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USAA Auto Claims

USAA Auto Insurance Injury Claims usaa claims

USAA (United Services Automobile Association) is a major player in the car insurance market in Maryland and around the United States. The company offers insurance to military families, insuring those in the military and their family members. It is based in San Antonio, Texas and all of its motor vehicle collision claims adjusters appear to be based there.

Due to its connection with the military, USAA was the 11th most respected company in the country in 2017 according to a Harris Poll. The reality is that they are not a nonprofit organization, but an insurance company. USAA's CEO made at least $5.28 million last year.

USAA is a corporation. Like any other corporation, it does everything in their power to earn money. Negotiating with USAA has told our auto accident attorneys that it, like every other insurance company, will try to pay victims less than the full value of their claim.

In this article:

Overview usaa insurance settlement

Some insurance companies tend to be fair; others we do not expect to be fair. However, our lawyers find it difficult to make blanket generalizations about how reasonable USAA is for settlement purposes. In spite of its reliance on computer-based case evaluation software, its claim values seem to vary more widely depending on the adjuster than most insurance companies.

We have noticed some valuable trends from dealing with USAA over the years. For one, USAA is more willing than some of the other major insurance companies to dramatically increase their offers after a lawsuit has been filed. (Note: if you do not settle your case right after the lawsuit is filed, you are not likely to settle the case, if it settles at all, until the settlement conference immediately before trial.)

Additionally, USAA does not like to take cases to trial. The last reported verdict in Maryland involving USAA that we could find was in 2012. Our last Circuit Court case involving USAA was in 2007.

This is not the only reason why case value increases after a lawsuit is filed. The value of all accident insurance claims increases as a trial date gets closer because insurers take a more critical look at their defense of the case. They consider the real quality of the accident victim’s injury claim. For example, more times than our lawyers can count, insurance companies have admitted liability just before trial after spending over a year denying the accident was their driver’s fault.

USAA, like many insurance companies, uses a computer-based program called Colossus to assist in valuing accident claims. It evaluates a victim’s medical records and medical expenses and decides how much treatment it thinks was necessary for the crash. It determines what it thinks a fair value is for (1) medical treatment, (2) past or future wage loss, and (3) the victim’s pain and suffering. This company, like most insurance companies, typically undervalues all of these categories before a lawsuit is filed.

usaacollisions

Our personal injury attorneys would not pick USAA as a model defendant by any stretch. The company has stubbornly defended many claims that we thought should have been settled sooner. Nothing is gained by going through the litigation process for the sake of going through the litigation process.

Still, USAA will sometimes surprise us by offering a reasonable value to settle the action out-of-court without the need for filing a lawsuit. It depends on the type of case, the jurisdiction, the insurance adjuster handling the claim, and the nature of the injuries.

Based on our extensive experience with USAA, and from looking at jury verdicts, it seems that this insurer is more likely to take a case to trial against its own insured making an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim. In Maryland, awards are largely capped at the policy limits in uninsured motorist cases. However, if the insurance company gets a verdict that is more than the policy limits, it may be liable for the entire verdict.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does USAA use Colossus to evaluate claims?
  • How does USAA evaluate no-fault and underinsured claims?
  • Why does USAA often wait until a lawsuit is filed or a trial is near before making a reasonable offer?
  • Does USAA mean it when they say they will go to trial?
  • Should I hire a lawyer?
  • Who are USAA’s lawyers?
  • I just have a property damage claim or personal injury protection claim and want to call USAA. What is their phone number?
  • Where is the adjuster who is handling my case located?
  • What are some examples of settlements and verdicts involving USAA?
How does USAA use Colossus to evaluate claims?

Like some other insurance companies, USAA uses a computer program called Colossus to calculate the value of claims. This program tends to undervalue claims. Most importantly, Colossus takes into account the quality of your lawyer when calculating your case’s value. Insurance companies will determine if a lawyer or law firm is likely to be willing to take the case to trial by looking at their record of trying cases in the past. If they are not likely to try a case, USAA can get away with a lower settlement offer.

This means that your attorney’s track record might be a factor in how your claim is evaluated.

How does USAA evaluate no-fault and underinsured claims?

To evaluate these personal injury protection (PIP) and underinsured motorist claims, USAA uses an Auto Injury Solutions/Concentra (AIS) program. One of the things it takes into account are audits of medical bills submitted to USAA for payment under the first party medical coverage of USAA auto insurance policies.

It’s important to note that USAA has settled more than one class-action lawsuit which alleged it denied medical benefits to injured policyholders who had PIP or other medical-payments coverage on their car insurance policy.

Why does USAA often wait until a lawsuit is filed or a trial is near before making a reasonable offer?

Many lawyers and automobile accident victims get cold feet when it comes to filing a lawsuit and actually walking into a courtroom. At this stage, the victim could potentially be left with nothing if the case is lost. For this reason, USAA waits until the last minute to make a fair settlement offer. Essentially, they want to see if you will give in before they do.

Does USAA mean it when they say they will go to trial?

USAA rarely takes cases to trial. We have not had a case in several years, and the last reported USAA jury verdict in Maryland was in 2012. USAA is clearly an insurance company that strongly prefers to avoid trials.

We tried a case against USAA in Baltimore City on behalf of a USAA policyholder in which they significantly undervalued the case. They have not let a case go to trial with us since that verdict.

This strategy is smart because they are able to bully plaintiffs and lawyers who fear the courtroom while settling all other cases before trial. This way they entirely avoid the courtroom, where juries would often rule against them in costly verdicts.

USAA will make a reasonable settlement offer before trial on most serious accident claims. This is especially true if the plaintiff’s lawyer has a history of success at trial and if the case is at the point where the suit has been filed, discovery is complete, and the adjuster has fully evaluated the case.

Should I hire a lawyer?
miller and zois

If you are seriously injured, you should hire an attorney to handle your case. There are many mistakes you can make that may prevent you from winning a substantial amount of money.

Arguably, there are many minor soft tissue injury cases in which plaintiffs do better when they handle their own cases. This is because, with cases worth less than about $3,000, attorney’s fees can subtract a large chunk from a case’s payout.

However, it is always safer to hire an attorney, because there is a real chance you will make a mistake that will prove fatal to your case. Additionally, real experience is needed to know the true value of a claim.

Who are USAA’s lawyers?
usaaautoaccidentclaims

Among the major Maryland car insurers, this insurer is the only one that has eschewed the modern paradigm of having in-house counsel. Instead of using attorneys that are company employees to defend car crash suits brought against USAA insureds, it hires a Maryland attorney in each case to defend individual tort suits.

In Maryland, USAA is frequently defended by Moore & Jackson (Towson), The Law Offices of Frank Daly (Hunt Valley), The Law Office of J. Thomas Caskey (Towson), The Law Office of Jeffrey D. Raden (Silver Spring) and Myers, Rodbell & Rosenbaum (Riverdale/Gaithersburg).

I just have a property damage claim or personal injury protection claim and want to call USAA. What is their phone number?

USAA's auto claims customer service phone number is (800) 531-8722.

Where is the claim adjuster who is handling my case located?

The adjusters you deal with in Maryland are based in San Antonio, Texas.

Examples of USAA Verdicts & Settlements

Below we provide examples of verdicts & settlements involving USAA in Maryland. Some were our cases while others were handled by our colleagues at other firms. You cannot estimate the value of your case based on these examples, as each case is unique. For more information on the value of your case, look at example cases by type of injury.

  • 2019, Maryland (Anne Arundel County): $45,000 Verdict The plaintiffs, insureds of USAA, are passengers in a vehicle going southbound on Gov. Ritchie Highway near its intersection with Mountain Road in Glen Burnie. As their vehicle proceeds through an intersection on a green light, a driver traveling in the opposite direction runs their red light and strikes the plaintiffs on the passenger’s side. The plaintiffs sustain various unspecified injuries in the accident. They seek damages from the at-fault driver and excess underinsured motorist (UIM) damages from USAA. Liability is admitted, but the case goes to trial to dispute damages. The jury awards a total of $45K.
  • 2019, Maryland: $300,000 Settlement While our client is preparing to turn right, she is broadsided by a USAA insured driver. She is diagnosed with right hip, right hand, bilateral knee, and bilateral shoulder sprains, as well as post-traumatic headaches and vertigo. She begins physical therapy and sees a neurologist for her headaches. She has preexisting injuries in her spine, so USAA offers only $40,000 to settle out-of-court. We file suit and the case ultimately settles for $300,000.
  • 2017, Maryland (Baltimore County): $15,748 Verdict The plaintiff is driving northbound on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway just south of Baltimore when he slows down for traffic and is rear-ended by the car behind him. He suffers unspecified injuries in the accident and demands UIM benefits from his insurer, USAA. USAA refuses, and the case goes to trial in Baltimore County. The jury awards the plaintiff $15,747 in damages.
  • 2017, Maryland (Baltimore County): $28,654 Verdict The plaintiff, a 32-year-old woman, is driving on Joppa Road in White Marsh near its intersection with Honeygo Boulevard when she is struck by the defendant. She allegedly suffers a broken nose, broken thumb, injuries to both her knees, and a chipped tooth. The defendant, who is insured by USAA, disputed whether the plaintiff’s injuries were actually related to the accident. The case goes to trial in Baltimore County and the jury awards $28,654.
  • 2016, Maryland (Prince George's County): $45,000 Settlement The plaintiff, a 43-year-old male, is driving near the intersection of Route 5 and Earnshaw Drive in Brandywine. The defendant, who is driving in the adjacent lane of traffic, attempts to change lanes and strikes the plaintiff’s vehicle. The defendant is a USAA member. The plaintiff suffers a lumbar disc herniation and disc protrusion with radiculitis at the L4-L5 nerve root. The treatment includes 4 months of physical therapy and 3 epidural injections. USAA disputes damages, claiming that the plaintiff’s back injuries were related to a subsequent accident. Just prior to mediation, USAA agrees to settle for $45k.
  • 2016, Maryland: $97,500 Settlement Our client is traveling on his bike in Montgomery County. He gets hit in the crosswalk late at night coming home from a party. He suffers a fractured femur that heals well. One potential problem in the case is that the client was intoxicated. The driver’s insurance is USAA. He had a $100,000 policy, and ultimately, they offered $70,000. We reject the offer and tell them we will file suit. The offer continues to increase until we get just $2,500 away from the policy limits, and the case settles for $97,500.
  • 2016, Maryland: $500,000 Settlement Our clients, two professional men, are traveling southbound on Route 4 in Calvert County when a USAA insured vehicle loses control and crosses the center median, striking their vehicle on the passenger side. Both men need a discectomy and fusion. USAA pays its entire $500,000 policy.
Hiring a Lawyer to Fight for You

Our law firm handles serious car accident injury cases in Maryland. Our experienced attorneys have dealt with USAA many times. If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and want an advocate who will fight for you, call us at (800) 553-8082 or go online for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
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Hopefully I won't need it again but if I do, I have definitely found my lawyer for life and I would definitely recommend this office to anyone! Bridget Stevens
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The case settled and I got a lot more money than I expected. Ron even fought to reduce how much I owed in medical bills so I could get an even larger settlement. Nchedo Idahosa