I was expecting and got a call Monday night. Laura Zois and John Bratt were in trial in Frederick County in a rear end car accident case. I got word of the verdict: $291,000 and some change. A verdict in excess of the at fault driver’s of $100,000 and the uninsured motorist policy of $250,000.
State Farm claims are always a challenge to settle. More than any other insurance company, they just do not make settlement offers that entice victims to settle before trial. The settlement offer in this case was $8,200, I felt like we should have gotten more and I was a little disappointed we did not. This speaks volumes of where were are, at least in Maryland, with State Farm. We can get a verdict 35 times the settlement offer and still not view it as an epic victory. Because State Farm’s offer was not even remotely in the range of reasonable.
The case was disputed on liability so my first reaction was one of joy: glad we didn’t lose. But I knew the case and I really thought the jury could have awarded a lot more. Frederick County is a pretty conservative jurisdiction. We also lost a ton of motions that I think we should have won on some critical issues that I think might have made a difference.
If you leaf through jury verdicts which I do on a monthly basis, it is amazing how many car accident cases that go to trial in Maryland are defended by State Farm.
I want to trot out the trite “Boy, State Farm is dumb” narrative. In this case, I can make the argument that they should be able to size up a case and plaintiffs’ counsel a little bit and tailor their arguments more closely. But I really think State Farm has a business model that it sticks to diligently: if you want our money you better come and get it.
As much as personal injury lawyers and victims might wish it to be so, State Farm is no dummy. I bet they are using this boxing gloves approach because they have decided that it is the best way to maximize profits because too many plaintiffs’ lawyers – who are really settlement lawyers – are going to tolerate it. I can’t hate them for that.
- State Farm’s Issue Preclusion Argument Wins and Loses on Appeal
- Is Calling Someone a State Farm Claims Adjuster an Insult?
- Sane State Farm Adjuster
- State Farm’s Blog
- Advice on Negotiating Car Accident Claims with Each Insurance Company
- Interesting Plaintiff’s Lawyer Tactics in State Farm Bad Faith Claim