictions for jury trials compensating injured individuals in motor vehicle accidents.
State Farm hires what it may refer to as outside counsel, when in fact they are State Farm employees. For example, the Chicago law firm of Bruce Farrel Dorn & Associates is a captive State Farm law firm. All of the staff, including the lawyers, are State Farm employees. Many of the less serious automobile accidents with State Farm insureds are handled after suit by lawyers at State Farm employed law offices.
Although State Farm’s headquarters worldwide are in Bloomington, Illinois, State Farm has multiple offices around Illinois and in Cook County. These offices are regional hubs.
Kreisman Law Offices has handled hundreds of claims where a State Farm insured was the party at fault in an automobile accident case. We have tried many cases to verdict against State Farm attorneys. We have also started jury trials where after opening statements or first witnesses’ statements, State Farm’s attorney and adjuster agreed to settle the case and paid its insurance policy limits. In most of the cases that we have handled over the 40 years that we have been practicing motor vehicle accident cases in Illinois, we have found that State Farm insureds have coverage of as little as $50,000 and as much as $500,000 for personal injury claims.
It is fair to note that State Farm adjusters carefully review all of the medical records and bills to make sure they match with the injuries and the incident. State Farm also is scrutinizing of all medical bills as to the appropriate amounts. We have found many times that cases are filed because a State Farm adjuster has foolishly undervalued the medical bills associated with our client’s injuries. It is also important to point out that State Farm adjusters often times ignore lost wages or even future lost wages. In the more serious cases, unless a swift settlement can be made at a reasonable and fair level of compensation, we file suit. There is no reason to assume that that the adjuster will change his or her mind about the value of the case.
I like to tell my clients that if the case cannot settle, that suit will be filed immediately as though we are in line at a crowded bakery-getting our ticket to proceed to trial.
Sometimes where the cause of the crash and injuries to our client was uninsured, our client’s own State Farm insurance coverage for uninsured motorists takes place. That means that we demand arbitration on the State Farm policy because the party that caused the crash was an uninsured motorist. These cases like any other are negotiated and if not, then a binding arbitration will be held.
On a positive note, State Farm adjusters are well-trained and responsive in most cases. Kreisman Law Offices assembles all of the medical bills, medical records and lost wage verifications as soon as we are assigned a case. When we have all of the medical records, bills and lost income documents in place, we summarize them and then immediately fax, email or overnight the documents to the State Farm adjuster. After two weeks, we calendar the item for follow-up and discuss resolution. At that time, if the case cannot be reasonably resolved, we will file suit.