How to Negotiate a Wrongful Death Claim with State Farm Insurance
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Wrongful death lawsuits rest on the fact that surviving family members have been financially or emotionally impacted by the deceased’s death. In most cases, whether the death was caused by malpractice, a negligent driver, or a work accident, the at-fault party will have an insurance policy that covers wrongful death. It’s for this reason that most wrongful death settlements eventually hinge on the amount of wrongful death insurance coverage the at-fault party has in their policy.
Unlike your favorite good neighbors, State Farm is a successful business whose profitability rests on their claims adjusters securing the lowest settlements possible. Theoretically, an injured party could expect to be paid at least the insured party’s policy limits. However, State Farm doesn’t often pay out the policy limits without first trying to negotiate a settlement far below that number.
If you have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with an experienced and compassionate wrongful death attorney.
How State Farm Values Your Wrongful Death Claim
Like most insurance companies of its size, State Farm uses a software program to help determine the range that its adjusters should stay within when negotiating settlements. State Farm’s system is nicknamed “TEACH” (Total Evaluation and Claims Handling) and is notorious for spitting out low-ball offers.
TEACH uses prior settlement data entered by the adjuster to come up with its range. It’s important to understand that adjusters can exceed the range offered by TEACH, regardless of what they might otherwise claim. TEACH functions in generalities, so making clear notes of ways that your wrongful death claim differs from the norm is important. These distinctions will eventually force your adjuster to exceed the TEACH range and instead offer you a settlement far nearer that real value of your claim.
As the adjuster searches for discrepancies and other ways to deny the wrongful death claim, State Farm is likely to engage you in some settlement discussions. You should expect some back and forth in these discussions. As this back and forth goes on, be sure to ask your assigned adjuster to justify the amount they’ve offered you. This will give you the opportunity to specifically address their concerns, and to base your counteroffer on those points that are important to the adjuster.
Keep in mind that your assigned adjuster is not likely to accept your first counteroffer. Don’t get discouraged, if you show the adjuster that you’re serious about getting what you deserve they’ll slowly begin giving you increasingly realistic offers.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You
Negotiating a settlement with an insurance company can be frustrating, and there may not be any more frustrating experience than trying to negotiate a wrongful death claim with State Farm. Considering the complexity and grief that come with a wrongful death claim, it is often in your best interest to seek the help of an experienced attorney to make sure that you get everything you deserve in your wrongful death claim against State Farm.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with an skilled and compassionate wrongful death lawyer. Meetings with attorney are available by appointment only.