Alejandro Figueroa | December 21, 2020 | Car Accidents
If you have seen any advertisements in the past decade, you are probably aware of GEICO’s numerous ad campaigns. They have one of the biggest advertising budgets of any U.S. corporation. Their name stands for “Government Employees Insurance Company,” and they are currently the second-largest auto insurance provider in the United States.
They boast over 15 million customers. So if you have been involved in a car accident, the odds are good that you will have to file a claim with GEICO. Because they are an enormous corporation, they can use their extensive resources to minimize your payout or to try to deny your claim. If you are in the position of trying to secure financial compensation from GEICO, having an experienced auto accident attorney represent you is crucial.
Secret #1 – Do NOT Provide a Recorded Statement
Many large insurance companies will request that you provide them with a statement regarding your car accident. GEICO is one such provider. It is important to understand that you are NOT legally required to provide a recorded statement to GEICO (or any other insurance provider).
In fact, most attorneys will strongly advise you against giving a recorded statement to an insurance company. This is because the company may use the recorded statement later in the settlement process in an attempt to delegitimize your claim and reduce your compensation.
For instance, you might unthinkingly tell the GEICO adjuster that you are feeling “fine” as a simple social nicety. The company can later replay your innocent comment to argue that your accident or injuries do not require financial payment.
Secret #2 – Be Very Careful When Speaking with Adjusters
Take the greatest care possible when speaking to adjusters or other GEICO representatives. As was mentioned above, they can use even an innocent or irrelevant comment in an attempt to undermine your claim. If someone involved in the accident holds a GEICO policy, they are likely to contact you soon after the crash and ask you a range of questions.
If you have not secured legal representation, you should only provide them with very basic contact information. Never offer more information than what is necessary.
The following are examples of topics that an adjuster might ask you about. You should never discuss these issues with a GEICO representative:
- What you were doing leading up to the accident
- Exactly how the accident took place
- Your medical information–such as your diagnosis, treatments, or medications
- Your medical costs and expenses related to the crash
- The ways in which your accident and injuries have affected your daily life
GEICO adjusters who ask about these topics may use your responses to minimize the financial recovery that you receive. A personal injury lawyer can help you to effectively communicate with large insurance companies like GEICO. This will ensure that you have the best chance of securing maximum reimbursement.
Secret #3 – Your Medical Expenses Don’t Always Matter
It seems reasonable that when you file a claim with GEICO, they would provide compensation based on the cost of your medical care and treatments. But sometimes, they determine your payout based on what are known as “usual and customary charges.”
In these cases, GEICO contracts with medical professionals who review your medical expenses and decide if they think your costs are “usual and customary.” Unsurprisingly, they often say that “usual and customary” medical charges are much lower than the actual bills that claimants submit.
This is a deeply unfair practice that leaves injured drivers with debts and insufficient financial recovery. GEICO should not determine the appropriate cost for your medical treatments. Additionally, victims should not have to avoid necessary medical care because they are afraid that it won’t be covered.
The right personal injury attorney can help you to fight against GEICO’s secret strategies and win you the money that you are owed.
Secret #4 – You May Be Underestimating Your Claim
Without the proper legal experience, claimants often underestimate the actual value of their injury. Many people simply add their medical costs to their vehicle repair expenses and submit a claim to GEICO for the total.
Accurately assessing the damages from a car crash is complex and requires the requisite legal experience. In addition to your medical costs and vehicle repair bills, you will need to calculate the value of the following items:
- Future Medical Costs – Your injuries aren’t magically healed after you have settled your personal injury claim. You may not know exactly how long it will be until you fully recover. Many victims continue to require treatments for months or years after their accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you calculate probable future medical costs while also meeting all the relevant deadlines for taking legal action.
- Lost Wages and Earnings – Auto accident injuries often keep victims from resuming their normal job functions. If your injuries keep you from earning the amount of income that you did before the crash, those losses are relevant to your claim. Some people are unable to work for months or years, leading to a long-term loss in their earning potential. While you might not initially realize it, lost earnings can be one of the most significant impacts of your car crash injury.
- Non-economic damages – An injury can affect your life in a variety of ways. Some of these impacts can’t be easily calculated in monetary terms. For instance, how much should you be compensated if your injury keeps you from doing activities you previously enjoyed, like biking, swimming, or running with your dog? A knowledgeable lawyer can help you determine the value of your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and decreased quality of life.
Enormous insurance providers like GEICO expect you to underestimate the value of your claim. They may try to use your lack of knowledge about the claims process to offer you a settlement that is too low. If you have been in a car accident involving a GEICO policyholder, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can fight for you.