Morgan Gaynor | October 31, 2021 | Car Accidents
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, you’ve likely heard of GEICO. GEICO is the insurance company whose claim to TV fame is a talking gecko.
Headquartered in Maryland, GEICO is the second-largest provider of private automobile insurance in the United States. They provide insurance for over 28 million vehicles.
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, there were more than 341,000 traffic accidents across the state in 2020.
If you’re ever in a car accident, you will likely have to deal with GEICO. Whether you are insured by them or the other party in the accident has GEICO insurance, you need to understand that GEICO’s primary concern will always be their own bottom line.
Insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart. Companies cannot be profitable by paying top dollar for accident claims. That’s why you need an experienced accident lawyer on your side. The right firm knows the tricks the insurance company will try and can help you avoid falling into these traps.
Here are some of the secrets that GEICO doesn’t want you to know.
Secret 1: They Want You to Sign Away Your Rights
Most of the time, an insurance adjuster will ask to record your phone conversations for the record. Some will even claim that it’s required by law for you to offer a recorded statement.
Federal law allows insurance companies to record a call without your specific consent. However, it is illegal for a provider in the state of Florida to record the conversation without your knowledge.
If you decide to talk to an adjuster, be extremely careful about what you say. The claims adjuster will be looking for anything to nitpick your claim.
Secret 2: They Want Details to Use Against You
When an insurance adjuster calls to ask about your accident, they will try to pry out details that could work against you later. They may ask if you’ve missed any work, if you were drinking before your accident, or what type of medical care you’ve gotten so far.
Suppose that you are in an accident while on vacation. When the insurance adjuster calls, you’ve only missed a few days of work because that’s all you’ve been scheduled for so far.
If you tell them you’ve missed a few days, they may use that against you later, even if you end up missing months of work after you initially talked to them.
The best course of action is to refer all conversations to your accident attorney. Don’t believe the adjuster if they claim that you are required by law to talk to them. If you feel the need to tell the adjuster anything, simply confirm the date and time of the accident and leave it at that.
Secret 3: They Don’t Care About Your Medical Bills
GEICO insurance adjusters have their own dollar amount in mind for your accident injuries and property damages. Even if they tell you to send them copies of your hospital and doctor bills, they will likely disregard them in favor of their own totals.
Insurance companies work with what they refer to as “usual and customary charges.” They consult with their own medical professionals to determine what they feel is the appropriate cost for your medical care. Then, they offer you that amount, regardless of what your actual bills are.
Secret 4: GEICO Wants You to Take the Fast Offer
GEICO often makes an extremely small offer of compensation right from the start. Their hope is that you will happily accept it as a fast way to get money to pay your medical bills, repair your car, or otherwise deal with the financial fallout caused by the accident.
Unfortunately, the fast offer is usually much lower than you’re entitled to.
If you were injured in the accident, you may end up having related medical problems in the future. If you accept the immediate lowball offer that only covers today’s expenses, you will have to pay for the future costs out of your own pocket.
There are many other financial and nonfinancial problems you can end up experiencing after a car accident, including:
- Lost income from days off work
- Lingering pain and suffering
- Future physical or mental therapy
- Car repairs or replacements
- Disfigurement or disability
- Extended emotional trauma
Your best course of action is to make sure you document everything after an accident. File a police report, take photos, talk to witnesses, and call an attorney who specializes in personal injury compensation from auto accidents to make sure you get every dollar you deserve.
Secret 5: You May Have Grounds for a Wrongful Death Claim
When a loved one dies, the family is often consumed with grief. There’s also a flurry of activity to get extended family notified and make burial arrangements.
During this time of grief, an insurance adjuster may try to take advantage. The raw emotions and distractions make it easier for them to get you to make misleading statements or agree to something you shouldn’t.
Florida wrongful death laws allow family members to sue on behalf of a deceased loved one if they were killed in the accident.
Wrongful death compensation pays for direct and indirect consequences from the accident, including:
- Hospital and emergency bills
- End-of-life care bills
- Funeral expenses
- Lost income for the family
- Mental pain and suffering
- Depression, fear, and anxiety
- Child and family therapy
These damages are available to the spouse, children, or other blood relatives of the accident victim that died, but there are time limits to file a case. Florida statutes of limitations only give you six months to file for damages if a government entity is to blame or two years otherwise.
Don’t sacrifice the future of yourself or your family. Take the right steps after an auto accident and ensure you get the full compensation you deserve.