State Farm began as a single-line auto insurance company. It was founded in 1922 by George Jacob Mecherle, a retired farmer. Although the company started small, it now offers around 100 different products and services, insuring more cars and homes than any other company in the United States. This company’s well-known motto promises customers that it will “be there” for them like a “good neighbor.”
In spite of these promises, State Farm aims to make a profit like all other insurance companies. According to reports generated by this insurer, the company earned a net income of nearly $500 million in 2016. The company’s income was even higher in 2015, at $6.2 billion.
According to a report released by Justice.org, State Farm ranks 4th on the list of the worst insurance companies in America. This report indicates that State Farm is easier to deal with than some insurers, including Allstate, Unum and AIG, but it isn’t without problems. During the Hurricane Katrina crisis, complaints against State Farm skyrocketed, with approximately 700 people filing reports against the company. Former employees and affiliates of State Farm accuse the company of using “deny and delay” tactics to avoid paying claims. The company has also been accused of altering third-party reports that would have required larger settlements.
State Farm’s activities have landed it in several class action lawsuits, including a lawsuit filed by tornado victims in Oklahoma. The court awarded the plaintiffs in that case $15 million in damages.
The State Farm Settlement Process
Some types of claims, such as those involving minor property damage, may be settled quickly without much negotiation. However, when claims become larger, State Farm is reluctant to pay and may employ extreme measures to avoid a large settlement. The company’s first tactic may involve denying the claim outright or offering a settlement far too low to compensate the victim fairly, especially if the victim has no legal representation.
If the victim chooses to reject this initial settlement, State Farm may try to delay the process of settling the claim for as long as possible in hopes that the claimant will give up. If the case goes to court, State Farm will fight hard to minimize its losses.
Can You Get a Settlement from State Farm?
Although State Farm isn’t perfect, it’s not the worst insurance company to deal with, either. Many claimants are able to settle their claims quickly, fairly and without the need for a lengthy trial. In cases where State Farm refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, claimants are still able to get the compensation they deserve by taking the company to court. If State Farm realizes it won’t be able to win the case, the company may even offer a fair settlement so the case can be settled outside of court.
If you are planning to file a claim against State Farm, you aren’t looking at an impossible situation. However, having the right legal representation is essential.
State Farm Settlements
Although State Farm may try to avoid settling their claims for less than a fair amount, many claimants have successfully recovered large settlements from this insurer. Some examples are listed below.
- A woman was rear-ended while driving to the airport and suffered traumatic brain injury. The family rejected State Farm’s initial settlement offer and eventually won $2.1 million from the insurer in court.
- An 85-year-old woman was crushed by a car in a grocery store parking lot. Her family eventually won settlements totaling $1.4 million from State Farm and another insurer.
- A woman in her 70s was struck by a turning vehicle while driving down a road near her home. The accident left her with a bruised heart and a broken sternum. A jury awarded the victim $365,000 from State Farm, which included $330,000 for pain and suffering. State Farm’s initial settlement offer in this case was only $20,000.
Seeking Counsel from an Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered a loss that State Farm should cover, the first thing you need to do is consult an experienced attorney. Having the proper representation ensures that State Farm takes your claim seriously, and it provides you with the resources you need to fight hard if necessary.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.