If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Virginia and are attempting to negotiate your personal injury settlement with State Farm, you may find that they are not the good neighborsthat their jingles say they are. State Farm, in 2010, had the 34th largest revenue of Fortune 500 companies and is one of the largest insurers in Virginia.
In the insurance world, State Farm is infamous for being hit with a $145 million punitive damages verdict in Utah. The case, State Farm v. Campbell arose out of the company’s bad faith negotiation of a wrongful death case. Though State Farm’s driver, Campbell, only had a $50,000 liability policy, State Farm refused to negotiate the case. Campbell lost at trial and a verdict of just over $180,000 was rendered. Campbell later brought a case against State Farm alleging bad faith and fraud for not properly negotiating his case and simply offering his policy limits. A jury awarded him $145 million in punitive damages and the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. The Supreme Court, when reviewing the case, found that “State Farm repeatedly and deliberately decieved and cheated its customers,” by setting monthly caps for their insurance adjusters and individually rewarding those adjusters who paid less than market value for the claims.
How Does State Farm Evaluate Cases
Like just about every large insurance company, State Farm uses a computer program to assist their adjusters in evaluating your case. The computer program provides fairly rigid standards about how long you’re “allowed” to treat for certain injuries and cuts off medical bills for any treatment after that time period.
State Farm in Virginia
State Farm uses a “team approach” to handling your case. During the negotiation of your case, you may have one person that routinely makes calls to you, but your incoming calls can be handled by anyone on the team.
We have found that State Farm is more likely than most insurers in Virginia to claim that your medical expenses are “too high” and reduce the figures charged by your medical provider to what State Farm believes to be “reasonable and customary” for the area.
State Farm utilizes staff counsel in Virginia. This means that the defense attorneys who we work with on cases with State Farm are salaried employees and are not paid by the hour like outside defense counsel might be. This allows State Farm to allow more smaller cases to go to trial than an insurance company paying a defense trial attorney by the hour would be able to. State Farm’s offers, even after a lawsuit is filed, tend to support the idea that State Farm is not afraid to go to trial.