This page is intended to give both lawyers and accident victims a better idea of what to expect when dealing with State Farm. Even though this insurance company will fight to pay out as little as possible, you can win your claim against State Farm if you know what to expect.
State Farm is the largest auto insurance company in the country, boasting 17% of the market share. Founded in 1922, it has 19,000 agents and 83 million car, fire, life, and health policies across the US and Canada. Our law firm handles claims against this law firm throughout Maryland.
Click the links below if you are interested in a particular topic:
- Settling with State Farm
- How does State Farm Calculate Settlement Values?
- Who are State Farm’s lawyers? Where are its Offices?
- State Farm FAQ
- Sample verdicts and settlements
- More Resources
- Hire a Lawyer
State Farm is not a model defendant by any stretch. It is the most likely insurance company in Maryland to force a case to go to trial. Our primary complaint with State Farm is that it does not offer fair settlement values to resolve claims without filing lawsuits.
Still, there are a few nice things about dealing with this insurer. In first party uninsured and underinsured motorist cases, it will write a check for the last settlement offer it makes before trial. It is also quick to pay excess verdicts that are over its policy limits if its insured is sued.
Finally, State Farm is fairly efficient, at least in Maryland and the District of Columbia. They will respond quickly to requests for the status of demand packages and will typically generate a settlement offer faster than most other insurance companies.State Farm’s First Settlement Offer
It is hard to make blanket generalizations on dealing with State Farm for settlement. Certainly, if you are dealing with State Farm Team 21 or State Farm Team 22, the two auto claims units in Maryland that deal with less severe injury cases, you are not very likely to receive a settlement offer that approximates the fair value of your claim. In one recent trial, we were able to win our client a verdict that was 35 times State Farm’s settlement offer.
Other traffic accident claims with State Farm vary more from adjuster to adjuster. Some adjusters are eager to try to settle accident claims for a fair value. Others are more difficult, and you will need to file a lawsuit to get a reasonable settlement or verdict.
Settlement offers from State Farm in Maryland cases almost invariably increase—often more than doubling or tripling—as litigation proceeds. There are some reasons our lawyers believe this occurs. We think State Farm’s in-house lawyers–with exceptions—tend to be more reasonable than its insurance adjusters.
That enhanced reasonableness stems in part from having to try the case to a jury as opposed to simply sitting in an office. Additionally, the value of cases invariably rises when the insurance company realizes that the injury victim is not going to accept the offer just to avoid a lawsuit.
The value of these claims also increases as the trial date gets closer because, like every insurance company, State Farm takes a more critical look at their arguments and the real quality of the claim. It is not uncommon over the course of litigation for an insurance company to admit their driver’s responsibility after previously denying fault.
Below are examples of first settlement offers along with the cost of the client's medical bills. All are taken from Miller & Zois cases. This data gives you some insight on how much money you might get if you are looking to settle your case quickly. Essentially, you are going to have a hard time getting a fair value without suing State Farm first.
|First Offer||Medical Bills|
State Farm, like most insurance companies, uses a computer system called TEACH to determine the money damages of personal injury accident claims. This claims software is similar to Allstate's claim adjustment software, Colossus. That program regularly produces settlement value ranges that are far below the fair value of claims.
State Farm evaluates an injury victim’s medical records then decides how much treatment it thinks was necessary for their accident and the fair value of that treatment. On top of this, it adds any past or future wage loss, as well as its opinion of the value of the victim’s pain and suffering. This insurance company, in our opinion, usually undervalues all of these categories.
You almost invariably need to file a lawsuit to recover future lost wages or medical bills from State Farm. This is partly due to the company's unwillingness to pay a fair value for the claim, but there is a practical reason, too: State Farm wants to see the evidence more clearly, which happens in the “discovery” period after a lawsuit is filed.
Insurance companies also use the trial records of the lawyers who are bringing the claim as a value driver. This is only true, however, for some adjusters.Who are State Farm’s Lawyers? Where are its Offices?
Most State Farm lawsuits in Maryland are defended by two law firms: The Law Offices of Timothy S. Smith & Associates in Greenbelt and H. Barritt Peterson, Jr. & Associates in Towson. Though their names suggest that they are private counsel, all of the lawyers in these firms State Farm employees. These are good, reasonable lawyers, but they will fight plaintiffs' lawsuits vigorously to defend the company's interests. State Farm sends larger cases out to private lawyers.
State Farm Frequently Asked Questions
State Farm Insurance Company
One State Farm Drive
P.O. Box 953
Frederick, Maryland 21705-0953
State Farm Insurance Company
10825 Reisterstown Road
Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
State Farm Insurance Company
9525 Harford Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21234
State Farm Insurance Company
Wilmington Operations Center
3540 Old Capital Trail
P. O. Box 5070
Wilmington, Delaware 19808
State Auto Insurance Companies
20 East Timonium Road, Suite 101
Timonium, Maryland 21093-3457
If you get assigned to a "team" your claim is not being taken seriously. In Maryland, State Farm has Team 21 and Team 22. Less experienced adjusters handle these claims. These adjusters are given limited authority beyond making a settlement offer that is far south of the real value of a case. When you file suit in these cases, you get another adjuster, and usually a significantly higher offer.
Many adjusters do not try to justify or explain their offers at all. State Farm will deny liability or reduce the value of accident claims using the following scapegoats:
- Blaming your injuries on a previous health problem, even when you have fully recovered;
- Claiming your medical bills are too high. State Farm will say that a hospital’s bills were too high and that they gave you unnecessary treatment;
- Claiming that you were never hurt in the first place. Or, if you were injured, you are better now and are just pretending that you are not;
- It is just not worth that much. I can't tell you how many cases we have had with State Farm where we agree on everything except what the settlement value of the case should be.
State Farm insurance adjusters move faster than most. You can expect an offer within 45 days of sending in a complete demand package.
Filing suit against State Farm often increases their settlement offer. State Farm is far more willing to spend legal costs in civil discovery by taking depositions before increasing their offer substantially. We see State Farm coming up with last minute offers before trials that are far higher than their original valuations. Still, State Farm is the most likely insurance company to go to trial even though it risks receiving a verdict that far exceeds the value of an insurance policy.
How bold State Farm 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 the agreed upon injuries are worth, State Farm will rarely allow the case to go to trial, at least in Maryland.
State Farm threatens to go to trial so that attorneys will take a low settlement. Many attorneys only experienced in settling cases will be unwilling to go to trial. This strategy also works because many victims try to handle their claims themselves, without a lawyer.
They might. What will happen in an excess verdict situation depends on the facts of that particular case. Here in Maryland, State Farm usually does stand behind its insured if a verdict exceeds their policy limits.
If you file suit against State Farm in an underinsured/uninsured motorist case in Maryland, they will often send you a check for the last offer they made, which operates as a set-off for any verdict you get against them.
You always need counsel in any serious injury case. There is too much at stake, and the range of the values is just too great not to have an advocate fighting for you. In smaller cases you might not need a lawyer, depending on the case. But with State Farm, you are probably always better off hiring a lawyer if you want to maximize the value of your case.
The below verdicts and settlements are sourced from our law firm and others around in the country. We provide these examples to better inform you about what to expect from your case. However, even if your case looks like one of these cases, the outcome will not necessarily be the same.
The following are examples of cases that State Farm won:
- The plaintiff claims that she stopped for an ambulance at an intersection and the defendant rear-ended her. The defendant claims that there was no ambulance, and that the plaintiff stopped abruptly for no reason, causing him to collide with her. Since there were no witnesses, it is up to the jury to decide who to believe, and they side with the defendant.
- The plaintiff suffers spinal impairment and emotional injuries from a crash. She sues State Farm for underinsured motorist benefits after settling with the at-fault driver for maximum policy limits. State Farm claims her injuries were pre-existing, and the jury agrees with them.
- After a hit-and-run accident, the plaintiff sues State Farm for uninsured motorist benefits. He had received injuries to his neck, back, and shoulders. State Farm denies liability and claims that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury—the jury agrees.
These are examples when State Farm won—however, for cases that plaintiff’s won against State Farm, see the verdicts and settlements below. State Farm wins a lot of jury trials, but our law firm and others have also won millions of dollars for our clients.
- 2019, Maryland: $100,000 Verdict The plaintiff is on Edmonson Ave near Winans Way when the defendant driver attempts to make a left turn in front of him causing a collision. The defendant, insured by State Farm, contests liability for the accident, claiming she turned left on a green arrow signal. Both sides agree to a stipulated verdict of $100,000, at policy limits, and the case proceeds to trial on the issue of liability. The jury ends up awarding $30k to the defendant and $70k to the plaintiff.
- 2018, Maryland: $104,000 Verdict The plaintiff is struck by another motorist and suffers various unspecified personal injuries. She settles with the other driver for policy limits of $30,000 and then seeks UIM benefits from her own insurance company, State Farm. State Farm disputes liability, causation, and the extent of the alleged injuries. State Farm also claims that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. The case proceeds to trial and the jury returns a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $104k.
- 2018, Maryland: $120,000 Verdict The plaintiff stops for a red light and is violently rear-ended by an uninsured motorist. The plaintiff reports injuries including L5-S1 disc herniations with radiculopathy, requiring surgery and resulting in intermittent numbness and an 18% disability rating. The plaintiff's insurer, State Farm, refuses to pay his UIM benefits, claiming that his injuries were pre-existing. The case goes to trial, and the jury awards $120k.
- 2017, Maryland: $99,000 Verdict The plaintiff, insured by State Farm, reportedly suffers a foot fracture, breast abrasion, post-traumatic stress disorder, and unspecified injuries to her knees, back, face, and lip when an another driver makes a turn in front of her, causing a collision. The plaintiff settles with the negligent driver for the policy limit of $100k and then pursues a UIM claim against State Farm. State Farm refuses to settle, arguing that the plaintiff's $100k settlement with the driver had already fully compensated her for her injuries. The case goes to trial and a jury awards $99k.
- 2017, Maryland: $114,000 Verdict The plaintiff is driving on 40 West when the defendant allegedly runs a red light and hits him, causing major injuries over the plaintiff's entire body. State Farm disputes the extent and cause of the plaintiff's alleged injuries and the case proceeds to trial. The jury awards $114k in total damages.
- 2016, Oregon: $280,000 Settlement A 31-year-old woman is rear-ended by an underinsured motorist. She suffers a permanent neck injury, requiring C3-4 artificial disc surgery. She brings an action against State Farm for her UIM benefits. She demands the policy limits of $100,000, but the case proceeds to arbitration where is she awarded more than double.
- 2016, Virginia: $1,220,000 Settlement A 36-year-old man is on a motorcycle when another driver turns left at an intersection where left turns are illegal. The collision knocks the man off of his motorcycle, causing multiple open fractures of his left leg. The injuries require multiple surgeries to attempt to repair the damage, but he still suffers strength and range of motion deficits. State Farm, the other driver's insurer, negotiates a $1,220,000 settlement before litigation.
- 2015, Maryland: $450,000 Verdict A husband and wife are on their way home when they are violently rear-ended by the defendant. The husband sustains a humerus fracture of his non-dominant arm, requiring a closed reduction. The wife’s injuries are much worse. She suffers a torn rotator cuff of her dominant shoulder, requiring two surgeries and an eventual shoulder replacement, permanently reducing her range of motion. She additionally sustains a lumbar compression fracture, also requiring surgery. She needs extensive treatment and is unable to drive. Her husband is unable to return to his post-retirement job to care for his wife. The suit is filed against State Farm, the defendant’s insurer, and the plaintiff's UIM carrier, GEICO. The defendant is found at fault in the trial. A jury awards the wife $84,464, in past medical bills, with $291,600 in past and future non-economic. The husband is awarded $8,051 for past medical care, $14,000 in lost wages, and $50,000 in past and future non-economic damages. The total award is $448,116 which is reduced to the available limits of $100,000, though it is unclear why. State Farm usually pays judgments that go over the insurance policy. It has done this with some Miller & Zois cases that exceeded the policy. The plaintiff's counsel may have agreed beforehand to settle for policy limits.
- 2015, New York: $260,000 Settlement A 50-year-old man is working when he slips and falls due to work debris at the defendant's home. He suffers an ankle fracture and undergoes an open reduction and internal fixation. He cannot return to work. The jury finds the defendant 90% at fault and State Farm negotiates a $260,000 settlement.
- Sample interrogatories from State Farm
- Car accident injury FAQs
- Value of your case by injury
- Value of case by type of crash
- Case values in different Maryland counties
- Do you need a lawyer?
- Property damage claims
- Sample demand letter
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and the at-fault driver is insured by State Farm, or if you are filing an uninsured motorist claim against State Farm and you have a question about your claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or go online for a free case evaluation.