If you are an Allstate-insured driver, you would expect cooperation when a serious accident forces you to file a claim. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, even when you’ve suffered a blunt head injury, spinal cord injury, and other trauma and need the cash benefits to cover your treatment.
Like other large insurers, Allstate Insurance Company has the resources to fight every personal injury claim to the bitter end, even with an Allstate-insured driver who has always paid their premiums on time and has a good insurance history. If your injuries appear out of proportion to the impact or the accident involves disputed liability, it will make your experience with Allstate challenging and frustrating, especially if you require ongoing medical care or are dealing with a permanent injury after an accident with a negligent driver.
Insurance companies look to make money and Allstate is no different. Where they are different from other insurance carriers is with the criticism they faced for claims handling over 10 years ago. However, that has not changed their aggressive approach except to make their strategies less obvious. Here is what you need to know about Allstate Insurance Company, its adversarial approach to car accident settlements, and how the dedicated lawyers from our firm can help when an insurance adjuster says, “No.”
Allstate Insurance Company is the second-largest personal carrier in the U.S. with a market share of 12 percent of all U.S. home and auto insurance policies. As one of the largest insurance companies, it currently employs 51,400 people, has been in operation since 1931, and provides auto insurance coverage to thousands.
This automobile insurance company came under serious scrutiny 10 years ago when former employees reported a strategy of “deny, delay, defend” when managing accident claims against any insurance policy.
CNN investigated these claims and found the auto insurance carrier mainly took this approach with soft tissue injuries resulting from low-impact accidents. Adjusters were encouraged to assume that every liability claim for this type of accident was fraudulent and resist claim settlement.
In 2008, the American Association for Justice ranked Allstate Insurance Company the worst insurer for consumers. Besides the hardball approaches to settling claims, the report also cited premium increases and extravagant salaries for executives as other evidence that Allstate was more interested in profit than in providing a good service for customers and claimants.
An expose on Allstate Insurance Company, titled From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves, detailed many of these incidents. The claims in the book are frequently disputed by those in the insurance and business communities. It is believed that these practices are no different from other auto insurance companies looking to preserve their bottom line.
This colorful past has done little to change Allstate’s practices, although it is not as willing to advertise them. Criticism has not been enough to make them handle Allstate-insured driver claims with more fairness and less judgment, no matter how good your insurance history.
Allstate is an aggressive opponent when it comes to settling personal injury claims for medical care and other damages such as:
It doesn’t matter whether you are making the claim against your own automobile insurance policy (in a no-fault state or accidents involving uninsured motorists) or that of the at-fault driver: your experience with the claims adjuster will start with the assumption that you are wrong or exaggerating your pain. If liability for the accident is disputed, do not expect your case to conclude quickly. As an injured party, your case will depend heavily on documentation and witness statements confirming that you were hurt by a negligent driver.
You also need to be aware of how Allstate values claims. Another criticism against it involved its use of the Colossus software. This tool helps an insurance adjuster determine the value of a claim and make a settlement estimate using mathematical formulas.
However, Allstate did not use this settlement estimate tool fairly. In 2010, it paid a regulatory settlement of $10 million dollars to 45 states for using Colossus inconsistently. While the company indicated that it would encourage balanced and consistent use of the settlement calculator software, there is no way to know if these policies have any effect on settlement offers and strategies.
Therefore, the first challenge with Allstate is to get past the initial settlement calculator estimates for your medical expenses and other damages. Insurance agents are encouraged to start with low offers and resist budging past the Colossus figures for injury settlements. Even if you have a pre-existing condition that would make an injury worse than normal for you, these distinct circumstances may not be considered without a fight.
If you hope to secure a fair settlement from an auto insurer like Allstate, you need evidence. Medical records, counseling notes, and any pain diaries you maintained during your recovery may prove vital. The same is true of police reports and witness statements–so if you know someone witnessed your accident, name them. Even with a well-presented and documented case, you can still expect to be questioned at each step of negotiation by the claims adjuster, which is stressful for an injured person.
Although every case varies, you may be looking at anywhere from a month to two years to finally reach a settlement. Cases that are basic claims for property damage with no bodily injury can be resolved in a matter of weeks while cases involving serious injuries often take longer.
One of the biggest reasons that settlements can take some time is because you have to complete medical treatments and achieve your maximum level of improvement, or you have to have recovered completely. When a severe injury has occurred, these treatments can take weeks or months. The maximum amount of compensation that can be sought can only be determined once Allstate receives your total medical bills.
Do not be surprised if it requires filing a lawsuit for real settlement negotiations to begin. The good news with this development is defense counsel usually has more claim settlement leeway than the adjusters. This can result in better offers for losses like medical expenses and property damage once the company learns that you have legal representation.
Making a call to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident can help bring about a better outcome. As soon as you hear from a claims adjuster about your claim against your uninsured motorist coverage or any other part of your policy, tell them that your car accident attorney will be in touch.
If you file a claim with Allstate after an injury, you should know what you can expect to receive in terms of settlement payouts. Property damage claims usually only cover the costs of repairing your car and replacing any belongings in it. In the event of an injury, you may qualify for coverage for:
In addition, if Allstate does not act in good faith, you may be able to sue them for bad faith.
When it comes to liability insurers like Allstate Insurance, you are unlikely to be taken seriously by a claims adjuster unless you hire a personal injury attorney. Without legal representation, you may never hear back from an adjuster in a timely manner and you may face pressure to settle before you finish treatment. Neither of these developments works well in your favor and may just enhance your frustration as your medical expenses go up.
You also need to remember that your claim for compensation is reduced to what a software program determines as its value. Even if there are factors that make your injuries and their impacts more serious, adjusters are reluctant to consider them. For many clients who have been injured by a careless driver, the only way they are heard and able to present a full case is to hire an accident attorney.
The accident lawyers at DuBoff & Associates, Chtd. face Allstate in personal injury lawsuits frequently and knows how to put our clients’ best interests in the spotlight. Do not risk going up against a claims adjuster from this behemoth alone–hire a law firm with experienced and dedicated lawyers who can fight them.
Contact our office today to discuss your claim against Allstate.Filed Under: