Auto insurance is a requirement in New York and it’s supposed to pay for accidents. Farmers Insurance is one such company. Unfortunately, insurers rarely pay as much as they should unless you have a car accident lawyer to help you make your claim.
Like many auto insurance companies, Farmers has been covering claims for almost 100 years. That also means they’ve had nearly a century of experience to learn how to reduce and block claims. Here’s how to fight back.
About Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance is one of the largest insurance companies in America. Founded in 1928, the company mainly covers homes, vehicles, and small businesses. It is also considered one of the ten worst insurance companies in America, according to the American Association for Justice.
One example of a dirty trick they pulled was when an elderly lady in Washington State was struck in a multi-vehicle accident. She had a coma for nine days and became permanently disabled.
Farmers tried to deny the claim because the at-fault driver was acting through road rage, so the crash was not the result of an accident. It took the actions of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner to get them to cave and pay the claim.
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No Fault Insurance in New York
Fortunately, New York is a no-fault state, unlike Washington. This means that drivers would start getting compensation by filing a claim against their own insurance. This could be Farmers Insurance, but just because you’re a customer doesn’t mean you’ll get better treatment.
First, your insurance will only cover you up to your maximum coverage amount, minus any deductible. They will also only cover medical bills and property damage, not things like pain and suffering. The minimum amount of coverage will not be enough if you have a serious injury.
If you can afford more coverage, you may wish to get more so you don’t have to file a lawsuit later to pay for it. Otherwise, assuming you meet New York’s definition of having a serious injury, you’ll have to turn to the court and the help of a New York car accident lawyer to help you.
What to Do Before Calling Farmers Insurance
Once you call the company to report your accident, you’ll need to give them evidence your story is true. A good settlement starts with good evidence. Here are some things you should do to back up your claim.
- Report your accident to the police and DMV.
- Get witness contact information, if you can.
- Get photos of the scene, your cars, and your injuries, if you can.
- See a doctor as soon as possible, even if you feel fine.
- Make notes of all conversations you’ve had about the accident.
There are also several things you should NOT do. These go for any personal injury case, not just Farmers Insurance claims:
- Don’t discuss your accident with other people besides the police, your lawyer, and the insurance company.
- Avoid posting information about your life, including on social media, until your claim is settled or you’ve talked to a lawyer.
- Only give facts to all parties. Do not say who you believe was at fault or that your injuries aren’t causing you pain. Even saying “I’m fine” to be polite will be used against you.
Do not wait too long to make your claim. Try to call Farmers Insurance within 30 days of your accident. After you’ve given them your initial information, they’ll assign your case to a claims adjuster. Their job is to verify your story, see if the company has to pay you, and do whatever they can to lower how much they’ll have to pay.
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Handling the Adjuster
The best way to handle the conversation with an insurance adjuster is to have a New York car accident lawyer do it for you. Sign nothing from Farmers Insurance or give a formal statement to the adjuster until you’ve spoken to one.
You could get lucky and think you’re getting a fair shake on a settlement deal. Consider the following before accepting a settlement:
- Is your medical treatment complete, and will you need ongoing care for your injuries?
- Are you experiencing mental health symptoms post-accident that haven’t been diagnosed (e.g. PTSD symptoms?)
- Are you truly sure you know how much your car accident is worth?
In a minor accident with costs well below your policy limit, you may be comfortable accepting a first settlement. Yet, you may leave money on the table you don’t know about. Even if you don’t hire an attorney, you can still get a consultation to make sure you’re not getting ripped off.
Once you sign a settlement agreement, the matter is closed and you cannot get more money from that incident claim. If your injuries get worse or you need further care, you’ll have to pay for them out of pocket.
Whether you have Farmers Insurance yourself, or you meet the standards to sue the at-fault driver that has coverage from this company, speak with a New York car accident attorney from Dansker & Aspromonte Associates LLP before you get too far with your claim process. You deserve every penny you can get for what happened to you, and we can help make sure you get it.