Northwest Indiana lawyer explains his observations regarding making a claim with State Farm Insurance.
State Farm is the biggest boy on the block when it comes to personal lines – car and homeowners insurance. Sometimes State Farm tries to push its weight around. State Farm has no problem paying claims that it believes are valid. The problem is that many adjusters have a jaded view of valid claims. Many of the adjusters think that all injured folks are exaggerating, and because they know some medical terms, many adjusters think they are doctors. It can be frustrating – trying to actually discuss the medicine involved in an injury with a State Farm adjuster.
State Farm is a large privately held company. It is not a public company like Allstate. Even though it is such a big company, State Farm adjusters take their claims handling very personally, which is not a good thing. Over the years, I have seen the company develop a bad attitude about doctors or contractors and because it didn't like the provider —- it would dig in its heels and not pay the claims.
In July 2013, State Farm has recently sued the principals of a medical and lawyer referral service in Florida “Ask Gary”. State Farm alleges that Ask Gary had a plan and scheme to defraud its insureds. Ask Gary's lawyers allege that State Farm filed suit because it sued State Farm for failing pay for reasonable and necessary medical services.
Let me tell you a story of recent case in Indianapolis that puts what I'm talking about in perspective. In 2013, a contractor received a 14.5 million dollar verdict, which was upheld by the court of appeals in a defamation suit against State Farm. In essence, the adjusters who were handling hail storm claims didn't like this contractor and the jury found systematically went after the guy's reputation putting him out of business. Here are some of the statements from the court of appeals:
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 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 view, and I can give you a handful of other examples, 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 State Farm lawyers, the company has an in-house office in Crown Point, which handles most of the cases in this area. State Farm's defense lawyers are competent and will do a thorough job defending the case.