Erie: Auto Accident Claims and Settlements
Dealing with this insurer to settle - or taking to trial - motor vehicle cases
The purpose of this page is to give both attorneys and motor vehicle crash victims our thoughts on this insurance company and how to deal with them. Understanding who you are facing is a key in maximizing the value of your case
Erie Insurance has been selling car insurance for 85 years. It is a regional company in approximately 10 states but it has a lot of the car insurance market share in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Bucking the current trend, Erie is trying to keep its insurance agents as a big part of its business although its web presence is increasing. Erie's customers - as opposed to those making a claim against Erie - are apparently largely happy, based on our own anecdotal evidence and the JD Power study of insurance companies.
Settlement with Erie in Car Accident Cases
This insurance company is certainly not the worst draw for victims in personal injury auto accident cases. First, more than the usual suspects, this insurer writes larger insurance policies, at least in Maryland. As a result of so many insurance companies competing for business (because people are price shopping more than ever on the Internet), insurance companies are writing smaller insurance policies in exchange for smaller premiums. Thankfully for everyone, Erie seems to still write pretty decent sized policies.
Like most insurance companies, this insurer is often willing to dramatically increase its settlement offer after a lawsuit has been filed. This is particularly true in Baltimore City or Prince George's County, Maryland's best two jurisdictions for victims. This insurer is often motivated to settle after a lawsuit is filed because it cares, more than most insurance companies it seems, about its litigation costs.
This company relies on Rollins Smalkin in the Baltimore area and McCarthy Wilson throughout much of the rest of Maryland and, more frequently of late, also in Baltimore. (Apparently, McCarthy Wilson has opened a Baltimore office.) These are in-house company employee lawyers. They bill by the hour. Unlike State Farm or Allstate, this insurer keeps this in mind when a lawsuit is filed.
How Does Erie Value Injury Claims for Settlement Purposes?
Erie uses a computer based program, Colossus, to assist in placing an amount of money on an accident claim to compensate the victim. The computer tries to do what computers cannot be trained to do: evaluate how much someone has suffered and had to endure as a direct result of the crash. This is another reason why lawsuits are usually the best path against this insurer. To its credit, Erie looks at claims with a different and less computer driven eye after a lawsuit it filed.
- Example settlements and verdicts our firm and others have had with Erie
Who Are the Lawyers Who Defend Lawsuits Against Erie?
As explained above, Erie does not have in-house counsel, at least not in Maryland or Washington, D.C. The company pays counsel by the hour to defend cases in Maryland.
Is This a Good Insurance Company to Bring a Claim Against?
Erie is not a bad insurance company to have as an adversary relative to many other insurance companies. Of course, we are talking about insurance companies here: the bar is pretty low.
This insurer certainly has its fair share of ridiculous coverage denials. Our lawyers currently have in suit a number of cases against Erie where their pretrial offers are south of ridiculous. Some of these adjusters clearly have no sympathy for the pain, suffering and agony of strangers.
The good news? It puts more money on the table after suit is filed. Our law firm has had cases against this insurer where the value of the claim increased exponentially when we filed a lawsuit. It is fair to say that this insurer - even more then most - takes off the rose colored glasses when punches start getting thrown.
Still, Erie will sometimes surprise us with a reasonable settlement offer before a lawsuit is filed. The take home message: you just don't know in any given case which Erie you will get. It is like a box of chocolates that Forest Gump told us about. You never know what you will get.
Our Lawyers Can Help You with Your Accident Claim Against Erie
We have handled literally hundreds of traffic collision tort cases involving this insurance company and have defeated Erie at trial when their offers have been unreasonable. If you have been seriously hurt in a car accident and you have a question about your claim or wish to file a lawsuit, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free on-line claim evaluation and consultation.
- Sample Erie interrogatories (sample of the types of written questions you can expect)
- Sample Erie interrogatory answers (sample of this insurers' answer to written discovery in an uninsured motorist case)
- Sample Erie expert designation (expert designations in an Erie accident lawsuit)
- Help me find the value of my case.
- Is there a formula?
- Handling Personal Injuries without a lawyer
- I'm a lawyer and I need help (samples of everything and anything a car accident lawyer needs to handle an auto accident suit)
- Good tips for auto accident property damage claims
- Tell the insurance company what you want: letter for compensation by settlement
- Not everyone loves them: complaints against this insurer (that should probably taken with a few grains of salt... people don't write love letters to insurance companies)
- FAQs (questions about motor vehicle tort claims)