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May 30th, 2022

Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement with GEICO

It’s never a good idea to negotiate a car accident claim when you have severe injuries, especially with GEICO. You’ll probably get an offer that’s a fraction of your case’s worth. Generally, the company only gets serious after a lawsuit’s filed. That’s not something you want to handle yourself.

Their approach is to aggressively push for settling car accident claims for as little as possible and resolve cases for far less than they’re worth. GEICO’s not unique in this way of doing business. There are thousands of insurers in the US, and they all want to be as profitable as possible. That means getting as much in premiums as they can and cutting costs, including claims payments.

The company’s claims adjusters usually are friendly and professional. They’re not the problem. Their tactics are. Though they’re personable, they won’t do you any favors, especially if a lawsuit hasn’t been filed. They want you to settle for as little as possible, as quickly as possible, so there’s one less file to work on.

Unlike some other companies, GEICO doesn’t appear to use a formula to determine your damages (the measure of your harm in dollars). The nature and severity of your injury, along with its impact on your life and the strength of the evidence showing the other driver’s at fault, are the basis of your case’s value. 

Follow the Bouncing Balls

Math and vocabulary must be explained before discussing case settlement. Think about this as a line with four dots on it. 

  • The first is GEICO’s initial offer to settle your claim and stays the same
  • The next is the adjuster’s settlement authority. It’s the settlement limit management gives the adjuster or attorney working on the case. The initial offer is probably a small part of the authority. After a lawsuit’s filed, in most cases, this figure rises. A new adjuster may be assigned the case and look at your file differently. Another factor is an attorney will be given your case. They’re usually reasonable to work with and can push to increase settlement authority to end the case
  • The third dot is what you’re willing to accept to settle your case and withdraw your legal claims. It may start at a lower number, increase over time, and may go down if a reasonable settlement is offered. It may be less than or the same as the settlement authority
  • The last dot is what your case is worth. It represents all your damages plus consideration of your case’s strengths (making it more likely to succeed) and weaknesses (they may weaken your claim or reduce your damages). It generally stays the same unless new evidence increases or decreases the value

Unless you have an airtight case and the evidence of the other driver’s fault and your damages are crystal clear, it should be less than your case’s value. If you demand what the insurance company might lose at trial, there’s no incentive to settle.

How Does GEICO Approach Trials?

Whether GEICO or another insurance company is willing to take your case to trial not only depends on the fact the two parties can’t agree to a settlement. Their offer may be limited because they believe you can’t bear the burden of proving their insured was more negligent than you were. If you can’t prove the policyholder is, more likely than not, liable and legally bound to compensate you, your case will be dismissed.

If GEICO agrees that the insured is responsible for the accident, but the disagreement is over your damages, the company will probably do what’s needed to settle the case and prevent a trial. An exception to this could be a case where there’s not much harm to the vehicles, but you’re claiming substantial injuries, perhaps due to soft tissue injuries. GEICO may feel you’re engaging in fraud and inflating your case’s value.

Protect Your Legal Rights and Hire a Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. Lawyer

Not retaining the right attorney for your case can be a huge mistake, especially if your injuries significantly impact your personal and financial situation now and in the future.

Call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P if you need a Houston personal injury lawyer with years of trial experience with the regional court system. We have helped many people like you obtain settlements and judgments compensating them for their injuries. Contact our legal team today to schedule a free consultation. We can talk about your accident, how Texas law may apply, and how we can help you and your family.


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