If you have been injured after being involved in a car accident with a State Farm insured driver, and need to make a claim against State Farm, or if you have insurance with State Farm and have been involved in an accident, it is very important to get a legal consultation before speaking with any claims adjuster about your claim.
How to Open a Claim with State Farm:
The first thing you should do after an accident is to open a claim with State Farm for property damage and personal injury. State Farm allows you to do this online at https://www.statefarm.com/claims or by telephone at 1-800-SF-CLAIM. The process takes about 15 minutes; however, they make seen to obtain information from you that you simply do not know.
The claim will then be assigned to a property damage adjuster and a liability adjuster. If State Farm is your insurance company, it can also be assigned to an adjuster who will handle your uninsured motorist claim or your medical payments claim.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you can read our blog about this coverage and why you may want to add it to your policy here: https://www.kieferandkiefer.com/blog/do-i-need-uninsured-motorist-insurance-in-louisiana
What Does State Farm Do to Repair my Car After I Open a Claim with State Farm?
If you have been involved in an accident with a State Farm insured and reported the claim to State Farm, they will open up an investigation to first see if they have to pay your property damage. They have 14 days to institute this investigation. They will first have to obtain the police report or attempt to reach their insured and the driver of the other vehicle to confirm how the accident occurred and see if their insured is arguably responsible for the loss. They will then arrange for you to have a vehicle inspection. Following all of this, they typically have 30 days to pay you the amount of vehicle damage you sustained in the accident.
Even if you were involved in an accident with someone from State Farm and you believe the accident was their fault, you can always go through your own insurance company to fix the vehicle damage from the accident, which often times is faster. Your insurance company, should the accident be determined to be the other driver's fault, will then turn around and get reimbursed from State Farm, which will not affect your insurance rates if the accident was not your fault.
You can read a little more about vehicle damage following a car accident here:
Should I Hire a Lawyer Before I Open a Claim with State Farm?
If you have been injured in an accident, we recommend hiring an attorney prior to opening a claim with State Farm yourself. Put simply, State Farm has teams of employees whose job it is to pay you the least amount of money that you will take to settle a claim and, often times, after the accident, you may do things that you do not even know are not in your best interest.
For example, often when a claims adjuster handles the claim of a person not represented by an attorney, they will attempt to take a recorded statement of you that can be used against you later. People are often tricked into thinking that this is mandatory. We have even seen people give these statements after a serious injury when they have been taking pain pills. A simple statement of "I'm ok" to a claims adjuster can be used later to cross-examine you in court.
Additionally, a claims adjuster will often times offer a nominal amount of money in an attempt to quickly obtain a settlement rather than closely examining the damages of the injured party and offering a fair amount to compensate the injured party.
Lastly, because we know what the insurance companies need to have in their file before paying you for your property damage, uninsured motorist coverage, medical payments, coverage, or liability payments, we will make sure to assist you in getting that information over to them. We also know the timelines and deadlines under Louisiana law that State Farm has to comply with after they receive this information. If they blow these deadlines, we know about the attorneys fees, costs, and bad faith penalties that are available to you and we will make sure that you are fully compensated.
What Should I do if I am Involved in an Accident with a State Farm customer?
What should you do if you are involved in an accident with a State Farm insured driver? Whether you were injured in the accident, or not, it is still important to gather as much evidence as possible after an accident.
- Call the police and wait for them to arrive so that the officer can investigate the scene and prepare a police report. It can be tempting to just exchange information with the other driver in hopes to settle the issue without insurance, but it is always important to have an independent account of the accident as versions of the accident tend to change once a claim has been filed, and claims adjusters tend to accept the version of the accident their insured provides as fact despite any additional evidence.
- Get the name of the investigating officer, the officer's badge number, and the corresponding police report number.
- Take photos and/or videos of all the vehicles involved in the accident prior to moving your vehicle to a safe location.
- Exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident, including mailing addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, email addresses, and insurance information
- Do not give a recorded statement to State Farm or its claims adjusters. State Farm may have an adjuster contact you shortly after the accident to check on you. You are not required to speak to them. In fact, in the days after serious injury, it is possibly that you may be heavily medicated, so it does not make sense to give a recorded statement that can later be used against you.
- Do not accept an early settlement. In Louisiana you have a year before you must file a claim against State Farm formally in court. There is no rush to settle your claim, especially before you know the nature and extent of your injuries.
The attorneys at Kiefer & Kiefer have handled a multitude of auto accident cases, and have extensive knowledge of the State Farm claims process, and have had success resolving many auto claims with State Farm We have helped clients who were involved in a car accident in New Orleans, car accidents in Metairie, and just about every other parish in Louisiana.