USAA, or the United States Services Automobile Association, is a major insurance company that provides insurance to members of the military and their families throughout the United States. While its association with the military may fool many into believing that USAA is a nonprofit organization, it is definitely not. In fact, in 2020 alone, USAA saw net profits of almost $4 billion.
As a major corporation, USAA Insurance’s goal is to make money. One of the ways that they do this is by paying out as little as possible on accident claims. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision with a driver insured by USAA, a skilled Silver Spring car accident lawyer can fight for your right to full compensation.
At DuBoff & Associates, we advocate for injury victims throughout Maryland in USAA accident claims. In each case, our goal is to ensure that our clients get the money that they need to move forward with their lives. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
Like all insurance companies, USAA has a specific process that must be followed after a motor vehicle accident. Generally, if you are involved in an accident with a driver who has USAA insurance, they should file a claim with their insurer. However, if they fail to do so, then you may be required to file a claim with USAA.
Although filing a claim may seem straightforward, it does involve some risks. Specifically, filing a claim with USAA Insurance after an accident may lead to you getting less money than you deserve for your injuries. USAA is in business to make money – and they’ll use the things that you say and do to their advantage.
If you have been involved in a crash with a USAA driver, don’t reach out to the insurance company without first consulting with a skilled Maryland car accident lawyer. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights and protect your interests. They can also help you with the required paperwork to move the process along in an efficient manner.
Many big insurance companies – like GEICO or Allstate – are known to be unfair and to engage in shady practices. With USAA Insurance, an accident victim’s experience may vary widely based on the adjuster assigned to their claim.
An insurance adjuster’s role in the claims process is to perform an investigation and then use a combination of their own experience and software analysis to make a settlement offer. As employees of USAA, claims adjusters are not going to overvalue anyone’s case. Instead, they typically work to pay as little as possible on a USAA accident claim – or to deny it entirely.
They use a number of tactics to do this. An adjuster will almost certainly contact you, either at the accident site, by phone, by mail, or in person, to ask you to give a statement. Anything that you say to the adjuster will be used to undermine your claim. This is particularly true in Maryland, where the legal principle of contributory negligence means that your claim can be completely denied if you were found to be even slightly at fault for the collision.
An adjuster may also ask you to sign documents – which may seem like an innocent request unless you understand why they’re asking. In short, signing any documents from a USAA adjuster without having a lawyer look at them first may tank your accident claim. For example, if you sign something that gives USAA Insurance access to your medical records, then they could search through these documents to find an old medical condition – and then blame your current injuries on that.
Some USAA Insurance adjusters may be incredibly friendly, and may even tell you that they take full responsibility for the accident. This can make you think that they’re on your side – which couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, any settlement that USAA offers you is likely to be far less than what your case is actually worth.
The best way to deal with a USAA claims adjuster is to have a skilled car accident attorney communicate with them on your behalf. Studies show that injury victims recover 3.5 times as much money when they have legal representation, compared to people who represent themselves. Your lawyer will advocate for your right to full compensation – and will make sure that the adjuster doesn’t pull any tricks to undermine your rights.
Like most insurance companies, USAA uses a software program (Colossus) to value accident claims for settlement. Colossus analyzes information such as an accident victim’s medical records and medical bills to determine a “fair value” for medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Unsurprisingly, this number is often much fairer to USAA than to the person who was hurt in the crash.
A settlement for an automobile accident typically includes compensation for losses such as:
In rare cases, such as a drunk driving accident, punitive damages may also be available.
Of course, there is often a huge difference between what an accident victim believes is a fair settlement and what the insurance company thinks is justified. A seasoned car accident lawyer can help to close that gap.
After a free initial consultation, your attorney will begin by conducting an investigation of their own into the crash – interviewing witnesses, requesting police reports, reviewing photos and videos of the accident scene, and performing legal research. From there, they will draft a document known as a demand letter. In this letter, they will explain the facts of the case, why their insured is responsible, and make a demand for damages (money).
USAA Insurance will typically respond to this letter with a counteroffer. If your lawyer made a demand for $300,000, for example, they might come back with an offer of $100,000. Negotiations will continue until a settlement can be reached.
In most cases, car accident claims are settled without going to trial. However, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit if USAA refuses to offer you a settlement that fairly compensates you for all of your losses.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 3 years. This means that you have 3 years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit against USAA Insurance.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial. In fact, in our experience, insurance companies like USAA are much more likely to settle a claim once a lawsuit has been filed. They know that you are serious and that they probably can’t get away with a low ball settlement.
This is particularly true when you hire a personal injury law firm that has significant trial experience and a track record of success. USAA Insurance knows that their chances of winning when you have a top firm involved – like DuBoff & Associates – is much lower. They also understand that it will likely cost them far more to defend a case in court than it would be to settle it.
For these reasons, a USAA claims adjuster will likely become much more willing to negotiate a fair settlement once a lawsuit has been filed. Before this point, they may have made offers that don’t come close to the full scope of your damages. After they are served with a lawsuit, however, they know that you mean business.
That is why most USAA accident claims are settled before anyone sets foot in a courtroom. However, it may still be possible that your case will go to trial. In this situation, your attorney will present evidence, question witnesses, and make arguments before asking a jury to return a verdict in your favor.
In most cases, you should hire an attorney to represent you in a USAA accident claim. People who have a lawyer tend to recover far more money than those who represent themselves. In some situations, such as collisions involving only property damage or very minor injuries, it may be possible to represent yourself – but it is still a good idea to talk to a lawyer before making that decision.
Most personal injury firms offer free consultations, so there is no risk to you. It allows you to make an informed decision about how to move forward with your case. Call DuBoff & Associates today to schedule an appointment with a member of our legal team.
The answer depends on the potential value of your case. This is determined by factors such as the extent of your injuries, whether you will be permanently disabled, and the policy limits of the at-fault driver. An experienced car accident lawyer can review the facts of your case and give you a ballpark estimate of its value, which will help you understand whether the settlement offer you got from USAA is fair.
DuBoff & Associates works hard to help our clients get maximum compensation for their injuries. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation with a Maryland auto accident attorney.
You may be able to settle a USAA Insurance claim within a matter of weeks or months. However, if USAA doesn’t offer you a fair settlement or contests liability, then it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. In this situation, it could take a year or longer to resolve your claim.
The lawyers of DuBoff & Associates have the trial experience and legal acumen necessary to settle cases for our clients quickly and for top dollar. We know how difficult it can be to manage finances after a car accident, which is why we work so hard to help our clients get the money that they need as soon as possible. Call our office today at 301-495-3131 for a free consultation.
After a car accident, you may not know where to turn for help. You may even be tempted to accept the first offer that USAA makes just so you can move forward with your life. Our law firm is here for you.
With offices in Silver Spring and Baltimore, DuBoff & Associates represents individuals who have been hurt in all types of accidents. We are aggressive advocates who fight to ensure that our clients get top dollar for their claims. If you have questions about your USAA accident claim, schedule a consultation with a Maryland car accident lawyer by calling 301-495-3131 or by filling out our online contact form.Filed Under: