Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) is one of the largest car insurance providers in the United States. Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident in Queens, you could have to deal with GEICO.
New York requires drivers to have no-fault car insurance. State law also requires drivers to have liability car insurance. Therefore, you might deal with GEICO for your no-fault insurance coverage, and you could deal with GEICO if you file a liability claim against the other driver.
If you file a claim against the at-fault driver, you must prove the other driver caused the car accident to receive money for a car accident. You must also prove that the car accident caused your injuries and you incurred damages.
Like other car insurance companies, GEICO is in business to make money. It does not want to pay large insurance claims to accident victims because paying claims reduces its profits. Therefore, the company employs teams of claims adjusters, insurance investigators, and defense lawyers with one goal – to protect GEICO from liability for car accidents.
Before you deal directly with GEICO for a car accident claim, you should know some of the secrets about GEICO that the company does not want you to know.
Your Case Is Worth More Than the Insurance Settlement Offer
In most cases, the initial settlement offer by an insurance company is lower than the value of the damages. GEICO is relying on the fact that most people do not know how much money their damages are worth. It also hopes that accident victims are unaware of all damages they can receive.
Many people understand that they can receive reimbursement for the medical bills and loss of income they incur because of a car accident. However, they may not know about the other economic damages they can claim, including out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses include household services, the cost of personal care, travel expenses, medications, and medical supplies and equipment.
Additionally, you can claim non-economic damages for a car accident. Those damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
GEICO will not tell you if you agree to accept less than your claim is worth to settle your insurance claim. It will not tell you that you are entitled to additional damages. If you do not hire a car accident lawyer, you are responsible for understanding your legal rights before you sign a settlement agreement.
Furthermore, you are responsible for understanding the legal terms in the settlement agreement and what they mean. For example, the insurance company will not explain that the settlement agreement releases all parties from all legal claims. In other words, you give up your right to sue anyone for the car accident when you sign the settlement agreement.
What You Say Could Hurt Your Claim
An insurance adjuster is skilled at interviewing accident victims. The goal is to obtain information GEICO can use to deny the insurance claim or undervalue damages. Therefore, agreeing to provide a written or recorded statement is never in your best interest.
The claims adjuster asks leading questions that could result in intentionally misinterpreted answers. The company might use what you say to raise defenses, including contributory fault and failure to mitigate damages. If you did not immediately seek medical treatment because you said you felt “fine” or “okay,” GEICO might say that the accident did not cause your injuries.
Substituting Other Values for Medical Bills
A common tactic used by many insurance companies is to replace the actual amounts of your medical expenses with “usual and customary charges” used by medical professionals. These charges are lower than the amount your provider charged you for the same services.
GEICO and other insurance companies might hire doctors or medical professionals to set rates for services. In other words, the insurance company decides what you should have been charged and reimburses you for that amount instead of the actual amount of your medical bills.
Should I Deal With GEICO or Hire a Queens Car Accident Lawyer?
Before signing a settlement agreement or making a statement for a GEICO insurance claim, it is wise to seek legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney. A lawyer reviews your case, explains your legal rights, and offers an assessment of your claim. The attorney only considers your best interest when giving you legal advice.
You have the right to consult a lawyer. However, a claims adjuster might tell you that an attorney only takes the money you could keep for yourself if you handle your GEICO claim without an attorney.
They do not tell you that you can speak with a lawyer about your claim during a free consultation. They also do not tell you that attorneys accept cases on a contingency basis, so you only pay the lawyer for legal services after they recover money for your claim.
Don’t let GEICO or any other insurance provider talk you out of seeking legal advice about your car accident. A lawyer protects you from insurance tactics and bad-faith insurance practices.
- How to Obtain a Car Accident Report in Queens, NY
- How Do I Find a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
- How Much Can I obtain from a Car Accident Settlement?
- 5 Things to Do If You’re in a Car Accident
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