If you suffered injuries in an accident, and another person or entity was to blame, your Chicago personal injury attorney will most likely deal with the insurance company for the at-fault party. In some cases, the responsible party's insurance company will hold a Farmers insurance policy.
Dealing with insurance companies is often an uphill battle – especially if you start the process yourself. Handling your own Farmers insurance claim can be a huge and costly mistake, as claimants without representation often unknowingly fall for common insurance tactics. They regularly walk away from the claim process with much less than they deserve, which is Farmers’ goal.
Despite what Farmers and other insurance companies routinely say in their all-too-frequent advertisements, they have no interest in compensating you fully and fairly for your accident-related injuries. In fact, all insurance companies have the same goal: to pay as little monetary compensation as possible to injured accident victims. That way, they can keep their money.
Many insurance companies will look for any excuse to deny a personal injury claim or, at the very least, avoid paying out significant monetary compensation to the accident victim.
For example, Farmers might allege that the accident victim caused or contributed to their own accident or that their injuries are grossly exaggerated. They may also claim that the accident did not cause the victim's injuries and other medical complications.
If you suffered injuries in a recent accident that someone else caused and are dealing with Farmers Insurance Company, you have legal options.
Retain skilled legal counsel to represent you during all interactions with Farmers, especially during settlement negotiations. Insurance companies like Farmers have aggressive and powerful attorneys advocating for their legal interests. You want legal representation, too.
Your personal injury attorney can file a claim with the insurance company, negotiate fair settlement compensation for your injuries, and, if necessary, litigate your case to a resolution in the state court system. Your attorney can also represent you at all legal proceedings in your case and aggressively advocate for your rights and interests.
How Does a Personal Injury Claim Arise?
Personal injury claims and lawsuits arise when others commit negligent, careless, or reckless acts. For example, in a motor vehicle accident scenario, the at-fault driver commits a negligent act when they violate one or more traffic laws or drive while intoxicated or distracted.
In a premises accident, such as a slip and fall on someone else’s property, the property owner likely failed to warn about or correct a dangerous defect on their premises – such as a food or liquid spill on the floor – within a reasonable time.
In addition to motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall accident claims, personal injury claims and lawsuits that involve Farmers Insurance Company may arise from:
- Staircase accidents, where a property owner fails to properly maintain a railing or the staircase itself
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to strike a bicycle or motorcycle – usually because they are driving recklessly or while distracted or impaired
- Pedestrian accidents, where a driver negligently causes their vehicle to strike a pedestrian on a sidewalk, in a parking lot or parking garage, on a hiking/jogging trail, or at an intersection crosswalk where they are lawfully present
- Boating accidents, where a boat owner or driver negligently fails to maintain their boat in a reasonably safe condition or operates their boat unsafely (such as while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol)
- Swimming pool accidents, where a pool owner negligently fails to maintain the pool area or have a sufficient number of lifeguards on duty at a given time
- Premises incidents that arise from inadequate security personnel or cameras on the premises, such as when a third party attacks a premises visitor at a bar or nightclub
If you sustained injuries in one of these types of accidents, a skilled personal injury attorney in your area can assess your best options. Your lawyer can promptly investigate the circumstances of your accident and file a Farmers insurance claim as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can then negotiate fair settlement compensation from the claims adjuster in your case.
The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit Involving Farmers
In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim must satisfy a legal burden of proof. The at-fault individual or entity that caused the accident does not need to prove anything.
Specifically, the injured accident victim must establish that the other party owed them one or more legal duties of care. For example, in a premises accident scenario, the accident victim must demonstrate that the property owner had a duty to warn about or correct known hazards and defects on their premises.
Next, the accident victim must show that the other party violated or breached their legal duty of care. In a slip-and-fall case, for example, the accident has to show that the property owner was aware of a defect on their premises, yet they failed to warn about or repair the defect within a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, the accident victim must show that this breach was both a direct and a foreseeable cause of the accident and the resulting injuries.
To establish the legal burden of proof in your personal injury claim, your attorney may need to retain several experts who can testify in your case.
For example, a certified accident reconstructionist can speak with you about the underlying accident circumstances, contact witnesses, review incident reports, and visit the scene of the occurrence. They can then draft their report citing their findings and conclusions. An accident reconstructionist might also testify on your behalf at a discovery deposition or in live court.
In addition to an accident reconstructionist, a medical expert may be an important witness in your case. Medical experts are typically treating healthcare providers, and they can causally relate your claimed injuries to the subject accident. A medical expert might also be able to establish that one or more of your injuries are permanent.
Your personal injury attorney can retain the necessary experts to successfully prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit, making you eligible to recover monetary compensation in your case.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer include:
- Soft tissue contusions
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Eye injuries
- Mouth and teeth injuries
- Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
- Complete and partial paralysis injuries
While you focus on getting the medical treatment you need for your accident-related injuries, your attorney can gather important medical records and other documents to prove your case.
Once you complete most of your medical treatment or know your future medical needs, your attorney can start negotiating with Farmers to pursue the maximum monetary compensation you deserve.
Negotiating with an Insurance Adjuster from Farmers
Negotiating with an insurance company like Farmers, especially on your own, can be an uphill battle. Insurance companies do not have any incentive to offer you significant monetary compensation to resolve your personal injury claim.
The amount of time it takes to negotiate a Farmers claim will depend on various circumstances, including the nature and complexity of the claim and the adjuster's willingness to settle the claim.
Your attorney can point out pertinent medical records, obtain additional medical records supporting your claim, or take Farmers to court if they do not offer a fair settlement.
If your attorney needs to litigate your personal injury case in court, they can handle every step of the process.
Litigation begins when your lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf in state court. At that point, Farmers will appoint a defense attorney to represent the at-fault party during litigation. The defense attorney will enter a formal Answer in the case, and the parties will engage in a process known as discovery.
During this time, they will answer written questions, called Interrogatories, and exchange documents pertinent to the case, including medical records, medical bills, photographs, camera footage, and other potential evidence.
During this time, the parties may also continue their settlement negotiations. In fact, the majority of Farmers claims settle during the litigation stage of a personal injury case.
If the case does not resolve by the end of discovery, the parties will typically attend one or more settlement conferences with the court. If the case still does not settle, the parties may take their case to a civil jury trial.
At trial, the parties will introduce evidence, and the jury will decide all disputed issues in the case including the amount of monetary compensation to award the injured accident victim.
As an alternative to a civil jury trial, your attorney may agree with the defense attorney (who essentially represents Farmers) to try alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
For example, at a mediation conference, the parties will meet with a neutral, third-party mediator who assists them during additional settlement discussions.
At a binding arbitration hearing, on the other hand, the parties introduce evidence to a neutral case arbitrator just as they might at trial. However, the proceeding takes place outside of court, and an arbitrator rather than a judge or jury decides the amount of monetary compensation to award the injured accident victim.
Your lawyer can advise you, so you can make intelligent and informed decisions throughout your case, including whether to accept a pending monetary settlement offer from Farmers or litigate your case through the court system.
Potential Monetary Damages in a Farmers Claim
Injured accident victims may be eligible to recover various types and amounts of monetary compensation from Farmers, depending on their unique case circumstances.
Accident victims can recover compensation for:
- Past and anticipated medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lifetime care costs
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
Your attorney will provide support during every step of the claims-filing and negotiation processes and advise you on whether litigation may be necessary in your case.
Your attorney can also guide you in deciding whether a particular settlement offer from Farmers is worth accepting in your circumstances. If not, your attorney can pursue litigation in your case and represent you at all legal proceedings, including depositions, ADR proceedings, and trial.
Call a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer about Your Legal Matter Right Away
If you sustained injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else's negligence, time is of the essence. Accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit seeking monetary recovery. If they fail to take timely legal action and the statute of limitations runs in their case, they will no longer be eligible to recover monetary damages.
When taking on an insurance company like Farmers, always have experienced, qualified attorney of a top-rated personal injury law firm in Chicago at the earliest stages of your case. A personal injury lawyer in your area can take on every step of the process and work to maximize the total compensation you receive from Farmers.