No matter how careful you are as a driver, there is still a high risk of getting into a car accident. According to one study, 77% of drivers in the U.S. have been involved in at least one motor vehicle collision. That same report found that the chances of getting into a car accident during a 1,000-mile trip are 1 in 366.
If you are involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. If the at-fault driver was insured by GEICO, however, getting the full amount of money that you deserve can be challenging. A San Rafael car accident attorney can advocate for your right to maximum compensation.
Since 1971, the Kuvara Law Firm has fought for the rights of injury victims. We understand how difficult the aftermath of a car accident can be. Our legal team will work with you to help you get the money that you are entitled to – and we will never charge a fee unless we get money for you.
The GEICO Claims Process
After a car accident, both drivers will typically notify their insurance company of the crash. This starts the claims process. If you are involved in a collision with a driver insured by GEICO, they should either call their insurer or fill out an online claim form.
There may be situations where the at-fault driver doesn’t report the claim. In this situation, you may file the claim yourself. Whether the other driver files the claim or you do it, it is known as a third-party claim.
Making a third-party claim may seem straightforward, but it can be filled with pitfalls if you aren’t careful. Remember that GEICO makes a profit by paying as little as possible on car accident claims. They will use what you say and the information that you provide to minimize the amount that they pay you – or even to deny your claim entirely.
That is why it is a good idea to consult with a San Rafael car accident lawyer before talking to GEICO – and definitely before you give a statement, sign anything, or put anything in writing. Initial consultations are free of charge, and you can get a better understanding of your rights and options for pursuing a claim. If you decide to hire a personal injury attorney, then they can take on the task of communicating with GEICO for you.
This can be a huge relief for any accident victim. Filing a GEICO accident claim means dealing with a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. Even if everything goes as planned, it can be a burden to get everything together and communicate regularly with the insurance companies – especially when you are also dealing with medical appointments, therapy, and other matters.
Hiring a car accident lawyer can relieve a lot of the stress associated with a GEICO accident claim. They will take over the paperwork and communication for you, protecting your interests while also leaving you free to focus on what truly matters: your health and well-being.
Dealing with a GEICO Claims Adjuster
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is one of the biggest insurance companies in the country. It makes a profit by taking in more in insurance premiums than it pays out on claims. To accomplish this goal, GEICO claims adjusters work to minimize the company’s liability on legitimate car accident claims.
No matter how friendly they may seem, an insurance adjuster is a representative of their employer. They are not on your side. They are tasked with resolving your claim for as little money as possible. To achieve this goal, the adjuster may pressure you to say that you’re fine when you aren’t, to admit fault, or to sign away important rights.
For example, a GEICO claims adjuster may approach you after an accident and tell you that the company takes full responsibility. They may ask you to give a statement and sign a few papers so they can get to work processing your claim right away. What you may not realize is that when you go along with their request, it can tank your claim.
Once you give that statement or sign that paperwork, GEICO will start to pick it apart, looking for weaknesses in your case that can be used to lower the case value. They may also start searching through your medical records to find an explanation for your injuries other than the car accident, such as a preexisting condition.
An attorney can protect you from these tactics. They can work to limit GEICO’s access to your medical records, so that only information that is actually relevant to your claims is released – instead of your entire medical history. They can also ensure that you aren’t tricked into admitting fault or saying something that could undermine your claim.
A GEICO claims adjuster may also delay your claim, hoping that you’ll accept whatever low ball offer they make in desperation. They know those accident victims are often under financial stress, especially if they are off of work while they recover from their injuries. The longer they delay a payout, the more eager you may be to take whatever they are willing to give you – even if it doesn’t come close to covering all of your losses.
When you have a lawyer by your side, GEICO is far less likely to slow walk your claim. They will know that you mean business – and that you can and will file a lawsuit if you don’t get a fair settlement offer that compensates you for your injuries.
It doesn’t cost anything to meet with a personal injury law firm and learn more about your rights. If you do decide to hire a San Rafael car accident attorney after a free initial consultation, you won’t pay anything upfront. In other words, there is no risk in talking to a lawyer or even hiring one to represent you in your GEICO accident claim.
GEICO Car Accident Settlements
In California, an injury victim may be entitled to three types of damages for their injuries: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic and non-economic are referred to as compensatory damages, as they are meant to compensate you for your losses. Punitive damages have the goal of penalizing someone who acted intentionally or recklessly.
Economic damages pay for your specific financial losses, such as lost wages, property damage, medical bills, future medical care, renovations to your home to make it accessible, and reduced earning capacity. You can think of it as money to cover things that were or will be something that you pay out of pocket for – like repairs to your car to make it driveable again.
On the other hand, non-economic damages cover intangible losses that don’t come with an invoice or a price tag. For example, you may get compensated for pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life. Because it is harder to value these kinds of losses, GEICO may try to undervalue this aspect of your claim.
Finally, punitive damages may be possible in some cases. Generally, car accidents involve negligence (carelessness) instead of intentional or reckless behavior. But in some situations, like drunk driving accidents, you may be awarded punitive damages.
A GEICO settlement should cover all of your losses. Too often, GEICO’s initial settlement offer does not come close to fair compensation. Like other insurance companies, GEICO uses a computer program to value claims. That might simplify the process from their end, but it can result in really low settlement offers.
An experienced San Rafael car accident lawyer will use their knowledge of similar cases and California personal injury law to fight for maximum compensation. They will consult with experts, interview witnesses, research case law, comb through police reports, and analyze photos and videos from the accident scene to put together a strong claim. Through each step of the process, they will aggressively advocate for your rights.
In most cases, GEICO accident claims are resolved through a settlement, without ever having to go to court. However, GEICO may refuse to pay you fair compensation. They may contest liability or argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim. In this situation, your attorney may advise you that it is necessary to file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit against GEICO does not mean that your case will go to trial. Instead, the parties will exchange information, prepare legal documents (motions) for the court, and continue to negotiate. In almost all cases, car accident lawsuits are resolved before going to trial.
GEICO knows that taking a case to a jury is a gamble – and costs a lot of money. When you hire a personal injury lawyer with significant trial experience and a track record of success, GEICO is more likely to offer a good settlement. They will know that you are serious about your claim and that you won’t accept a settlement that doesn’t truly address all of your losses.
If it is necessary to go to trial, then your lawyer will make arguments, question witnesses, and present evidence. They will then ask the jury to return a verdict in your favor. While going to trial can be stressful, it may be the best way to get the money that you need to move forward with your life after a motor vehicle accident.
When Will I Get a Pay Out on My GEICO Claim?
Many GEICO accident claims are resolved in a matter of weeks or months – which means that you will get a settlement check fairly quickly. Getting a lawyer involved from the onset can help to keep the process on track as GEICO will be more motivated to get your case settled rather than risk going to trial.
If you do need to file a lawsuit, it may take a year or longer to achieve a final resolution. Working with a San Rafael car accident attorney is the best way to ensure that you get full compensation as soon as possible. Give Kuvara Law Firm a call for a free consultation about your case.
Can I Afford to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Yes. Personal injury law firms typically use a contingency fee arrangement, which is different from the standard hourly rate charged by lawyers. With a contingency fee, you will pay nothing out of pocket. Instead, when your case is resolved (by settlement or going to trial), your lawyer will receive a percentage of your recovery.
This type of arrangement means that anyone can afford to hire a car accident attorney. It also aligns the interests of the lawyer and client, as both want to resolve the case for as much money as possible, as quickly as possible. To schedule a free consultation with a San Rafael car accident attorney, give our law office a call today.
Does It Make Sense to Hire an Attorney for a Minor Crash?
Yes. Studies show that plaintiffs in personal injury cases who have an attorney recover as much as 40% more than people who represent themselves. Even for relatively minor crashes, it makes sense to hire a lawyer.
If your case only involves property damage and minimal or no injuries, it may make sense to handle it yourself. To get a better sense of when you can represent yourself, schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. They’ll listen to your story, give you an estimate of your case value, and advise you of your rights and options.
Filing a Claim with GEICO? We Can Help.
When you are pursuing a car accident claim with GEICO, it can feel like a real David versus Goliath situation. On one side, there is GEICO – a massive corporation with billions of dollars. On the other side, there is you – a car accident victim who is struggling to make ends meet.
The Kuvara Law Firm can help to level the playing field. For more than 50 years, we have fought for the rights of injury victims and gotten fantastic results on their behalf. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a San Rafael car accident lawyer, call our law office at 415-479-7070 or fill out our online contact form.