GEICO is one of the most well-known insurance companies in the United States. Whether you recognize them from trendy commercials about cavemen or a gecko with an English accent, you’ve heard of GEICO and possibly been convinced of how easy it is to use their services. The company provides coverage for more than 28 million vehicles owned by over 17 million policyholders.
Know that when you call GEICO to file a claim, you are unlikely to be answered by a gecko with an accent, and filing a claim probably won’t be as easy as the caveman made it seem. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Though it is important and required by law and having insurance can be extremely helpful, it may be difficult to get the settlement you deserve.
If you are a GEICO insurance policy holder in California, who is contemplating filing a claim or has already filed a claim, you may have questions about what to expect and how to get the most reasonable GEICO car accident settlement in California:
Every accident is different, but here is some of the basic information you should know about filing your auto accident claim with GEICO.
Largely due to the company’s direct-to-consumer marketing efforts, many GEICO policies are sold directly to the policy holder without the assistance of a local insurance agent. Reporting a claim can be done online through the GEICO website without having to speak to an agent. The website also allows you to follow up on and manage existing claims. You can also call the company directly. If you did purchase your policy through an authorized agent, you may choose to contact the agent first.
The details of your vehicle accident will determine if the company is going to send out an insurance adjuster to estimate the value of the damage or if you should take the vehicle directly to a shop for repairs. Evaluating bodily harm will take additional documentation of injury and associated costs. Keep detailed records of these costs.
What you say is important. GEICO insurance agents do not work for you. They can and will use the information you provide to lower your settlement amount. California is an at-fault state, which means that you can file a claim against the responsible party. Gathering information is a crucial part of recovering damages for a California vehicle accident.
Proving fault may become a point of contention. California follows a pure comparative negligence model for personal injury claims. This means that even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you can still recover your damages minus the percentage to which you were at fault. Your degree of fault could impact your settlement. Though it is important to tell the truth, do not volunteer an abundance of information.
An experienced personal injury attorney can conduct an independent investigation of your accident to determine fault. It is important to keep track of all property damage and medical expenses. This includes future expenses such as lost wages and ongoing medical needs.
An insurance agent is going to downplay the damage you have incurred because they want to offer the smallest settlement possible. They bank on the fact that you need to be compensated quickly to cover expenses. You do not have to accept the settlement offer and should not until you have consulted with a professional who understands what your claim is actually worth.
You do not have to accept the offer. You can inform he insurance adjuster that you need to take time to make sure you are comfortable with the settlement offer. Do not give in even if they are persistent in trying to get you to accept. Your best course of action is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf. GEICO and similarly situated insurance companies have dedicated legal teams, and they know that they have the upper hand in negotiations. That does not mean they are right. Once you sign the settlement, negotiations end. Don’t sign anything.
GEICO claims that three days is the average time it takes to complete the settlement process. Take that number with a grain of salt and understand that this occurs when people accept the first offer. How long it takes GEICO to send a settlement check is highly dependent on numerous circumstances. This could take weeks, months, or longer if you choose to pursue litigation.
Companies like GEICO are known to offer as little as 20 percent of the compensation you need to recover from your auto accident. GEICO car accident settlements are rarely straightforward. Having someone who can help determine what your claim is actually worth and negotiate on your behalf could be crucial to getting what you deserve.
The team at Glotzer & Leib, LLP, specializes in Los Angeles area personal injury cases like yours. We understand the legal landscape of insurance negotiations and will fight zealously on your behalf so you can focus on healing. We are also unafraid to litigate if that’s what it takes to get the settlement amount you are entitled to. Contact Glotzer & Leib for your free case consultation.
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