The purpose of this page is to help you understand the settlement value of your case against GEICO and to give you weapons to maximize the settlement value of your claim. Learn the secrets they don't want you to know and get the most money you possibly can out of your claim. This page is focused on claims against GEICO in Baltimore, Maryland and the surrounding area. But most of what you will learn will apply in any state in the country. This page was last updated in January 2021.
GEICO is a difficult insurance company to deal with. If you have not figured that out yet, you will. If you are trying to maximize the settlement value of your personal injury claim in Maryland, you want to have every weapon you can to understand the true value of your case. Will GEICO try to pay you less than the value of your car accident claim? They absolutely will. So, you have to be prepared for battle in personal injury cases. This page can be a resource to help you better understand how GEICO values and defends accident claims.
What you need to know about GEICO is that this insurer softens up the deeper you get into the process. GEICO rarely offers a fair settlement offer before trial.
If you have a claim against GEICO or a GEICO insured in Maryland or Washington, D.C., call us at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or fill out this free case review form today.
Are you here with specific questions about your GEICO claim? Our lawyers have created shortcuts if you have a particular topic of interest:
GEICO does not have a standard formula that they use to calculate damages. The starting point of understanding the value of your case against GEICO has nothing to do with GEICO. It starts with your injury. The nature and severity of your injury will dictate the potential value of your claim with GEICO. We provide statistics and sample cases based on your type of injury. Read what our personal injury lawyers have written about the value of auto accident cases here.
How Much Should You Expect For GEICO's First Settlement Offer?
Elsewhere on this website, we offer information about the settlement value of car and truck accident claims and provide examples of settlements and verdicts that our firm and other lawyers have had in cases against GEICO. But those are "end of the day" answers. Many victims want to figure out something far more immediate: how much of a first settlement offer can I expect from GEICO?
GEICO's tends to make extremely low first settlement offers. At Miller & Zois, we went through some old files to try to give victims an idea of how much money GEICO offered compared to the client's medical expenses. We pulled some random first settlement offers in car accident cases along with the amount of the client's medical bills to give you some idea of what you might be able to expect. We do not think this kind of data is available anywhere else. We have looked everywhere ourselves to find something similar.
Remember, these are first settlement offers and the amount of claimed medical bills.
|First Offer||Amount of Medical Bills|
*Indicates policy limits offerWhat Does This Data Tell Us?
First, let's talk about what our attorneys have done here. We have pulled cases largely at random of auto accident cases that Miller & Zois has had with GEICO in recent years. Our lawyers are not providing in this chart any relevant facts about the type of injury, the crash itself, lost wages, or other factors—almost every vital fact you would want to know about the case to properly value it and what a reasonable payout would be.
So why do these statistics have any meaning at all? Well, when you throw out the outliers, GEICO has a pretty predictable pain and suffering calculator. GEICO's initial settlement offers are usually no more than 20% of the total medical expenses. In many cases GEICO's initial lowball offer is even less than the claimed medical expenses in the case. The GEICO insurance adjuster's first offer generally falls into one of three categories:
- Crazy low
- The definition of bad faith
When you consider this data on GEICO's initial settlement offers in conjunction with sample verdicts and settlements in similar cases, you might be able to pin down a potential value range for your case. But keep in mind how impossible it is to conclude anything based on this evidence alone as to the actual value of your case. There are too many variables involved to place a settlement value on a car accident claim in Maryland. But it tells you something about the value of your case in relative terms.Filing a Lawsuit in GEICO Insurance Claims
You need to file a lawsuit against GEICO's insured if you want to get a fair, reasonable settlement offer from them on an accident claim. Every claims adjuster is going to blink a bit when a suit is filed. A GEICO adjuster blinks even more than most. GEICO usually changes insurance adjusters when a lawsuit is filed, and the new adjuster promptly throws the old one under the bus and says the claim was undervalued. Settlement offers from GEICO tend to increase dramatically after a lawsuit is filed. We would prefer to file suit in almost all of our GEICO accident cases involving significant injuries. We don't file suit in every GEICO case because some of our clients simply do not want to go down the litigation route.
Despite their tendency to undervalue claims, GEICO is not some evil empire. In fact, GEICO claim adjusters are very pleasant and particularly easy to work with in terms of their disposition and willingness to promptly return calls as far as insurance companies go. Really, we only disagree with the company on one issue: the value of personal injury cases in the Baltimore/Washington area.
The value of an injury case is what motor vehicle accident claims are all about. The civil justice system is about giving money to compensate victims for the harm that is done to them. Our job is to fight for our clients to get as much money in their pocket as humanly possible. More often than not, if the client's goal is to get every last penny they are entitled to get, then a lawsuit is the most sensible option.
Our lawyers have won literally millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts against GEICO. If you need someone on your side who knows how to fight this insurance company and win, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.Settlements and Verdicts Against GEICO
There is also some value in looking at other cases against GEICO. Below are a small sampling of Miller & Zois cases involving GEICO. These results are not necessarily reflective of the value of your claim against a GEICO insured. There are too many variables at play when looking at the value of a car accident case to fit in a summary of the case. Still, we think these stories are informative to help you better understand the value of injury claims against GEICO insurance company:
- Maryland 2020: $180,000 Settlement. Our client is heading eastbound on Norbeck Road in Montgomery County. A Dodge Ram pick-up truck traveling westbound erratically veers off on the shoulder and then crosses the center line. He hits our client head-on. The property damages is lighter than you would expect. But our client suffers a Lisfranc fracture, a foot injury our law firm has seen many times. The police report suggests the erratic behavior might be the result of drinking while driving. Our lawyers file suit in most claims against GEICO like this. But we able to settle this case out-of-court without filing a lawsuit with an insurance adjuster working at home during the COVID-19 quarantine.
- Maryland 2019: $300,000 Settlement. Our client was heading home and sitting on the ramp to merge onto University Boulevard from Route 495 in Montgomery County. She was hit in the rear while patiently waiting for a break in traffic. She did not seem very hurt at first but she still drove herself to the emergency room. She was ultimately diagnosed with a disc injury in her back and had anterior lumbar fusion surgery. GEICO made a lousy settlement offer, which was partially understandable because the injury was preexisting. But we marshaled our medical experts and pain and suffering witnesses and convinced GEICO to settle the case for $300,000 at a mediation.
- Maryland, 2019: $200,000 Settlement Our client is rear-ended in a car accident in Prince George's County. The property damage is not significant, and he does not have any injuries that he considers to be serious at the time. But the injuries do not resolve. We demand $55,000—our client is not looking for that much. Allstate offers $17,076.68 which really was not a good faith offer. Our firm files suit in Circuit Court against Allstate and also against GEICO for underinsured motorist coverage. The at-fault driver only has a $100,000 policy. Allstate increases the offer to $37,200 just before trial. The trial begins and we destroy their expert on the stand. While our client's wife is offering her testimony, GEICO and Allstate say they want to talk settlement. Our original offer to settle is now long off the table. The insurers offered $175,000. We said it is $200,000 or we continue the trial. So they agreed to $200,000 ($100,000 each). The case settles in the middle of the trial.
- Maryland, 2019: $300,000 Settlement Our client is a passenger in a friend's car in Baltimore County. The driver hits a light pole trying to avoid an animal on the road. He is diagnosed at Northwest Hospital with a neck sprain, strain, and a wrist sprain. He is discharged with pain medicine. He gets a cervical steroid injection that provides only temporary relief. Ultimately, he has a discectomy and fusion and (eventually) has a great recovery.
- Maryland, 2018: $250,000 Settlement Our client, a 45-year-old woman, is traveling on Route 97 in Anne Arundel County. She stops in heavy traffic and is rear-ended. The police are not called to the scene because she does not initially believe she is seriously injured. She sustains $5300 in property damage to her vehicle. Her medical records show degeneration at C4-C5 that was injured in a prior accident (she had a prior neck fusion). These pre-existing injury cases are always tougher but that does not mean the victim cannot prevail. Ultimately, she receives nerve block injections. GEICO tenders their $100,000 insurance policy and she receives $150,000 from her own insurance carrier on her underinsured motorist claim. Miller & Zois handled this claim.
- Maryland (Baltimore), 2018: $100,000 Settlement A 13-year-old boy is walking down the sidewalk when a motorcycle takes a left turn in front of a car at Kenwood Avenue and Dale Avenue in Baltimore, City. The bike flies over the hood and lands on the boy, breaking his leg. GEICO tenders its $100,000 policy before a lawsuit is filed. Miller & Zois handled this claim.
- Maryland, 2018: $200,000 Settlement An elderly man exits his car to cross the street in Baltimore. He is struck and killed by the defendant. There is no good evidence as to where the man was hit and killed although he clearly was not in a crosswalk. This was our problem: there was no proof either way, and the Plaintiff bore the burden of proof. Defendant files a motion to dismiss the case but agrees to settle for $200,000 before the motion is heard. Would we have lost the motion? Probably. But this underscores the value of having a good personal injury lawyer that the insurance company fears.
- Maryland, 2018: $290,000 Settlement A 40-year-old woman suffers an L-5-disc injury after a double impact, chain reaction, rear-end accident. She has a negative MRI but has a discectomy that reveals nerve damage. The pre-suit offer is $70,000. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- Maryland, 2018: $340,000 Verdict Plaintiff suffers head (mild TBI) and disc injuries in a left turn accident case that is tried in Prince George's County. The offer at the pre-trial conference is zero. GEICO's policy is $250,000, but the uninsured motorist carrier agrees before the trial not to seek subrogation from GEICO's insured if the verdict exceeds the policy limits which, thankfully, is exactly what happens. Miller & Zois handled this case.
- Maryland, 2018: $170,000 Settlement Plaintiff is driving on Route 97 in Carroll County when he approaches a non-functional traffic light. Defendant does not realize the light is not working and runs through it. Defendants contend that Plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to proceed with care through a broken traffic light. Plaintiff suffers a broken left femur, broken ribs, various cuts and abrasions, and severely bruised feet. GEICO is the driver's insurance company, and they tender their policy limits. The rest we recover from the uninsured motorist carrier (Cincinnati Insurance). Our law firm handled this claim.
- Maryland, 2018: $175,000 Settlement Our client is rear-ended on Route 4 in Calvert County. She goes to Urgent Care that evening, complaining of jaw, left shoulder, left neck, and lower back pain. She ultimately has a cervical diskectomy and fusion in her neck at C5-C6. We have no choice but to file suit because GEICO just will not make an offer.
- Maryland, 2018: $300,000 Settlement A man is stopped at a red light in Montgomery County and is rear-ended at a high rate of speed. He is flown to Prince George's Hospital Center but he does not survive. This wrongful death settlement is for the policy limits. An exhaustive search for assets of the defendant driver reveals that he had no meaningful assets and only a $15,000 Pennsylvania insurance policy. GEICO pays the remaining $285,000 in uninsured motorist benefits. Our law firm handled this case.
Our experienced car accident lawyers have been dealing with GEICO for years. Below are questions our clients have had about their claims that you may also have.
I also really like Warren Buffett. This insurer also generally has very professional adjusters, many of which are easy to like. But here is the truth: GEICO is a very difficult insurer to deal with in accident claims, particularly before a lawsuit is filed. GEICO simply has a business model that aggressively focuses on settling claims for as little as possible. This model instructs them to try to resolve cases for far less than they are worth.
GEICO plays hard ball and has the bad faith claims to prove it.
This insurer has regional claims centers. Almost all of the Maryland claims are processed in the Fredericksburg, Virginia office. GEICO adjusters are still working during the COVID-19 pandemic from their homes.
GEICO does not give its adjusters a ton of authority before a lawsuit is filed. The claims rep will make you an offer that is some percentage of the power that the adjuster has to settle the case. This next part is important. The gap between (1) the initial offer and the settlement authority and (2) the settlement authority and the real value of the case increases with the size of the case. Let's make up an example that I think is pretty true to form. If a case has a trial value of $10,000, the adjuster might offer $4,000 with the authority to go up to $5,500. But if the real value of the case is $500,000, this insurer might offer $125,000 with the authority to go to $150,000.
To make the obscene profits GEICO has historically generated, the company tries to rip off victims on the value of their claim. That may be a harsh assessment, but it is the stark reality. Think about the math. GEICO spends $1 billion a year on advertising. It touts that you can save fifteen percent by spending only fifteen minutes to switch to GEICO. The company also offers some customers "accident forgiveness" so that their insurance rates do not increase after an accident. GEICO plays hardball before suit is filed hoping pay less than what the injury claim is truly worth. If you can rip off just 30% of the victims making claims, that is a lot of extra money for advertising and profits.
Almost invariably, the offer increases. This is true with most insurance companies but is particularly true with GEICO. One reason for this: you get a new adjuster when a suit is filed. The new adjuster comes in and says, "Okay, the first adjuster was an idiot, let's talk about the real value of this case." All right, that is hyperbole. But it is not that far from the truth. Now, this number is also usually far less than the trial or settlement value of the case. But it is almost certainly well north of the value before a suit was filed and the new adjuster came aboard.
How bold GEICO will be depends on what the sticking point in the case is. If the dispute is over liability—who caused the accident—this insurer will often stick to its guns. If the dispute is over how much money agreed upon injuries are worth, GEICO rarely lets these cases go to trial, at least in Maryland.
There is no way to know. What any insurance company will do when a verdict exceeds the policy limits depends on the facts of the case. But if the plaintiff's personal injury attorney makes a settlement demand for the policy limits or less, GEICO will often stand behind its insured and pay whatever the verdict is regardless of the policy limits.
It is very unlikely. Probably more than any other insurance company out there, Government Employees Insurance Company has an aversion to low and no property damage injury cases. So, there is a high probability a case like that is going to go to trial if the victim wants to get something resembling fair value on the case.
In general, you are going to be best protected by hiring counsel to represent your interests. If you are seriously injured in an accident, I think it is entirely foolish not to hire a lawyer. Good legal advice matters. That said, if you have a small case, the gap between what you can get for yourself and what a lawyer can get for you is narrower. Should you still hire a car accident lawyer in those small injury cases? I think you should. Is it crazy to handle these cases alone without a lawyer? No, and here is how you do it without a lawyer.
If you do file a lawsuit, most of the claims will be handled by Besok & Mullen or John Dahut & Associates. These personal injury defense law firms have "law firm names." But they are not law firms in the traditional sense. There are in-house counsel and employees of the insurer. This is done to cut down on the company's legal fees. On balance, these lawyers are far more reasonable than the claims adjusters when it comes to placing a fair settlement value on accident claims.
GEICO refers out some cases when they are concerned that there is a real chance the verdict could exceed the defendant's insurance policy limits. The Law Offices of Frank Daily—a good group of car accident lawyers—is one of the firms that this insurer heavily relies upon in these types of cases in Baltimore. It often uses Mulhern & Patterson in cases in Maryland/D.C. suburbs.
This insurance company has a number of "usual suspect" experts to defend their positions that the Plaintiff is either not hurt or not hurt as bad as the Plaintiff suggests. If it is an orthopedics case, as many car crash injuries are, the insurer frequently refers to
- Dr. Joel Falik
- Dr. Louis S. Halikman
- Dr. J. Richard Wells, Jr.
- Dr. Eddie Cohen
- Dr. Gary London (neurologist)
- Dr. Clifford Hinkes
- Charles Citrin (neuroradiologist)
- James Gasho
GEICO regularly names these same witnesses in a stunning amount of motor vehicle accident cases in Maryland and the District of Columbia. What is incredible is that GEICO lawyers often name these experts long before the doctors have ever heard the patient's name or seen a single medical record. What does this mean? It seems they are pretty confident that these experts will say what they want them to say.
GEICO writes consumer auto insurance in all 50 U.S. states (and D.C.) and it one of the largest auto insurers in the country. GEICO is largest insurer in Maryland and Washington DC.
GEICO is wholly owned by Berkshire Hathaway, a corporate conglomerate that owns numerous subsidiary companies and brands including Duracell, Diary Queen, Long & Foster, and others.
GEICO will pay your claim either by sending a check to you (or your attorney) or by submitting direct payment to an approved auto repair shop.
A speeding ticket will increase your GEICO insurance premium by an average of 19%. This places GEICO in the middle of the pack in terms of premium increases for speeding tickets with the highest average being 34% and the lowest at 7%.
If your vehicle is totaled GEICO will pay the fair market value. If you have a loan on the vehicle, GEICO will pay off the existing balance on that auto loan before paying anything to you.
To contact this insurer in a Maryland case, you can reach them at:
P.O Box 9505
Fredericksburg, VA 22403
The best number is 1-800-841-1003.
Keep in mind the risks associated with talking to the insurance company without counsel.Getting a Weapon to Fight GEICO
Our accident lawyers at Miller & Zois have handled hundreds of personal injury claims against GEICO and have helped a lot of people get the money they deserve for their injuries. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Maryland and the at-fault driver is insured by GEICO, or if you are filing an uninsured motorist claim against GEICO and you have a question about your personal injury claim, call us at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or fill out this brief online claim evaluation form.