After a car accident involving GEICO insurance, you need to have your guard up. GEICO is tough (and real cheap). But don’t worry.
Here, you’ll get valuable information about how to handle a GEICO car accident claim in 2021. You’ll also hear about many of my injury settlements with GEICO from other years.
But that’s not it.
I expose GEICO’s claim secrets. You’ll see confidential documents that a judge forced GEICO to reveal. This tells us exactly how GEICO thinks when it evaluates claims.
Moreover, you’ll learn mistakes to avoid in GEICO car accident cases. Avoiding these mistakes can increase your chances of getting a fair payout.
Here is my video about some of my GEICO car accident settlements:
Here are the most frequently asked questions about GEICO claims and settlements.
In a seven-year period, my average personal injury settlement with GEICO was $60,660. (I’ll explain in detail in a moment.) . I’m referring to personal injury claims. I’m not talking about claims for damage to vehicles.
Below is a graph that shows my percentage of settlements with GEICO for different amounts. It is for the time from 2010 through June 2017.
During this time, my average GEICO car accident settlement is much higher than my average injury settlement with all other car insurers combined.
When calculating my average settlement and settlement amounts with GEICO, I used the total settlement from all insurers in the case. Thus, if GEICO was a bodily injury liability (BIL) auto insurer, and I recovered additional BIL insurance from another insurer, I used the total settlement.
For example, I settled a case with GEICO for $25,000, where another insurer paid an additional $45,000. I used $70,000 as the settlement figure, even though GEICO paid $25,000.)
What’s the reason why my average injury settlement with GEICO has been much higher than my average settlement with all other insurance companies?
The reason is that some of the claimants in these GEICO cases were badly injured. Seriousness of injury is the biggest factor that increases settlement value.
The claimants had surgery in several of these cases.
Most often, the three biggest factors that determine the time that it takes to settle are:
1. Seriousness of the injury
2. BIL insurance limits
3. Amount of property damage to the cars
To get a big car accident settlement with GEICO, the claimant must be badly injured. For example, I represented a driver who was hurt in an accident. Her car was damaged badly in the crash. She had a broken nose and herniated disc. The doctor recommended surgery on her lower back. Before she even scheduled back surgery, I got GEICO to pay me the $100,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance limits. GEICO paid within three months, which is quick.
In states with strong third party bad faith laws, GEICO likely pays quicker if another driver caused your accident (and injury). Since 1995, the average bodily injury liability claim payment has increased much faster in Florida than countrywide. During the same time, the average bodily injury liability claim payment has increased much faster in Florida than in New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania.
The Insurance Research Council says it is because Florida has powerful third party bad faith laws. Bad faith laws put pressure on GEICO to pay the policy limits if the case is worth more than it. If GEICO fails to pay the limit and protect its insured driver, GEICO may be on the hook for the entire judgement (after a verdict).
Thus, GEICO likely pays faster to settle bodily injury claims in Florida than in many other states. However, GEICO is still cheap.
The amount that GEICO will pay you for pain and suffering primarily depends on three factors. First, another driver must have been careless and caused the accident. If you were the only person at fault for the accident, GEICO won’t pay you a penny for your pain and suffering.
Second, you must be injured. As you may imagine, GEICO pays more for pain and suffering if you are badly injured.
Third, the GEICO insurance policy must have bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage, or uninsured motorist (UM) insurance coverage. Without BIL or UM coverage, GEICO won’t pay you for pain and suffering. Unfortunately, some states (like Florida) don’t require most drivers to have any BIL coverage, or UM coverage. Thus, in some accidents, even with a bad injury, GEICO doesn’t owe you compensation for your pain and suffering.
Don’t assume that you don’t have UM coverage on a GEICO Florida auto insurance policy. I’ve gotten GEICO to provide UM coverage even when UM was rejected on the policy!
GEICO pays more for pain and suffering if you have a broken bone. Additionally, GEICO also pays more for pain and suffering if you have surgery. In these two aspects, GEICO is no different than other car insurance companies.
In bigger injury cases, the majority of GEICO’s final settlement offer is often for pain and suffering damages. For example, I settled a broken hand case with GEICO for $125,000. About 97% of this GEICO car accident settlement was for pain and suffering. This means that they paid around $122,400 for pain and suffering.
Here is a photo of my client from this $125K settlement:
Often times, no. For example, I settled a car accident case for $125,000 with GEICO. GEICO’s first offer was $81,000. When negotiating a settlement with GEICO, I know that they make a low first offer.
In this case, there first offer was just 65% of their final offer, $125,000.
I settled another case with GEICO for $100,000. GEICO’s first offer was $4,500. That is only 4.5% of their final offer, $100,000. Most of that GEICO car accident settlement was for pain and suffering. GEICO’s bodily injury liability (BIL) limits were only $100,000.
In another claim, I represented a pedestrian (Doug) who was hit by a car in Miami Beach. GEICO insured the driver. After the accident, Doug completed the form on my website to Get a Free Consultation to see if I could represent him.
We spoke. After we spoke, he signed my fee contract. I became his injury lawyer and we were off to the races.
GEICO’s began negotiating this settlement by making a first offer of only $14,780. However, the case settled for $65,000. All without a lawsuit. As you can see, GEICO’s first offer was to see if I would take the bait. I did not.
Learn when to get an attorney after a car accident. Here is a photo of the damage to my client’s car in the $125,000 GEICO car accident settlement that I mentioned above:
Your policy with GEICO should only go up (increase) if you were at fault in the accident. GEICO will determine fault by looking at the police accident report and by taking witness statements. States (like Florida) have laws that don’t allow car insurance companies to increase your premium if you were not at fault.
If you were at fault for the accident, your insurance policy could go up between 3 and 22 percent after an accident or citation. However, don’t let this stop you from making a claim with GEICO. This is particularly true if you are badly injured. GEICO only has to pay you for pain and suffering if another driver caused your injury.
GEICO adjusters get a profit sharing award if GEICO is profitable. In other words, the more money that GEICO makes, the more GEICO injury adjusters get paid.
Thus, GEICO adjusters have an incentive to pay you less for your personal injury claim.
Below, you’ll see that GEICO’s average profit sharing award was 21% to eligible associates. That was from 2013. However, I still imagine that GEICO offers profit sharing.
Below is a profit sharing memo to one GEICO bodily injury adjuster. This is a GEICO internal document. The document says confidential.
However, the judge said that the document was not confidential.
How did I get this document?
GEICO produced it after Linda Ford sued GEICO for allegedly acting in bad faith in an injury case. That isn’t my case.
Thus, GEICO bodily injury adjusters have a big reason to pay you less! The less they pay the more they pocket.
Let’s look at what GEICO employees actually say. I took the following quote from a Performance Guide & Appraisal of GEICO’s regional claims manager, Gary D. Gertz, in Lakeland, Florida.
For personal development and accomplishments, Gary said:
“Most proud of our trial results w/ [with] 89 cases going to trial. (50 more than we did 3 years ago!)…”
Thus, we know that this GEICO regional claims manager was proud of how many cases went to trial. He was also proud that the number of cases that went to trial had increased by 50.
That quote if from an Exhibit from the lawsuit of Linda Ford as personal representative of the estate of Megan Marty, a deceased Minor v. Government Employees Insurance Co. This isn’t my case.
Ford sued in federal court in North Florida. The case number is 1:14-cv-00180-MW-GRJ. The jury found that GEICO did not act in bad faith in failing to settle Linda Ford’s bodily injury claim against Kristin Spires.
That said, GEICO still settles most of its personal injury claims. You’ll see below that I’ve settled many personal injury claims with GEICO.
You will likely need a fracture and surgery to fix it. Additionally, someone other than you needs to be at fault for causing the crash.
Here is an example of a case where GEICO paid me over $125,000.
A police officer was responding to an emergency call in Miami, Florida. Another driver failed to yield at a stop sign. As a result, the front of the police cruiser struck the other car.
Paramedics arrived to the scene. An ambulance took the police officer to the hospital. Like other insurance companies, GEICO values the case higher if you take an ambulance to the hospital.
At the hospital, x-rays showed that he broke his hand. There, a doctor operated on his hand. Fortunately, the injured police officer hired me shortly after the accident.
We settled his injury claim with GEICO for $125,000.
As with most injury claims, most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
$125K GEICO Car Accident Settlement
Earlier, I mentioned that I settled a car accident case with GEICO for $125,000.
The other driver failed to yield the right of way. Here is a diagram of the accident.
The airbag in my client’s car cut his head.
He did not need stitches.
He also broke a bone in his hand.
You can see the bone that he broke:
In that case, GEICO began negotiating the settlement by making a $81,000 offer.
Here is a comparison between GEICO’s first offer and the final settlement in that case:
Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
As with most GEICO settlements where you have surgery, and there is plenty of BIL insurance, most of the payout was for pain and suffering.
Take a look:
After my lawyer fees, costs, and paying my client’s medical bills and workers’ compensation lien, he got most of the settlement in his pocket.
The final settlement was about 44 times my client’s final out of pocket medical bills and workers’ comp lien.
I was able to use my client’s PIP insurance to pay off most of the workers’ compensation lien.
In other words, the pain and suffering multiplier was 44.
Will GEICO immediately pay you the policy limits if its insured has a $10K policy and you take an ambulance to the hospital?
No, if you only have soft tissue injuries and you were not inpatient (assigned a room at a room) at the hospital. Let me explain.
Assume that you a driving a car in Florida. Maybe you are driving a rental car (or perhaps you are a passenger in a car). Another driver hits you from behind. The car that you are in is badly damaged. You are the only one who is injured.
Paramedics arrive to the scene and take you to the hospital. At the hospital, they take x-rays (or CT scans) of your neck and/or back. The hospital releases you and tells you to follow up with a doctor.
Let’s assume that GEICO insures the other car with $10,000 in bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage. You (or your attorney) contact GEICO to set up a claim or speak with the assigned adjuster. You (or your lawyer) tell the GEICO adjuster all the above facts that I just mentioned.
Will GEICO’s adjuster immediately pay you the $10,000 in BIL coverage?
No, they won’t. GEICO will ask you (or your lawyer) to send them your hospital medical records and bills. However, even if GEICO’s insured (driver) tells the adjuster that you were transported to the hospital by ambulance, don’t expect GEICO to immediately mail you a check for the $10,000 limits.
Later on during the claim, you may get the $10,000 BIL limit. But don’t expect GEICO to immediately pay you the limit with the injuries that I described.
$100K Settlement with GEICO (Car Accident)
Sara was driving her car in North Miami Beach. Another car crashed into her. She said the crash worsened her pre-existing bulging discs and herniated discs.
At the emergency room (ER), she took this selfie:
Sara also broke her nose.
She had car insurance. Florida is a No Fault state. Therefore, her personal injury protection (PIP) paid her doctors $10,000 for her medical bills. Florida is one a few states that has No-Fault insurance.
Sara had injections to her lower back. A neurosurgeon recommended lower back surgery. GEICO insured the driver who crashed into Sara’s SUV.
I sent GEICO a letter letting it know that I represent Sara. Here is a basic version of the letter that I send to find out the GEICO driver’s insurance limits.
I send this letter when I am making a personal injury claim against a driver that GEICO insures. When I make a claim against my client’s uninsured motorist insurance coverage, I send a different letter.
In most cases, I like to make sure that a claim has already been set up with GEICO before sending that letter.
I find that my letter will then get to the correct GEICO representative faster.
I settled her case with GEICO for its insured’s $100,000 bodily injury liability limits.
As you can see, 90% of this GEICO car accident settlement was for pain and suffering:
When GEICO makes you a settlement offer, they do not factor in your attorney fees. That said, an attorney can help you get the most compensation possible by presenting your claim in the light most favorable to you.
The rest of this $100,000 GEICO car accident settlement paid for her out of pocket medical bills and health insurance lien.
After my attorney’s fees, costs, and paying of Sara’s medical bills and health insurance liens, she got over $56,500 in her pocket.
This $100,000 settlement was about 9.85 times the final out of pocket medical bills and amount that I had to pay back her health insurance company.
In other words, the pain and suffering multiplier was 9.85.
Sara was happy with her settlement.
How Long Does it Take for GEICO to Send the Check After You Settle the Claim?
In my past GEICO car accident settlements, they often tell me that they print the check the day of the personal injury settlement. On other occasions, GEICO will print the check the next day.
Then, the check takes 2 to 5 days or so to get to the claimant’s attorney’s office.
Here’s a tip that has helped me get the settlement check faster:
Let’s assume that you are negotiating a settlement with GEICO. Right before you are about to accept GEICO’s car accident settlement offer, tell them that you’ll only agree to settle it if they can send you the check overnight. From my experience, they will agree about 50% to 75% of the time or so.
You’ll then have the check the next day. GEICO is more likely to agree to overnight the check in a bigger case.
In a injury claim with serious injuries and low bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance limits, GEICO often sends an adjuster to personally deliver the check. I’ve had checks hand delivered by Roma Henning and Mabel Oneal.
They are one of the few car insurers who does this. I’ve had an Allstate adjuster hand deliver a settlement check also.
However, I ask GEICO to accept my settlement release so that I can protect my client’s rights. I don’t like using GEICO’s car accident settlement release.
GEICO usually approves my settlement release. That said, GEICO takes a few days or a week or so to approve my release.
$100K Settlement with GEICO (Car Hit Motorcycle Rider)
A 23 year old motorcycle rider was heading south down the street in Miami, Florida. A car was heading in the opposite direction.
The car made a left turn and hit the motorcycle rider.
You can see the damage to the motorcycle’s front tire and rim.
Here is the actual diagram from the Florida traffic crash report:
The motorcycle rider did go to the hospital. He contacted me a few days after his accident. I gave him a free consultation and he hired me.
I gave him the name of a medical group who would treat him for his knee and low back pain. He claimed that this accident caused his herniated disc, meniscus tear and erectile dysfunction.
When negotiating this settlement, GEICO made me a first offer of $5,500.
They even called it a “good faith” offer. It was not. GEICO was not negotiating this claim in good faith. My client case was worth GEICO’s $100,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage.
Therefore, I was not going to start negotiating a settlement with GEICO that was less than the $100,000 bodily injury limits.
So I rejected it GEICO’s offer.
I told them that my client would not take a penny less than the $100,000 bodily injury liability insurance limits.
GEICO offered to go to pre-suit mediation. When negotiating serious injury cases, GEICO may offer pre-suit mediation. I accepted their request.
Eventually, GEICO offered the $100,000 BIL limits at pre-suit mediation. Here is a comparison between GEICO’s first offer and the settlement.
Like most car accident injury settlements with GEICO that involve serious injuries, most of the payout was for pain and suffering.
Specifically, I estimate that about 90% of the settlement amount was for pain and suffering damages.
After my attorney fees, costs and paying my client’s medical bills, he got $56,756 in his pocket.
If my client would’ve had health insurance, he would have likely gotten around $5,000 or more in his pocket.
The $100,000 settlement was about 10.25 the final out of pocket medical bills.
Thus, the pain and suffering multiplier was about 10.25.
Motorcycle accidents tend to lead to bigger settlements than car accidents.
This is because the injuries are often more serious.
GEICO Settles Car Accident Claim for $95K (Driver Hit By Drunk Driver)
A 44-year-old man was driving his car in South Florida. Another car, heading in the opposite direction, crashed head on into him.
According to the police report, the at-fault driver was driving the wrong way. She attempted to make a u-turn in the roadway. While doing so, she struck our client’s vehicle.
GEICO’s began negotiating this claim with a $17,500 settlement offer.
When the police questioned the at fault driver, they realized that she had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash. They conducted a DUI investigation.
The driver who caused the accident was arrested for violation of driving under the influence.
To increase the value of our client’s case, we requested the DUI file from the criminal courthouse.
In any injury case against a drunk driver, you should request the entire DUI criminal file. It can tons of information that may increase the value of your injury case.
The MRI films on my client’s spine showed 2 bulging discs and 2 herniated discs.
We argued that the crash caused or aggravated his herniated discs. He didn’t have steroid injections to his spine. Most of this $95,000 GEICO car accident settlement was for his pain and suffering.
The final $95,000 settlement was for over 5 times GEICO’S the first offer. We settled without a lawsuit.
$65K GEICO Accident Settlement (Pedestrian Hit By Car)
Doug, who lived in California, was on vacation in Miami Beach. While he was walking in a crosswalk, a car hit him. (Getting hit while not walking in a crosswalk is one of many factors that can reduce the value of an injury case.)
As a result of the impact, Doug was thrown onto the car’s hood. You can see the dent:
Police and paramedics arrived at the scene.
Here is the actual Florida crash report diagram:
At the scene, Doug complained of leg pain and other injuries.
At the hospital, a doctor diagnosed Doug with a broken lower leg bone (fibula fracture).
Below is an image of the fibula.
If he would’ve had surgery, his case would’ve been worth over $100,000. I say this based on my settlements for similar leg injuries.
GEICO insured the careless driver who hit the pedestrian
Doug looked for online for an attorney who had many big car accident settlements with GEICO. Basically, he wanted a lawyer who had lots of experience negotiating settlements with GEICO.
After we spoke, he hired me to represent him in his personal injury claim against GEICO.
Next, I sent GEICO a letter asking for the driver’s insurance information. In Florida claims, GEICO is required to give this insurance disclosure information. Florida Statute 627.4137.
GEICO responded in writing stating that the driver had a $300,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) policy.
Pedestrian Didn’t Need a Permanent Injury to Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Unlike most Florida car accident cases, here the pedestrian didn’t need a to meet the tort threshold to get money for pain and suffering. Thus, he didn’t need a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering.
This is because he was a car hit him while he was a pedestrian visiting from another state.
When it came time to pay them from the total settlement, they had to reduce their liens by my attorney’s fees and costs. This is one reason that a Medicare beneficiary should hire an injury lawyer.
California law required Farmers Insurance to reduce its Medpay lien by my attorney’s fees and costs. Lee v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 458, 465-466, 129 Cal.Rptr. 271. This is one unique aspect of a case if someone from California is injured in a Florida accident.
GEICO began negotiating this claim with a $14,780.15 settlement offer. This was a low-ball offer.
When people ask me, “How is GEICO at paying claims”, I say that they are average. One reason why they are just average is because they often start negotiating with a very low offer.
GEICO’s adjuster was Tiffany Hall.
One of the 5 huge mistakes that injury victims make is to always believe what the adjuster tells you your case is worth.
GEICO Finally Settles for $65K (Almost 4.5 Times Its First Offer!)
When I negotiating a settlement with GEICO, I know that their first offer is a lowball.
Ultimately, we settled with GEICO for $65,000. Here is the GEICO car accident settlement check:
This chart shows the comparison between GEICO’s first offer and the $65,000 settlement.
Ultimately, I settled Doug’s case for $65,000.
Medicare, AARP (United Healthcare), Farmers Insurance (med pay) paid the bulk of his medical bills. Thus, he had to pay them back from the settlement.
The good news?
When it came time to pay them back from the total settlement, they all reduced their liens by my attorney’s fees and costs. That is a huge advantage to hiring a lawyer in a car accident claim with GEICO.
After my attorney fees, costs and paying his out of pocket medical bills and liens back, Doug got $35,332 in his pocket.
Therefore, GEICO paid about $57,000 for the pain and suffering associated with his broken leg (fibula fracture).
This is an average settlement amount for pain and suffering for a broken lower leg.
Doug gave my personal injury law firm a 5 star review on Google.
Specifically, he said:
[Attorney] Justin Ziegler did an excellent job handling my auto accident case. He and his senior paralegal, Jenny, kept me abreast on its progress throughout. I give his firm my highest recommendation.
After we settled this car accident injury case for $65,000, Doug mailed this plant to my paralegal (Jenny) as a thank you:
And he went on to say that I was lucky to have Jenny as a paralegal.
Specifically, here is what he said:
I was the one who did the negotiating in this settlement with GEICO.
But my client was very grateful for my paralegal, Jenny.
Did I Use a Settlement Calculator to Determine How Much This Case Was Worth?
If the driver had a better car insurance company, they would’ve likely paid more. For example, I think this settlement would’ve been bigger if the driver had USAA, Nationwide, Lyft (Zurich American Insurance Company) and some others.
Will GEICO deny you PIP benefits if you drive for Uber or Lyft and get into a crash?
The same is true with Lyft accident claims.
Did GEICO Use a Settlement Calculator to Make Their Offers?
I don’t know. GEICO didn’t tell me that it used a settlement software program like Colossus. (Allstate is one insurer that has used and may still use Colossus.)
GEICO Pays $25K of $70K Car Accident Settlement (Lyft Passenger Injured)
Mike (not real name) was a passenger in a Lyft car in Miami Shores, Florida. Another car hit the Lyft vehicle.
The Lyft passenger claimed the crash caused or aggravated his neck, back, wrist and ankle injuries.
GEICO insured the other car, and paid us $25,000.
The rest ($45,000) of the GEICO car accident settlement was paid by Lyft’s underinsured motorist insurance with Zurich Insurance Company.
Here is York’s check:
York Risk Services Group handled the claim for Zurich. I represented the passenger in both injury claims.
Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
This image shows the breakdown of my attorney’s fees, costs, my client’s medical bills, and how much he got in his pocket.
He was very happy with the settlement.
GEICO Pays $47K of $57K Settlement (Shoulder Tear)
Three cars were traveling southbound near Kendall, Dade County, Florida. A car failed to stop in time and ran into the rear of another car.
It pushed the middle car into the front car, which my client was driving. An ambulance came to the scene and treated every person involved.
An ambulance took my client to the hospital. The driver of the Vehicle 1 received a ticket.
My client had shoulder surgery. Another insurance company insured the middle car.
Progressive paid $10,000 to settle the case. GEICO insured the last vehicle.
GEICO paid $47,600 to settle my client’s personal injury claim.
$50K Settlement With GEICO for Hip Fracture
A young driver lost control of his car. He crashed into the guardrail. He suffered a hip fracture. An ambulance took him to the hospital.
Doctors performed surgery on him. Specifically, they put hardware put inside his hip.
He claimed that he was cut off by another car that left the scene. My client received a ticket. After his accident, he began looking for a Miami car accident lawyer.
His mother had purchased $10,000 worth of stacking uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage. She had five vehicles under the policy. Thus, there was $50,000 in uninsured motorist insurance.
We settled for the $50,000 uninsured motorist insurance limits.
GEICO Pays $20K of $39K Settlement (Herniated Disc and Steroid Injections)
My client was driving a pickup truck in Pinecrest, Florida. A car ran a stop sign and crashed into him.
He claimed that the collision caused or worsened his neck, back pain and herniated discs. After the crash, he had steroid injections.
GEICO insured the driver of the car. Amanda Black was the GEICO bodily injury liability (BIL) adjuster.
GEICO Pays $25K (of $35K Settlement) for Scooter Rider Hit by Car
GEICO paid $25,000 towards the settlement. United Automobile Insurance Company (UAIC) paid $10,000. This is my case.
$30K GEICO Car Accident Settlement UM Settlement (Herniated Disc)
A young lady was a passenger in her car in Miami-Dade County, Florida. A drunk driver rear ended her. The damage to her call wasn’t that big.
I settled her personal injury case for $30,000 with GEICO. Most of the settlement was for her pain and suffering. She was thrilled with the payout.
$25K GEICO Car Accident Settlement (Hand Injury)
A passenger in a car hurt his wrist in an accident. GEICO insured the careless driver.
They paid its $25,000 BI limits to settle the passenger’s personal injury case.
GEICO Settles Rear End Crash Claim for $21K
GEICO paid $21,000 to a driver who was hit from behind. He claimed that the accident caused or aggravated his bulging disc.
The crash happened in Coconut Grove, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
$20K GEICO Car Accident Settlement (2019)
In April 2019, Cesar was driving his minivan on his way to his condo in Brickell, Florida. Brickell is near Downtown Miami. Cesar was on the road outside of his condo and was about to enter the driveway.
A driver of a car crashed into the back of Cesar’s van. This impact sent him (and his minivan) into a concrete wall at the entrance. This was a second impact. In sum, this was a heavy impact accident. The van’s airbags deployed.
Here is what Cesar’s minivan looked like after the crash:
The driver of the (other) car got a ticket for careless driving.
Paramedics arrived to the accident scene. They placed him on a backboard and put a C-collar on his neck. They transported Cesar to the hospital. At the hospital, he was placed on a rolling bed. Here is a photo:
Take Photos if Paramedics Put a “C-Collar” on Your Neck
If the paramedics put a cervical collar on your neck, ask someone to take a photo of you. It is best if the photo is taken in landscape view (sideways). This photo is very impactful and may get GEICO to offer you more money for pain and suffering.
Also, if the staff at the hospital puts you in a bed, get someone to take a photo of you. Again, this photo can be very powerful and help get the case settled with GEICO for fair value.
The good news for Cesar’s health?
He did not have any broken bones. Basically, he had soft tissue injuries. He had pain in his knee, neck and back. GEICO insured the car whose driver got a ticket.
After the accident, Cesar searched online for a car accident attorney near Brickell, Florida. My office is in Coral Gables, which is a 20 minute drive from Brickell.
Cesar told me that we were not the #1 or #2 result in Google’s search results for the term that he entered. In fact, before contacting my office, Cesar reached out to the law firms that appeared in the #1 and #2 search results on Google.
When we spoke, he felt that we clicked. He also said that in my videos I give an easy to understand explanation of how GEICO car accident cases are handled. Immediately after we spoke, I sent him my simple electronic fee contract. He hired me.
Cesar received medical treatment for his soft tissue (neck, back and knee) injuries. However, he did not get an MRI of his spine. His orthopedic doctor felt that he did not need an MRI since his back and neck pain pretty much went away.
70% of the Settlement is for Pain and Suffering
Cesar had insurance on his van with United Auto Insurance Company (UAIC). UAIC took his recorded statement (with me also on the phone). Cesar’s personal injury protection (PIP) on his car insurance paid $10,000 to the hospital and his medical providers.
In December 2019, I settled Cesar’s personal injury case with GEICO for $20,000. Take a look at GEICO’s car accident settlement check:
Basically, we settled the case in less than 9 months after the crash.
About 70% of the total settlement was for his pain and suffering. The rest of the settlement was for his medical bills. Take a look:
After my attorneys fees and costs, and paying all of his medical bills, Cesar got over $7,250 in his pocket.
Check it out:
Many people ask: “How does GEICO pay claims?”
Keep in mind that this $20,000 settlement is much higher than GEICO usually pays for soft tissue claims in Florida. Why is it much higher?
For two reasons.
First, Cesar’s van sustained a huge amount of damage. GEICO (like all car insurance companies) pays more money for pain and suffering if your vehicle is badly damaged.
Second, an ambulance took him to the hospital from the accident scene. GEICO (like all car insurance companies) pays more money for pain and suffering if you take an ambulance to the hospital from the accident scene.
Cesar told us that we did a Good job. Above, you can see a photo of him smiling after he came to my office (in Coral Gables) to get his settlement check.
We likely would have gotten a bigger settlement if he would have had an MRI of his neck and/or back. However, the doctor did not feel that this was necessary.
His pain did not shoot down to his arms or legs, and his localized back pain was not severe.
GEICO UIM Insurance Pays $10K (of $20K Settlement)
A lady claimed that a car made an improper lane change and crashed into her SUV in South Florida. As a result of the impact, her SUV rolled over.
$20K Settlement with GEICO for Spine Injuries (Palmetto Bay Car Accident)
A lady was driving a car. A driver crashed into her in Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
She hired me as her attorney.
A CT scan showed a C5-C6 small broad disc bulge more focal centrally where there may be a superimposed small central herniation entering the ventral aspect of the thecal with resulting mild impression upon the ventral surface of the cord.
She had some numbness of her hand mostly in the radial nerve distribution. She claimed that this was a new injury.
The impact was on the left driver side of the car. A neurosurgeon said that she had a questionable fracture on her lower jawbone (mandible) on the CT scan film.
The same doctor noted that her lower back was tender. She was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy, which is a pinched or irritated nerve in the neck causing pain, numbness, or weakness radiating into the chest or arm.
Radiculopathy increases the full value of a case.
The doctor gave her a neck collar to wear. She was told to not work for three days. The doctor prescribed medication (Vicodin) for her pain.
The Liberty Mutual workers comp adjuster told me that they should be entitled to most of the GEICO car accident settlement.
Florida’s workers compensation statute (law) required Liberty Mutual to reduce its lien by our attorney fees and costs.
I also argued that Florida law required Liberty Mutual to reduce its lien significantly, because my client was not made whole.
Liberty Mutual agreed to waive its lien.
$10K Car Accident Settlement with GEICO for Neck and Back Pain (Fort Lauderdale Car Accident)
Watch this video, where my client talks about his injury settlement with GEICO.
On April 22, 2018, Jeremy was in his car and stopped at a light in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A drunk driver hit him.
The drunk driver was driving his mom’s car. GEICO insured the car.
Immediately after the accident, Jeremy had whiplash. My client had neck and back pain. Here is the crash diagram:
This is a photo of my client’s car after the accident:
He had at least one herniated disc in his neck and lower back.
How Long Did it Take GEICO to Send the Settlement Check?
In this injury case, it took GEICO 37 days from the date of accident to print the check. They quickly sent it. GEICO paid us the owner’s $10,000 BIL insurance limits. Here is the actual GEICO car accident settlement check:
You can read more about this $10,000 settlement. You won’t be able to find a GEICO settlement calculator that would’ve told you that this case would settle for $10,000.
Here is a photo of my client and I after the GEICO car accident settlement.
$10K Settlement for Nose Injury from Miami Car Accident
See a case where GEICO paid a driver $10,000 for her nose injury after a careless driver rear ended her on the Palmetto Expressway in Miami.
Bike Rider Gets $10K Settlement from GEICO (Car Runs Him Off Road)
A car ran a bike rider off the road in North Miami, Florida. The bike rider fell off his bike. The car drove off.
I discovered that he had a $10,000 UM insurance policy with GEICO.
If a car runs you off the road and leaves the scene in Florida, then the car is considered “uninsured“. This is true even if the car doesn’t touch you.
GEICO paid us the $10,000 policy limits of my client’s UM Insurance.
GEICO Pays $10K to Settle Tourist’s Soft Tissue Injury Case
My client was visiting Florida from another state. She was driving her car.
Another driver crashed into her. She went to the hospital in Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida.
She later went to a chiropractor for several months in her home state. She had a soft tissue lumber (lower back) strain and sprain. GEICO insured the at fault driver.
GEICO initially offered $500. They then increased their offer to $800. We refused both offers. We later settled with GEICO for $10,000.
This case involved a tourist from another state in the United States. However, I’ve settled many cases for tourists from other countries who are injured in a Florida car accident.
$10K Settlement with GEICO for Small Scar (Car Accident)
A young man was driving a car in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Another car t-boned his car.
The side airbags deployed. The car was a total loss. My client claimed that he was unconscious after the accident. After regaining consciousness, he claimed to be in and out of consciousness.
City of Miami Fire rescue took him in an ambulance to the hospital.
One of his complaints was that he had headaches since the accident.
He had a small cut on his face. A plastic surgeon used stitches to close it. He was left with a small scar.
He went to a hospital near Flagami, which is near West Miami, Fontainebleau and Doral.
GEICO insured the driver who caused this accident. The injured man also had GEICO PIP insurance.
His Personal Injury protection (PIP) insurance paid 80% of his medical bills. It paid 80% of the hospital bill, the plastic surgeon’s $1,755 bill for stitches, the ER doctor’s bill.
Unfortunately, GEICO only insured the careless driver with $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident in bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. Another occupant of my client’s car was badly hurt.
There was also another individual who may have been injured. GEICO’s BIL claim adjuster was Zaharia Brown.
Since there were 3 people who were injured, and 2 of them had bad injuries, GEICO set up a pre-suit mediation. I asked for the mediation to be at my office.
At the mediation, GEICO gave me a $10,000 check for the BIL insurance limits to settle my client’s injury case.
At pre-suit mediation with GEICO, they typically bring their checkbook to the mediation.
GEICO’s PIP adjuster was Lisette Diaz.
$10K GEICO Car Accident Settlement
I settled a personal injury case for $10,000. Immediately after this Florida car accident, he had whiplash. He also had back injuries.
We worked with another law firm on this case.
$5.2K Settlement with GEICO for Back Injury from Car Accident (Coral Gables)
Daniel was driving his car in Coral Gables (near the University of Miami). Marlene was driving another car. She crashed into the back of Daniel’s car.
Police came to the scene. Neither driver reported injuries. The police officer gave Marlene a ticket for careless driving. Here is the diagram from the crash report:
Daniel did not take an ambulance to the hospital. In fact, he didn’t go to the hospital at all.
Within hours after the accident, Daniel was looking for a personal injury attorney with an office near him in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida. He called my law firm and hired us.
We gave him the name of a doctor who treated people with back injuries. (He was claiming a back injury.)
Daniel was insured with GEICO. The PIP coverage on his car insurance policy paid 80% of his medical bills.
We also made a personal injury claim against GEICO (the other driver’s insurance company). We settled with GEICO for $5,200.
Most of the settlement was for his pain and suffering. We were also able to get his out of pocket medical bills reduced.
Here is a photo of Daniel and myself (attorney Justin Ziegler) when he came to my office to get his settlement check:
GEICO Pays Rental Car Driver’s $5K Medpay to Passenger (Car Accident)
Zach lived in West Virginia. He came to vacation in Sarasota, Florida with his mom, sister and his mom’s friend (Jessie).
While in Sarasota, Florida, Jessie rented a car through Thrifty Car Rental.
GEICO insured Jessie’s personal car. (You’ll hear more about GEICO in a moment.)
However, Jessie was driving a rental car. Zach was a back seat passenger.
Jessie crashed into the car in front of them. Zach’s arm struck the seat in front of him.
Zach was a minor (17 years old). ESIS handles Thrifty car accident claims. Zach’s mom tried to get ESIS (Thrifty) to make a settlement offer. However, ESIS did not make an offer.
Zach’s mom contacted me to see if I could represent Zach. However, she was unsure whether I could get her more money than her handling the claim on her own. I told her that I’ve settled several broken arm claims. Additionally, I explained that I’ve settled many cases for out of state visitors who are hurt in a Florida car accident. During our phone call, I discussed how multiple state laws may apply for out of state visitors who are hurt in a Florida car accident.
However, like many people, she wanted to handle the claim herself. She again tried to get ESIS to make her an offer. They still didn’t offer her money.
Finally, his mom hired me to handle Zach’s personal injury claims.
We got working on Zach’s case fast. I made a claim with ESIS. When Jessie rented the Thrifty rental car, he purchased a Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS). The LIS coverage gave him $2 million in liability coverage. Ace American is the actual insurance company.
GEICO insured Jessie’s personal car in West Virginia with $5,000 in Medpay and $100,000 in bodily injury liability insurance. However, the rental car’s insurance was primary to the Jessie’s personal insurance.
After the accident, the rental car looked like this:
There, doctors diagnosed him with a distal humerus fracture. When describing the humerus, “distal” is the upper arm bone that is closest to the elbow. A doctor operated on his arm bone.
Here is a photo of Zach at the hospital in Sarasota, Florida.
GEICO paid its $5,000 Medpay limits to Zach’s medical providers. Again, GEICO was the rental car driver’s personal auto insurance.
We Settled for $170K
I made a personal injury claim with ESIS. We settled with ESIS/Thrifty/Ace American for $170,000.
The actual settlement checks are below:
The checks say Hertz corporation because Thrifty is a subsidiary of Hertz.
Fortunately, Zach’s arm healed very well. In fact, he no longer has pain in his arm. However, he has a scar on his arm. (Scars can be worth a good amount of money.)
Here is his 5 star review of my law firm on Google:
Zach’s mom left this recommended me on my law firm’s Facebook page. Here is what she said:
I found Justin after being in a car accident with my kids in Florida. My then 17 year old son suffered a fractured humerus and needed surgery with permanent hardware.
I tried for the first couple months to deal with the insurance companies on my own and then realized I needed professional help.
That’s when I found Justin and called him up for some advice. From the very first phone call I knew I could trust him. He worked tirelessly to make sure my son received a fair settlement for his injuries. He’s always available to answer your questions and concerns and fights hard so you can relax.
My son just received his settlement and is very happy! We could’ve never done this on our own. If you hire him to represent you, you won’t be disappointed!
GEICO Pays $10K of a $2.1 Million Settlement (Drunk Driver Who Hit a Pedestrian)
This isn’t my case. On May 12, 2011, Guadalupe Carrizales was crossing Judge Winikoff Road near State Road 7 west of Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida. She was taking a morning walk.
A 19 year-old drunk driver struck her.
He allegedly left the accident scene without helping the pedestrian. The pedestrian died. She was survived by four (4) adult children.
GEICO insured the driver.
On May 27, the pedestrian’s son, Manuel, as personal representative of the estate, sued the driver and the owner of the car.
In Florida, the a car owner is responsible up to $100,000 (in most cases) for injury for the at-fault driver’s carelessness.
In addition, he sued the owner under the theory that he shouldn’t have let Falzini drive, since he was allegedly drunk.
The adult children claimed that the defendant driver was driving fast and hit their mother. She was allegedly struck by the speeding Infiniti G35 car with such force that she was dismembered.
The driver allegedly left the scene.
The driver was allegedly found at his home, which was many miles from where the accident happened.
The personal representative (PR) claimed that there was proof that the owner of the car was with the driver before the crash and the owner knew that the driver was drunk before he gave him permission to driver his car.
Toxicology reports allegedly showed that the driver’s blood alcohol level was above the legal amount.
The Driver Insured By GEICO Only Had $10K in BIL Liability Insurance
Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance.
Allstate initially denied coverage on the umbrella policy. That means that they didn’t offer any money from the umbrella coverage.
However, Allstate and GEICO paid the full amount of the policies to settle.
The total settlement against the driver and the car owner was for $2,110,000.
Every wrongful death accident is tragic. No amount of money will compensate the adult children for the loss of their mother. However, the adult children were fortunate that the car owner had such a big insurance policy. Most individuals in Florida do not carry anywhere close to $2.1 million in liability coverage.
The date of the settlement against the driver who caused the accident was on was 8/5/11. The settlement with the car owner was around that time. Allstate and GEICO allegedly paid on the day the settlement was reached.
They settled before trial. The personal representative continued the lawsuit against the hotel and bar for allegedly serving the minor driver.
I am not sure how much the medical bills. I assume that they were very minimal (a few hundred dollars at most for the ambulance bill) as the mother died at the accident scene.
The case is Manuel Carrizales, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Guadalupe Carrizales v Ronald Falzini and David Hanzelik, 2K Clevelander d/b/a The Clevelander, and Miller’s Alehouse, Inc. d/b/a Boca Alehouse. Case No. 502011 CA 007910 XXXXMB.
Drunk Driving Accident Cases are Worth More
Cases where a drunk driver causes an accident are generally worth more than if the driver was sober (not drunk) and just careless.
This is because the adult children can sue the drunk driver for punitive damages. Punitive damages are in addition to compensation for medical bills, and pain and suffering.
I don’t know if the woman was crossing the street in a crosswalk. Juries usually place little, if any, fault on pedestrian’s in a crosswalk. If she was walking across the road and not at a crosswalk, she would probably be partially at fault.
If the pedestrian was partially at fault, the insurance company for the owner of the car and drunk driver would reduce the value of the wrongful death claim by their mother’s percentage of fault.
This verdict shows that an insurance companies may pay $527,750 or more for an adult child’s claim for mental pain and suffering.
Jury Awards $326,468 to Injured Passenger Insured With GEICO Uninsured Motorist Insurance
This is not my case. Valerena Candy was in a three car motor vehicle accident on July 18, 2009.
At the time of the accident, Candy was riding as a passenger in the front seat of a vehicle being driven by Annalise Mannix.
Annalise Mannix’s vehicle came to a stop in a line of traffic, when it was rear ended by a second vehicle that was propelled forward by a third vehicle, which was being driven by Danais Hernandez.
The second vehicle caused minimal damage to Mannix’s vehicle. Further, Danais Hernandez was cited for careless driving as a result of the accident.
Thereafter, she was treated conservatively for chest, neck and low back pain. A chiropractor, Dr. Ross Williams, diagnosed her with cervicalgia. Cervicalgia is neck pain that occurs toward the rear or the side of the cervical (upper) spinal vertebrae.
Candy had lumbar and cervical MRIs, which revealed multi-level disc herniations.
Candy hired a personal injury lawyer.
GEICO’s adjuster stated that:
Although there was approximation, reports were negative for spinal cord compression and nerve root impingement.
This means that according to GEICO, Candy didn’t have spinal cord compression and nerve root impingement. GEICO’s letter implied that if Candy would have had spinal cord compression and nerve root impingement, they would have offered more to settle.
Candy also treated with Dr. Robert Cantana, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon. His video deposition was played at trial.
She had two cervical epidural steroid injections.
Around June 22, 2010, Candy Valerena sued GEICO in Key West, Monroe County, Florida. She filed a civil remedy notice of insurer violation against GEICO.
An injured person usually files a civil remedy in an uninsured motorist (UM) insurance case so that the he or she isn’t limited to the UM insurance limits if a jury awards more than the the limits.
On October 28, 2010, GEICO offered $20,233.54 to settle Candy’s uninsured motorist insurance claim.
She Had Neck Surgery
On March 2012, she had neck surgery to repair injuries allegedly caused by the accident. Specifically, she underwent a diskectomy and spinal fusion at the C5-C6 and C6-C7 with interior plating inner body grafts.
This was done by Dr. Kalman Blumberg, a spinal surgeon, at Florida Spine Specialists. Dr. Blumberg’s video deposition was played at trial.
GEICO’s attorney hired an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Rafael Fernandez, to give his opinion on Candy’s injuries. Dr. Fernandez’ opinion was that Candy’s injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the accident.
Side note: Dr. Fernandez was a workers’ compensation doctor who did shoulder surgery on a client of mine whose case I settled for $210,000. In my case, when I spoke with Dr. Fernandez, his opinion was that the shoulder surgery wasn’t related to the rear end crash.
Back to this case…
GEICO hired a biomechanical engineer who said that the delta force of the Honda was only 4.3 miles per hour in the crash. Therefore, he said that Candy could not have been injured in the crash with such a low impact.
GEICO used its in house Miami lawyers to defend the case. However, 5 days before trial, they brought in outside counsel (attorneys) to defend GEICO at trial. This costs GEICO more money because they likely had to pay the outside counsel by the hour.
57% of the Total Verdict Was for Pain and Suffering
On April 11, 2013, at trial a jury awarded her $326,468. Candy was 51 at the time of trial.
They gave her $141,408 in past medical expenses. However, in Florida the injured person cannot recover the billed charges if insurance paid at a lower rate.
Candy received $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in Medpay Benefits. Thus, GEICO was entitled to a $20,000 credit for PIP and Medpay.
Also, she had health insurance that paid a good amount of her medical bills. Since her health insurance company had a contract with some of her medical providers, GEICO was entitled to a credit for the discounts. Thus, GEICO got a credit of $55,299.81 for her health insurance discounts.
Basically, GEICO only owed Candy $66,108 for her past medical bills after GEICO got its credits for her PIP, Medpay and health insurance discounts.
Apparently, Candy also settled with Progressive for $7,000. I don’t know who Progressive insured in this case.
After all of the credits (setoffs), the $326,468 verdict was reduced to $244,108.19. Thus, the case value was 1.7 times the total medical billed charges.
Case Was Worth 3.8 Times the Medical Bills that GEICO Owed
The case value was 3.8 times the amount of medical bills that GEICO owed.
Candy did not ask the jury to award her future medical expenses.
$77,700 was for past pain and suffering. $107,300 was for future pain and suffering.
Again, the total judgment was for $244,108.19.
Candy only had $50,000 in uninsured motorist insurance with GEICO. However, her verdict against GEICO was for way above the $50,000 limits.
Next, she sued GEICO in federal court for failing to pay the $50,000 UM limits when it could and should have.
The bad news?
The jury for the bad faith case found that GEICO did not act in bad faith. Thus, Candy’s payout was capped at $50,000. In addition, she recovered her court costs of $12,042.47.
GEICO Sends PIP Check to Us After Pedestrian’s Personal Injury Case Settles With Driver
Liberty Mutual paid about $2,000 of the pedestrian’s medical bills, and lost wages.
We negotiated with Liberty Mutual, and they accepted $553 to pay off their workers comp lien of about $2,000. I paid Liberty Mutual from the personal injury settlement.
The next step was to get my client reimbursed for the $553. GEICO insured a car that the pedestrian owned. GEICO’s PIP adjuster was Maegan Thompson.
I asked GEICO to use the pedestrian’s PIP to pay us back for the $553 that we paid to Liberty Mutual.
GEICO refused. They argued that since the pedestrian’s PIP deductible was $1,000, GEICO didn’t owe any PIP benefits for the first $1,000.
I told GEICO that GEICO’s deductible argument was wrong since the original workers comp lien was $2,000.
GEICO denied my request. I then sent GEICO a copy of a Florida case that says that GEICO’s argument was wrong.
GEICO then sent us a check for the $1,068.55. This amount covered the workers comp lien that I paid.
It also covered the pedestrian’s first 7 days of lost wages that workers comp didn’t pay.
$900K UM Verdict Against GEICO for Neck Surgery (Removing and Replacing Facet)
This isn’t my case. On July 27, 2007, Cadle was injured in an automobile accident on I-95, when she was rear-ended by Derek Friend.
Following the accident, Cadle consulted her primary-care physician, who prescribed three weeks of physical therapy, which did not alleviate Cadle’s pain.
Between August 2007 and June 2008, Cadle had ten facet or nerve blocks, which required anesthesia. None effectively managed her pain.
Cadle had a pre-existing-neck injury that had required surgery in France in 1989, but she had been doing well prior to the July 27, 2007, automobile accident.
On December 15, 2009, Cadle had surgery, because of the pain she had continued to experience.
The surgery consisted of opening the front of her neck, removing the twenty-year-old facet from her prior surgery. Then, they replaced it a larger facet to stabilize her neck.
Cadle returned to work on January 4, 2010, with a neck collar and bone stimulator.
GEICO offered the $75K UM Insurance Limits Once It Learned She Had Surgery
GEICO noted, when it became aware Cadle underwent a surgery, it tendered the $75,000 policy limits, which were rejected.
In her uninsured motorist (UM) insurance trial against GEICO, the jury found Cadle had sustained a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability as a result of the July 27, 2007, accident and awarded her a verdict of $900,000.
The judge reduced the judgment to $816,636.31, after applying set-offs for collateral sources and the prior bodily injury settlement. (In a UM insurance claim against GEICO, they get a credit against your settlement with the at fault driver. GEICO also gets a credit against PIP insurance benefits that were paid.)
Cadle’s attorney claimed that GEICO acted in bad faith by not tendering the $75,000 uninsured motorist (UM) insurance limits much sooner.
Claimant Needs To Send GEICO a CRN (If She Wants Above the UM Insurance Limits)
In a UM case against GEICO, how can you get more than the UM policy limit?
First, your UM case needs to be worth more than the UM limit. Second, you must send GEICO a CRN if you want GEICO to pay you more than the UM policy limits. Then, GEICO then has 60 days to pay the policy limits.
If they pay the UM limit, your UM case against GEICO is over. You have to accept the UM limits.
But what happens if GEICO fails to pay within 60 days, and you go to trial and get a verdict (and judgment) for more than the UM limit at trial?
In this instance, GEICO may owe you the full amount of the verdict. In other words, they may not be limited to owing you just the UM policy limits.
The appeals court found that GEICO didn’t act in bad faith because at the time when her Civil Remedy Notice (“CRN”) under Florida Statutes §624.155 expired, she failed to show a permanent injury for pain and suffering damages.
However, in this case, GEICO only was aware that Cadle’s attorney said that medical bills were above $50,000 and increasing. Thus, Her bills were less than the $75,000 limits.
Make sure that you have shown that your uninsured motorist (UM) insurance case is worth more than the UM policy limits before the CRN 60 day period expires.
GEICO Refuses to Settle Injury Claim for $50K (Victim Gets $243K Verdict)
This isn’t my case. In Government Employees Insurance Company v. Macedo, Fla: Supreme Court 2017, the court said that GEICO must pay the injured claimant’s costs and attorney’s fees awarded against GEICO’s insured after GEICO failed to settle.
Zackery Lombardo’s automobile insurance with GEICO provided bodily injury liability coverage for up to $100,000 per person. The policy also gave GEICO the sole authority to settle any claim or lawsuit.
Alysia Macedo sued Lombardo for damages resulting from bodily injuries she sustained in an April 2012 automobile collision with Lombardo. On May 1, 2014, Macedo served Lombardo with a proposal for settlement for $50,000, which was not accepted.
The case went to trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Macedo in the amount of $243,954.55.
Here, GEICO was authorized to settle the case. GEICO could have settled for half of the policy limit.
It chose not to. A jury returned a verdict in Ms. Macedo’s favor, awarding more than four times the amount of the offer.
I don’t know whether GEICO should have settled the case for $50,000 when it received the offer to settle. I say this because I don’t know what Macedo’s injuries were at the time she made the offer to settle with GEICO.
If GEICO should’ve paid the $50,000 when it received the offer to settle, this case is another example of GEICO being a below average bodily injury insurer.
Will GEICO Pay You More Money if Your Doctor Mentions the Cost of Your Surgery?
Maybe. In Gonzalez v. GEICO General Insurance Company, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2016, Lisa Anderson was injured in an automobile accident. This isn’t my case.
GEICO insured a driver, Ramjohn, who was at fault for the accident.
An MRI said that Anderson she had a L5-S1 large left paracentral disc herniation with an annular tear impinging on the left descending sacral nerve roots with edema at the endplates of L5-S1. She had other injuries as well.
Her orthopedic doctor’s Final Evaluation said that she had a permanent impairment. Her attorney sent this evaluation to GEICO.
GEICO insured Ramjohn with $100,000 per person bodily injury (“BI”) coverage. Anderson’s attorney demanded the $100,000 limits.
GEICO offered $2,581.16. Anderson’s attorney sent additional medical records, which stated that if Anderson chose to have surgery for an L5-S1 microendoscopic discectomy, the estimated costs for the surgeon’s services would be $24,000. Facility fees or anesthesiologist charges were extra.
GEICO Increased The Claim Reserves Once It Learned of Surgery Cost
Upon receipt of this information, Carl Tims, GEICO’s regional liability director, increased GEICO’s reserves on the Anderson claim to $100,000. (Reserves represent the dollar amount that GEICO can reasonably expect to pay for complete settlement of a claim, including anticipated expenses.)
On December 9, 2009, Anderson’s attorney informed GEICO that Anderson’s surgery was scheduled for the next day. The letter enclosed the surgeon’s notes on Anderson’s evaluation.
The notes said that Anderson wished to undergo minimally invasive microendoscopic diskectomy with the understanding that she would need additional surgery in the future in the form of L5-S1 fusion or artificial disk replacements.
GEICO Increased Its Offer After Learning She Would Have Surgery
Based on this additional information, GEICO increased its car accident settlement offer to $22,500. The record reflects that, although GEICO believed $22,500 was a “fair value based upon other settlements,” no witness in this case has an independent recollection as to how GEICO arrived at the $22,500 number.
It was only until almost four months after the surgery, when GEICO offered to pay the $100,000 policy limits. This offer was not accepted.
At a jury trial, Anderson won and got a final judgment of $398,097.82. Anderson’s bad faith expert, Peter Knowe, said:
As soon as you have a herniated disc on a woman of this age, that in and of itself verifies for insurance professionals that this claim is always worth in excess of a hundred thousand dollars. Her subsequent care and treatment may tend to increase that number as we go forward, but it never gets less than that.
Knowe also said that Geico’s offers of $2,581.16, on November 12, and $2,928.56, on November 19, 2009, which allocated nothing for future medical expenses and only $500 for pain and suffering damages were unreasonable “lowball offers“. He said that they were way off from the insurance industry custom and practice.
GEICO Admits Its First Offer Was At the Bottom End
GEICO admitted that the initial offer was at the “bottom end of the negotiation range.” Gary Gertz was GEICO’s former regional claim manager for the continuing unit that handled Anderson’s claim. He testified that GEICO should “hold the line” and refuse to settle whenever GEICO believed it had any “rational basis” for its lower valuation of a liability claim.
Gertz explained that paying more on one claim “simply because an attorney asked for it” could “set the value of the next 100, 1,000, 5,000 claims” higher. According to Gertz, even where GEICO’s “evaluation” of a claim was only a “couple of grand” less than the claimant’s settlement offer, GEICO would force the injured claimant’s attorney to file a lawsuit against GEICO’s insured, without regard for the exposure its insured faced.
Gertz believed his unit of claim managers and adjusters should encourage more cases to go to trial to “send a very strong and clear message to the claimant’s attorneys about [GEICO’s] attitude and [GEICO’s] capabilities.”
Knowe said that GEICO’s practice of considering average loss payments in its evaluation of its claim-handling employees’ performance goes against industry standards because it “puts pressure on the adjusters to artificially create a lower average loss payment as a result of underpaying claims.”
Evidence Suggested that GEICO Didn’t Reasonably Evaluate Anderson’s Claim
The judge said that a jury could find that GEICO did not handle Anderson’s claim with the same degree of care and diligence that GEICO would have used to handle its own affairs. As I mentioned earlier, Anderson won her personal injury case. After the bad faith trial, GEICO paid the judgment in full, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
GEICO Quickly Pays $10K to Pedestrians Hit by Car After They Sue
This isn’t my case. On December 22, 2005, Blanchard, while operating a motor vehicle covered under the Geico policy, struck pedestrians, Edelmida and Paulino Rodriguez. They sued for personal injuries.
The car accident happened near the intersection of SW 72nd Street and SW 97th Avenue in Miami. The Geico policy provided liability limits to Blanchard in the amounts of $10,000 for each claimant.
Geico immediately paid its $10,000 policy limits to each injured victim. The case is Geico General Insurance Co. v. Rodriguez, 155 So.3d 1163 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014).
The injured victims’ attorneys were from Weston, Florida and Miami. GEICO’s attorney was from Miami.
My thoughts: I think that the injured victims’ attorney may have sued GEICO for allegedly acting in bad faith.
GEICO Offers $10K To Crash Victim for Surgery; He Rejects Offer
He also filed a Civil Remedy Notice (“CRN”) as authorized by section 624.155, claiming that he sustained serious and permanent injuries exceeding his UM policy limits.
GEICO answered the lawsuit and responded to the CRN, stating that based on its investigation, which included a review of his medical records, it would not offer policy limits.
After learning he had undergone surgery several years later, GEICO offered the $10,000 policy limits.
He did not accept the offer. I don’t know the final outcome. The case is GEICO Casualty Company v. Barber, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2014.
PR of Estate and Spouse Claim GEICO failed to pay an agreed $100,000 policy limits settlement
Ms. Lepine claimed that GEICO, as agent for its insured, Mr. Taylor, agreed to pay policy limits of $100,000 to Ms. Lepine.
The appeals court ruled that Ms. Lepine could not sue GEICO as a defendant until she obtains either a judgment against or a settlement with Mr. Taylor, GEICO’s insured.
Can a Ticket Be Used in an Injury Case to Show Who Caused the Accident?
Generally, no. A Florida appeals court said that jurors:
should not be informed of the investigating officer’s determination of who caused the accident and who was cited. Galgano v. Buchanan, 783 So.2d 302, 304 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)
In addition, in a personal injury case, questions to a driver or a witness, asked by one of the drivers, about whether traffic citations were issued is not allowed.
However, if one driver caused death or serious bodily injury to another driver, then an in person guilty plea to the ticket may be used in the personal injury case if two conditions are met.
“In person” means that the the driver appeared to the traffic court. If the ticket was paid via the mail-in procedure of section 318.14(4), this isn’t enough for the guilty plea to be used in the injury case.
Additionally, the “serious injury” standard to use a guilty plea is high. Section 316.1933(1) involves a blood test for impairment or intoxication in cases of death or serious bodily injury. It defines “serious bodily injury” as:
an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Which Injuries Aren’t Considered “Serious Bodily Injury” for Purposes of Using a Guilty Plea on the Ticket Against the Other Driver?
For purposes of using a traffic court guilty plea in an injury case, courts have said that many injuries aren’t considered a “serious bodily injury.” For example, these injuries didn’t amount to “serious bodily injury”:
- a broken leg which resulted in a 5% permanent impairment (Galgano v. Buchanan, 783 So.2d 302, 304 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)
- the only injury resulting from the accident were two fractured ankles, from which she fully recovered (State v. Schreiber, 835 So.2d 344 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003)
Which Injuries Are Considered “Serious Bodily Injury” for Purposes of Using a Guilty Plea on the Ticket Against the Other Driver?
On the other hand, for purposes of using a traffic court guilty plea in an injury case, Florida courts found these injuries to be “serious bodily injury”:
- Child was airlifted from the scene for concerns about possible serious head or internal injuries. State v. Catt, 839 So.2d 757, 759 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003)
- Where a car accident victim suffered a broken back it was considered a “serious bodily injury”. Gerlitz v. State, 725 So.2d 393, 395 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998)
- Accident victim was screaming, holding her side and had trouble breathing. Her automobile suffered extensive damage. She was removed from it by the “jaws of life”, placed on a back board with a neck brace, and taken from the scene in an ambulance. Paramedics told the officer that the victim had possible internal injuries. State v. Cesaretti, 632 So.2d 1105 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994)
There are many other cases that talk about what a “serious bodily injury” is [for purposes of being able to use a traffic ticket in a personal injury case]. I just listed a few.
The “serious bodily injury” standard is higher than Florida’s tort threshold in personal injury claims.
Will an At Fault Driver With Low Limits Have An Umbrella Policy?
Let’s assume that the at fault driver’s (who GEICO insures) BIL insurance limits aren’t enough to pay for the fair value of the injured person’s case.
We’ll assume that there aren’t any other parties to sue, and the injured person doesn’t have UM insurance.
How do you know if the at-fault driver (who GEICO insures) will have an umbrella insurance policy?
I recently heard a GEICO sales agent say that GEICO doesn’t sell umbrella policies unless their insured has a $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident (or higher) BIL insurance on their car.
Therefore, if the at fault driver has limits that are lower than $250,000 per person, don’t expect the at fault driver to have an umbrella insurance policy with GEICO. Perhaps they have umbrella insurance from another insurer.
On the other hand, if the at fault driver – who GEICO insures – has $250,000 per person BIL insurance limits or higher, there is a greater likelihood that he or she has an umbrella policy.
Umbrella policies help pay for the injured person’s injuries if they are major. Major injuries include a:
- Burst fracture that results in a 2 level (or more) spinal fusion
- Compression fracture with a long hospital stay
- Leg fracture – like a tibial plateau fracture – with surgery
- Broken leg with multiple surgeries
- Loss of eyesight
- A hip fracture or upper leg (femur fracture) with surgery
- Skull fracture that requires surgery
How Long Do You Have to Sue a Driver (Insured by GEICO) for Your Injury?
In Florida, you have generally have four (4) years to sue a driver insured by GEICO for negligence.
If GEICO is your uninsured motorist (UM) insurer in Florida, then you have 5 years to sue GEICO for UM benefits.
If your family member is killed due to a driver’s negligence, there are two time limits that affect Florida wrongful death cases. Most wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years after the cause of action starts. Fla. Stat 95.11(4)(d).
Thus, in most cases, a family member will have 2 years (after the death) to sue a driver (insured by GEICO) for wrongful death.
However, if the decedent dies after expiration of the 4 year time period applicable to negligence and a lawsuit has not been filed before the death, then a wrongful death lawsuit based on negligence is not allowed. Ash v. Stella, 457 So. 2d 1377 (Fla. 1984).
If the decedent dies within the 4 year deadline for negligence, the wrongful death lawsuit will be allowed so long as it is filed within the two year deadline that apply to wrongful death lawsuits. Pait v. Ford Motor Co., 515 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. 1987).
Thus, you (or your attorney) need to look at the 4 year deadline that applies to the negligence to see if the death occurred during that applicable time period. If the death happened within that time limit, then the deadline applicable to the wrongful death lawsuit will have to be complied with.
One Florida appeals court has held that the 5 year time period applies to filing a wrongful death lawsuit for uninsured motorist insurance benefits. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. v. Mason, 210 So.2d 474
The loss of a loved one is tragic. This is especially true when the death is due to wrongful death. However, you don’t want to miss the wrongful death deadline and forever lose your claim. This is especially true when the settlement value of wrongful death cases is often large.
- Settlements for a child whose parent is killed due to negligence
- Claims and Settlements for a parent whose child is killed due to negligence
- Settlements for someone whose spouse (husband or wife) is killed due to negligence
Is an Uber passenger’s case better if another driver who GEICO insures is at fault, or if the Uber driver is at fault?
A badly injured passenger’s case is usually much better if the Uber driver is at fault, as opposed to the other driver (who GEICO insures) being at fault. The same is true for Lyft passengers. This is because the passenger can make a claim against Uber or Lyft’s $1 million liability policy.
On the other hand, if the driver (who GEICO insures) is at fault, he or she may have no bodily injury liability coverage. This could result in the Uber or Lyft passenger not being able to get compensation. This is because Uber and Lyft don’t have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
Hopefully, the passenger has a personal auto policy with UM coverage. Alternatively, the passenger can make a uninsured motorist claim under a relative’s UM coverage who the passenger lives with.
Which GEICO injury liability adjusters have I dealt with?
Over the past 14 years, I’ve dealt with and/or settled accident claims with many GEICO injury adjusters. Most GEICO adjusters are friendly. On a couple of occasions, GEICO adjusters have been unpleasant. However, I will not say anything bad about those adjusters.
Next to some of the adjusters names below, I say that they were very nice. This doesn’t mean that the other GEICO adjusters weren’t nice. It just means that these adjusters were exceptionally nice. GEICO should be proud of them.
Some of the GEICO adjusters who I’ve dealt with and/or settled a Florida car accident case with are:
BI/UM Liability Adjusters
- Denise Araiza ($100,000 Settlement)
Francisco Cruz Herrera
Dave Hynes ($95,000 Settlement)
Tiffany Hall (Very nice; former BIL adjuster, now GEICO claims manager)
Roma Henning (Field adjuster)
Diego Meza Huerto (Very nice)
Diana Macias (Very nice)
Mabel Oneal (field adjuster) ($125,000 Settlement)
Lynn Rijken ($47,600 Settlement. Also settled with another, insurer, Progressive for $10,000. Lynn is now with State Farm Insurance.)
- Holly Scarangella
- Nathan “Nate” Swanson (Uninsured motorist insurance adjuster)
GEICO PIP Adjusters
- Andrew Pitts
- Debi Skelton
- Monique Summers
- Many more
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