Making an Insurance Claim with State Farm Insurance
Jan. 24, 2015
You were involved in an Indiana car accident or your home was damaged and you will be making a claim with State Farm Insurance. Below are a few of the observations that I have dealing with State Farm for 25+ years, first as a chiropractor and then as a lawyer.
State Farm has no problem paying claims that it finds valid. The problem that I see is that over the years insurance adjusters start to become biased. Now mind you, I agree that there are people who try to pull one over on the insurance company, however, in my experience these people are few and far between. On the other hand, many insurance adjusters believe it the other way, and start from the proposition that the injured person making the claim is “full of it”. Also, because these adjusters review 100s of claims and learn some of the medical terms, they start substituting their medical opinions for those of the injured person's treating doctor. With some adjusters trying to actually trying to discuss the medicine involved in a client's injury can be frustrating.
State Farm is a large privately held company with its corporate office in Bloomington, Illinois. Over the years, I have noticed that even though State Farm is such a big company, the adjusters take their claims handling very personally, which is not a good thing.
I have seen the company develop a bad attitude about doctors or contractors and because it didn't like the provider, the adjuster would dig in her heels and not pay the claims in which the injured person saw that doctor.
Recently, State Farm took a roofer's conduct personally, and a jury felt that the company's actions were out-of-bounds, and awarded the roofer 14.5 million dollars. The verdict was upheld by the court of appeals.
In sum, the adjusters who were handling hail storm claims didn't like this roofing contractor. The jury bought the roofer's argument that State Farm systematically went after the guy's reputation and eventually put him out of business. The Court of Appeals said:
The evidence shows that the contractor was trying to help State Farm policyholders at the very same time that State Farm was receiving negative press for denying claims arising from the April 2006 hailstorm. It was reasonable to assume that the contractor was targeted not because of fraudulent activity but rather because of their work on behalf of State Farm clients.
This work included Radcliff (the roofer) reporting State Farm to the Department of Insurance, meeting with a reporter and posting about State Farm, posting signs in and around Marion County that the contractor would fight State Farm claims.. and all of this caught the eye of State Farm.
In my experience and I can give you a handful of other examples, some State Farm adjusters make personal as opposed to business decisions on some claims.
If you have to file a lawsuit against State Farm, it is likely that the case will be defended by lawyers who are actually employees of State Farm. The company's local in-house law office is in Crown Point, and the office handles a fair majority of the cases in Northwest Indiana. State Farm's defense lawyers are competent and will do a thorough job defending the case for the State Farm insured.