Like most of us, you are likely familiar with the many auto insurance commercials we see regularly. Most of these commercials want you to believe that if you have a car accident, your insurance company will be there for you. We want to believe our insurance company will be in our corner, fighting for us, as well because, after all, haven’t we paid our premiums faithfully for years—or even decades? Unfortunately, the reality can be significantly different than the commercials. You may find your insurance company unresponsive, or even downright contrary, when they refuse to pay a reasonable amount for your injuries and damages. Of course, this can be extremely dismaying. You may be severely injured, even unable to work, watching your regular monthly bills mount alarmingly—not to mention your medical bills—and have no idea where to turn. Whatever insurance company you have, you may want to consider speaking to an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney who will be in your corner, and who really does care about your future.
Safeco Insurance began with the name “General Insurance Company of America,” in 1923, in Seattle, Washington, and was known as “The General” until 1953, when a subsidiary was created, known as Selective Auto and Fire Insurance Company of America, or SAFECO. The General’s competitive prices and outstanding service resulted in the business spreading from Seattle, down the West Coast to Southern California, and as far east as Connecticut. Safeco credits it success to computer automation tools, entering the life insurance business, and to offering mutual funds and commercial lines of credit in the late 1960’s. Safeco acquired American States Financial Corporation in 1997, effectively doubling the number of agents, and significantly increasing their presence east of the Rocky Mountains.
The late 1990’s were hard on Safeco, and in order to recover financially, Safeco returned to the tenets of its founder, H. K. Dent—automated technology, disciplined underwriting, and competitive pricing. The strategies worked, and by 2002, Safeco had not only recovered financially, but was growing by leaps and bounds. In 2004, Safeco sold their investments and life insurance division and began focusing strictly on property insurance, casualty insurance and surety bonds. Finally, in 2008, Safeco became a part of Liberty Mutual, enabling Safeco to focus exclusively on personal insurance.
As a member of the Liberty Mutual Group—the fifth largest property and casualty insurer in the United States—Safeco is generally ranked as having competitive ranks, and better-than-average customer service and claims service. There are a few complaints which center around Safeco underpaying claims, however overall, customers seem happy with their Safeco insurance. Safeco currently has more than 4 million customers nationwide, with assets of over $6 billion. Safeco has received a rating of “A-“ from Standard and Poor, “A2” from Moody’s, and “A” (excellent) from A.M. Best. Safeco typically offers a number of attractive auto insurance discounts to policy holders, including package discounts, safe driving discounts and teen driving discounts. While Safeco is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, its parent company, Liberty Mutual, is, with an “A” rating.
What to Do Following a Car Accident
First and foremost, if you are involved in a car accident in the state of Tennessee, you must never leave the scene of the accident. Often, the other driver will attempt to persuade you that since the damage to the vehicles isn’t “that bad,” you would be better off to skip calling the police, and simply exchange insurance information. This is a bad idea on several levels. Your injuries may be more extensive than you realize, due to the shot of adrenaline which floods your body when a car accident occurs. Once the adrenaline wears off, you may find you are not nearly as “fine” as you thought, and may end up paying your medical expenses from your own pocket.
Further, you could find that the other person didn’t actually have auto insurance—as many as 20 percent of Tennessee drivers do not. Then, when you attempt to have your own car insurance company pay, they may balk because there is no police report or other official record of the accident. While everyone is busy in today’s world, not taking the time to contact the police and have a report of the accident can end up costing you dearly. Following your auto accident, if your vehicle can be safely moved out of the way of traffic, do so. Try not to panic as you assess the situation.
If anyone needs medical assistance, take care of this first, by dialing 911. Next, if you are able, you can contact the local Tennessee police department, sheriff’s department or highway patrol. Exchange information with the other driver, including contact details, driver’s license number, license plate number of the vehicles involved, and auto insurance information. Again, if you are physically able, take the time to use your cell phone and photograph the scene of the accident. These photos could end up being an invaluable resource for your eventual auto injury claim. It is important to remember that the state of Tennessee has one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the U.S.—one year from the date of the accident. This means you have only one year from the time your accident occurs, in which to file a claim for your injuries and damages. If you miss this narrow window of opportunity, you will find yourself unable to file a claim at all.
How Martinson & Beason Can Help After Your Auto Accident
If you have ever been involved in an auto accident, you are probably aware how difficult it can be to remain calm, then deal with all the issues you must deal with following the accident. Perhaps you are dealing with serious injuries, and may even be unable to return to work and support yourself and your family. A top-rated Tennessee car accident lawyer from the law firm of Martinson & Beason can ensure you are treated fairly following your accident, taking care of all the details of your accident while you are allowed to heal from your injuries. We understand how difficult it can be to be left with a mountain of bills and nowhere to turn. Our attorneys are compassionate regarding your situation, experienced negotiators, and, when necessary, aggressive litigators. For all this and more, call Martinson & Beason today.