Progressive is one of the top 5 largest car insurance companies in the United States. After a Georgia car accident, you may be wondering what to expect if you find yourself dealing with Progressive. Maybe the other driver has Progressive, or maybe you yourself have it and have never had to make a claim. Whether you are dealing with Progressive for the first time or not, you should be aware that you need the advice and representation of a personal injury attorney after an accident. All insurance companies want to save money on your claim by paying you as little money as possible. Progressive is no different. In fact, in our experience, Progressive is one of the worst insurance companies for paying bodily injury claims. If you are dealing with Progressive after a car accident, there are some basic things you should know, including how to open a claim and how your property damage and personal injury claim will be handled.
Opening a Claim with Progressive
Progressive’s claims reporting number is 1-800-274-4499. When you call, a representative will take in your information and the information about the accident. The initial information will help Progressive set up its file and begin its investigation. Some of the questions you will likely get will ask for the identity of the people involved in the accident, the vehicles involved, whether there are any witnesses, whether the police issued any citations, and whether anybody was hurt.
In addition to being able to call to open a claim, Progressive policyholders can log in to the Progressive website and report and track their claim.
Progressive’s Investigation of Your Claim
As with most insurance companies, Progressive will begin its investigation of your accident as soon as the claim is opened. Progressive will want to determine who was at fault. As part of its investigation Progressive will obtain a copy of the police report and interview any witnesses and the parties involved. Progressive will try to take a recorded statement of you. Never give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you are dealing with Progressive as your insurance company, then you may have to give a recorded statement upon request. Your insurance policy may require this. In serious accident cases, Progressive may even retain an expert accident reconstructionist to inspect the vehicles and the accident scene.
Progressive will determine who was at fault after it has completed its investigation. In some cases, this determination is relatively simple. However, in other cases, it is not so simple—at least that is what the insurance company would like for you to believe. Do not be surprised if Progressive determines that two or more drivers were at fault. If it does this, it will assign percentages of fault to the drivers it thinks are to blame. If you were one of the drivers, it may determine you were at least partially at fault. Under Georgia law, an injured person can recover damages for an accident as long as he or she is less than 50% at fault. If the injured person was 50% or more to blame then the injured person cannot recover damages. This is known as comparative fault. Progressive may use its comparative fault determination to reduce what it has to pay you for your property damage or personal injury claim.
Property Damage Claims with Progressive
Taking care of your property damage claim will be one of the first orders of business for Progressive. Georgia law allows insurers to resolve a property damage claim and leave the personal injury claim open. The reason for this is that people need transportation, and property damage claims can normally be resolved quickly after an accident. Personal injury claims, on the other hand, may taken more time because the injured person may be continuing to receive treatment.
You will need a rental car while your car is being repaired or replaced. The person who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the loss of use of your vehicle, so their insurance company should pay for your rental car. If you are going through your own insurance company to handle the property damage claim then you may or may not be entitled to a rental car. This will depend on the type of coverage you have on your car insurance policy. Some people have rental car coverage and others do not.
After Progressive inspects your vehicle’s damage and provides an estimate for the repairs, it will arrange for your car to be repaired. It may try to manage the repairs at a Progressive Service Center or at one its repair shops in its network. You can also get your car fixed at a repair facility of your choosing. Progressive may determine that the damage to your vehicle is too extensive to be repaired. In that situation, it will total your car and pay you the cash value of your vehicle.
Please be aware that you may be entitled to diminished value damages if your car is repaired. Diminished value means the reduction in value of your vehicle due to the fact it was damaged in an accident. The amount of a diminished value claim depends on a number of factors, including the make and model of the car, its condition, the car’s mileage, and the amount of damage.
Personal Injury Claims with Progressive
Personal injury claims should never be handled alone, ever. You need a personal injury attorney representing your interests if you were hurt. This is particularly true when dealing with Progressive. We have seen Progressive try to pull out every trick in the book to avoid full responsibility for paying an injured person’s damages.
In any personal injury claim, including car accidents, the value of your claim depends on your damages. Damages normally include both economic and non-economic components. Economic damages include medical bills and lost wages, in addition to other out of pocket costs. Economic damages are normally easier to measure because they have a specific dollar amount. Nevertheless, Progressive may dispute the amount your doctors charged for your medical bills by claiming the charges were not “reasonable and customary.” If this argument sounds absurd, it is. You do not have control over what your doctor charges, and Georgia law says you are entitled to claim the full amount of your medical bills. You do not need to have a billing expert prove that the charges were “reasonable.”
Progressive may also challenge the amount of your lost wages using a variety of tactics. For example, it may argue that you cannot claim lost wages if you cannot produce a written note from a doctor holding you out of work. This is not true. It may also try to argue you cannot claim lost wages if you received compensation for your missed time from work through a disability policy or by using sick leave or PTO days.
In addition to your economic damages, the other category of damages you are entitled to claim is non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, bodily disfigurement, and diminished capacity to labor. These damages are not capable of an exact measurement like economic losses are. This can result in broad differences in opinion on the value of these damages. Not surprisingly, Progressive will downplay your non-economic damages and argue you are entitled to little or no money for these damages. Do not be surprised if Progressive tries to offer you hundreds of dollars, or maybe even a few thousand dollars, for your pain and suffering damages. We have seen cases where Progressive has tried to pay $1,000 or less in cases that involved moderate injuries that were worth many times more than what Progressive offered.
You should never try to determine the total amount of your damages and settle your personal injury claim before you are done receiving medical treatment. When you complete treatment, you (and hopefully the personal injury attorney you hired) can discuss how much your case is worth and how much to demand. Once the demand is sent to Progressive asking for a specific amount of money, the Progressive adjuster handling your claim will review the demand. In response, the adjuster will either pay it or make a counteroffer.
Progressive will want you to sign a release if it reaches a settlement with you. The type of release you sign and the language that should be in the release depends on a number of factors. If you sign the wrong release you could potentially be losing the opportunity for additional compensation.
If Progressive is your insurance company, you may have a couple of different types of coverage that can provide benefits for your injury claim. One of these is uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage can be used if the at-fault driver either has no insurance or not enough insurance to pay all of your damages. You may also have medical payments coverage—commonly referred to as “med pay.” Med pay is basically health insurance for you if you are in a car accident. It can be used to pay your medical bills, regardless of what was at fault.
If you are in a Georgia car accident, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Whether the at-fault driver’s insurance company is Progressive or some other insurer, the insurance company’s number one objective will be to pay you as little money as possible. Contact the experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Brogdon Champion, LLC today for a free consultation about your accident case.