When you’re seriously injured in a Chicago-area accident, you expect the insurance claim liability adjuster to treat you with compassion and respect. You also expect the insurance company to pay your damages. Unfortunately, the insurance claims process isn’t always smooth: denied claims, disputed damages, and aggressive insurance adjusters can quickly cause a headache for claimants.
The Government Employees Insurance Company, better known as GEICO, is one of the largest insurers in the U.S. While GEICO may serve numerous happy customers, it can be difficult to know what to expect when the time comes to file a claim. In the past, adjusters from GEICO have landed the company in court:
- The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit called GEICO’s conduct in one case “…of low to moderate reprehensibility.” The court upheld a bad faith punitive damage award but reduced it from $2.5 million to $1,064,282.44.
- In Moore v. GEICO, the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit returned a case to the lower court for reconsideration. The decision quoted the lower court’s description of GEICO’s claim handling as “sloppy” and “bordering on negligent.” The lower court recently affirmed a $2.9 million bad faith judgment in the plaintiff’s favor.
At Abels & Annes Personal Injury Lawyers, we believe that when you’re injured, you shouldn’t have to deal with slow, inefficient, or difficult claims handling. You should never have to file a bad faith lawsuit against an insurance company to receive the payments it owes you. Our law firm helps clients avoid these possibilities, and is dedicated to ensuring claims are processed as quickly and effectively as possible with all major insurers.
We handle cases for Illinois plaintiffs, and we’ve resolved many insurance claims with GEICO adjusters. Contact Abels & Annes online to learn how we’re committed to doing what it takes to produce the best outcome for our clients.
Possible Personal Injuries that Involve a GEICO Insurance Claim
GEICO writes commercial and personal auto, commercial property, and homeowners’ insurance policies. Accordingly, the types of injuries their insurance policies cover can vary widely. They may include:
- Wrongful Death
- Spinal cord injury
- Swimming pool injuries
- Serious burns
- Dislocated and herniated discs
- Traumatic brain injury
- Skull and facial fractures
- Crush injuries and traumatic amputations
- Internal injuries
- Multiple fractures and
- Soft Tissue Injuries
Who Can Be at Fault?
As a general matter, the insurance policy maintained by the person at fault for an accident is often available to cover the damages sustained by the accident victim. Here are a few of the potentially responsible parties for the liability exposures GEICO insures:
- Commercial Vehicle Accident: Truck driver, employer/motor carrier, truck owner, trailer owner, manufacturer, maintenance contractor, loading contractor, shipper
- Personal Auto Accident: Driver, vehicle owner
- Homeowner’s Liability: Homeowner, maintenance provider, insured or family member
- Commercial Premises Accident: Building owner, lessee, maintenance contractor, realtor, security firm
- Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Claim: When an unidentified or uninsured driver injures a GEICO personal auto insured, GEICO must pay the claim as though they were the liability carrier. Their duty to pay their insured’s injury claim is based on the other driver’s responsibility.
What Kind Of Damages Can an Injury Victim Recover?
We’ve settled and recovered judgments in our clients’ cases based on two categories: economic damages and general damages. Illinois juries also award punitive damages if a defendant’s actions were fraudulent, intentional, willful, or wanton. One job of a personal injury attorney is to ensure insurance companies like GEICO take this range of potential damages into account in negotiating a settlement of a claim.
Economic damages reimburse current and future expenses. The out-of-pocket costs are far higher when the injured person sustains catastrophic injuries.
- Current and future wage losses
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Medicines and prosthetics
- Mobility devices
- Household assistance
- Diminished earning capacity
- Funeral expenses
General damages are often difficult to assess. They attempt to place a value on the injured person’s mental and emotional thoughts about their injuries and how they affect their life and lifestyle. General damages consider multiple factors.
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
- Loss of consortium
- Inability to take care of family
- Loss or impairment of bodily functions
- Permanent disabilities
What Obstacles Can I Expect from the GEICO Claims Process?
When a person with a potential claim against GEICO suffers an injury, GEICO has a duty to investigate the claim and, when appropriate, pay the damages for which its insured is legally liable. As with any insurance company, GEICO adjusters also carry a variety of potential defenses to liability for a claim. Insurance companies may rely on the following arguments in disputing the amount of a claim:
- Comparative Negligence – Under Illinois comparative negligence statutes, if the injured person is more than 50% at fault for his own injuries, he cannot recover damages. If an injured person is 50% or less responsible, the court reduces his settlement by that percentage.
- No Defect – When a manufacturing defect contributes to a vehicle accident, the manufacturer or its insurer may dispute the existence of a defect.
- Open and Obvious – Under Illinois premises liability law, a property owner owes no damages for a defect the plaintiff did or should have noticed.
- Premises status: A property owner has minimal responsibility for an adult trespasser. She may successfully defend a premises liability case by proving a plaintiff was a trespasser.
- Contractual Defenses – Leasing companies, lessors, and other responsible parties transfer liability by contractual arrangements that require another party to defend and indemnify them for any judgments.
How Much Will My Lawyer Cost?
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence and a GEICO adjuster has contacted you, talk to us first. We’ll schedule a free appointment to discuss your case and determine if we can help you. When appropriate, our firm may agree to handle a client’s case on a contingency basis, in which we receive our fee only out of any settlement or judgment in our client’s favor.
Your GEICO Insurance Personal Injury Claim Lawyer
Recovering from a serious injury is difficult enough without having to work with insurance adjusters or negotiate with large companies. Some adjusters may even try to take advantage of your vulnerability; they may even try to settle with you over the phone for very little money, assuming you don’t understand your rights.
Abels & Annes Personal Injury Lawyers have handled many GEICO insurance cases. We know that it’s important to protect our client’s legal and personal rights from day one. If you or a family member were injured in the Chicago, Illinois area, call us at (312) 924-7575 or contact Abels & Annes online.