Secrets of Accident Claims Against GEICO REVEALED!
Ryan Zavodnick | December 1, 2021 | Car Accidents
GEICO sells auto insurance in Pennsylvania through six different entities. When you add all these entities together, GEICO falls in the top ten auto insurance companies in the state. But with only about 7.2% of the market, GEICO sits far behind the state’s top insurer: State Farm.
After most car accidents, you will not deal with GEICO. If you do, odds are good that you will have a less-than-favorable opinion of GEICO. According to Pennsylvania insurance regulators, GEICO gets about 14% of its complaints, even though it only has about 7% of the market.
Here are some of the secrets to dealing with accident claims against GEICO.
Pennsylvania’s Choice No-Fault Insurance System
Pennsylvania has a unique auto insurance system. Most states use a fault-based insurance system. Under this system, drivers buy liability insurance. After a car accident, all of the injured people file claims against the liability insurance policy of the driver who caused the accident.
If the driver’s policy does not cover all of the claims, the accident victims can sue the at-fault driver.
Some states, including Pennsylvania, use a no-fault insurance system. Under this system, drivers buy medical benefits insurance.
After a car accident, each injured person files a no-fault claim with their insurer. Each insurer pays its customer’s no-fault claim, regardless of who caused the accident. In exchange, drivers give up the right to sue after an accident unless they suffered a serious injury or exceeded their policy limits.
Pennsylvania adds a unique wrinkle to the no-fault insurance system. Pennsylvania law gives insurance purchasers the option to retain “full-tort rights” or select “limited-tort rights.”
If you retain your “full-tort rights,” you will pay higher premiums, but you can sue after any accident. If you elect “limited-tort rights,” you will pay lower premiums and you can only sue in narrow circumstances.
When You Might File an Accident Claim Against GEICO
Under Pennsylvania’s choice no-fault insurance system, you might file an accident claim against GEICO when:
- You bought no-fault insurance from GEICO
- A GEICO customer hit you and you retained full-tort rights
- You elected limited-tort rights, but a GEICO customer seriously injured you
- Your expenses from your injuries from an accident with a GEICO customer exceed your no-fault benefits
- You have limited-tort rights and a GEICO customer hit you in a DUI accident
- A GEICO customer from another state hit you
If you fall into any of these categories, you can file a claim directly with GEICO. If you start your claim with your non-GEICO insurer, your insurance company will forward your claim to GEICO. This could delay your claim.
Secrets to Getting a Fair Settlement with GEICO
As you work with GEICO, keep in mind that GEICO does not work for you. GEICO wants to make money. Even if you bought insurance from GEICO, the company views your claim as an expense, rather than a contractual obligation.
Simply put, the less GEICO pays in claims, the more money GEICO keeps. In your dealings with GEICO, you should not assume that claims adjusters will operate in good faith. Instead, you and your lawyer should view GEICO with a skeptical eye.
Some secrets to dealing with GEICO include:
Document Your Claim Thoroughly
To pay a claim, GEICO needs proof of your losses. Your economic losses include your present and future medical expenses and lost income. Your non-economic losses include your pain and suffering.
The proof that will support your case includes:
- Medical records
- Bills for doctors and therapists
- Pharmacy records and bills
- Wage statements
To get the proof you need to support your claim, you need to see a doctor. If you do not see a doctor, the claims adjuster cannot determine whether the accident caused your injuries. The claims adjuster also has no way of placing a value on your losses.
When you see your doctor, discuss all of your symptoms with the doctor so they make it into your medical records. The doctor might not have any treatment for your symptoms. But those symptoms could support a claim for non-economic damages.
Pain, difficulty sleeping, panic attacks, anxiety, and sadness can help you prove that your accident diminished your quality of life.
Do Not Talk to the Claims Adjuster Without a Lawyer
Claims adjusters can use anything you say against you. Even an innocent comment like “I’m fine” after the adjuster asks how you feel can lead the way to a claim denial.
Claim adjusters have a few strategies to get you to talk. Sometimes, they will use your desperation after an accident. They will say that they can process your claim faster if you give them a recorded statement.
Other times, they will use “good cop/bad cop.” Claims adjusters will position themselves as the only people who can help you get your settlement from their employer, GEICO.
Despite the pressure, you should not speak to GEICO’s adjuster until you have spoken to a lawyer. In most cases, the adjuster can investigate your claim without speaking to you. The adjuster will have copies of medical records, medical bills, and the accident report. These records provide enough information to investigate your claim.
Claims adjusters know you need compensation to get medical treatment and make up for lost income. They will sometimes slow the process down as much as possible so you accept a low insurance payout. In many cases, the first offer will not even cover your documented medical expenses.
Bear in mind that when you settle a claim, you need to release your legal right to sue for the accident. You will probably never get more money after the settlement.
Instead of accepting GEICO’s first lowball offer, you will need to negotiate for a better settlement. This will require patience and negotiating skills.
The Role of an Injury Lawyer
An injury lawyer has the experience and knowledge to guide your claim through GEICO’s claim process. If the claims adjuster needs to speak to you, your lawyer can sit with you during the call. This allows the lawyer to control the way that your statement is provided to the adjuster. It minimizes the risk that the adjuster can twist your words.
A lawyer can also negotiate with the claims adjuster to get a better settlement offer. This can make a difference between a settlement that leaves you indebted to the hospital and a fair settlement that covers your past and future bills.