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Like other large insurers, Allstate has the resources to fight every personal injury claim to the bitter end. If your injuries appear out of proportion to the impact or the accident involves disputed liability, which will make your experience with Allstate challenging and frustrating.
Insurance companies look to make money and Allstate is no different. Where they are different 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 and car accident settlements.
Allstate Insurance 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. It currently employs 51,400 people and has been in operation since 1931.
The company came under serious scrutiny 10 years ago when former employees reported a strategy of “deny, delay, defend” when managing claims.CNNinvestigated these claims and found the company mainly took this approach with soft tissue injuries resulting from low-impact accidents. Adjusters were encouraged to assume that every claim of this type was fraudulent.
In 2008, the American Association for Justice ranked Allstate 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, 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 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 claims with more fairness and less judgment.
Allstate is an aggressive opponent when it comes to settling personal injury claims. It 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. Your case will depend heavily on documentation and witness statements.
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 adjusters determine the value of a claim using mathematical formulas.
However, Allstate did not use this 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 software, there is no way to know if these policies have any effect on settlement strategies.
Therefore, the first challenge with Allstate is to get past the initial estimates. Adjusters are encouraged to start with low offers and resist budging past the Colossus figures. 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 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.
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 settlement leeway than the adjusters. This can result in better offers.
When it comes to companies like Allstate, you are unlikely to be taken seriously unless you hire an attorney. 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.
You also need to remember that your claim 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, the only way they are heard and able to present a full case is to hire an attorney.
DuBoff & Associates, Chtd.faces Allstate in personal injury lawsuits frequently and knows how to put our clients’ best interests in the spotlight. Do not risk going up against this behemoth alone–hire a law firm who can hire them. Contact our officetoday to discuss your claim against Allstate.Filed Under: