No amount of creative advertising can obscure the truth about Allstate. The slogans that tell people they are in good hands certainly do not apply to people filing a claim against an Allstate insurance policy. Whether it is auto insurance or homeowner’s policy does not matter. Allstate treats every claim the same.
The American Association for Justice ranks the nation’s worst insurance companies, both for policyholders and third-party claimants. It calls Allstate the worst insurance company in America, based on an analysis of court documents, FBI records, and testimony from former insurance employees.
Allstate tries to use both lowball settlement offers and a hardball litigation strategy. The company uses the same tactics when third parties try to get the compensation they deserve after an accident. Allstate views its first obligation as one to its shareholders. In the company’s view, if it can save a chunk of money on each claim, it can enhance its profits and drive up its share price. When you are an injured claimant, you are in Allstate’s way and interfering with its mission.
Allstate also tries to delay your claims to get you to take less. They try to take advantage of the fact that they have the money you want and need. Allstate takes a long time to process claims and respond compared to other insurance companies. If you file a demand letter, you should not expect to hear back from Allstate for quite some time – sometimes up to six months.
The only way to deal with a company like Allstate is to lawyer up. Otherwise, they will run roughshod over you. Allstate loves it when claimants come to them on their own without a lawyer. They will shortchange you whenever possible and try to even make you grateful for it. When you hire an experienced attorney, they will go toe-to-toe with Allstate and not let the insurance giant get away with any trick at your expense.
Our lawyers will begin handling your case by speaking to you and learning everything that we can about your case and your situation. We will review the facts and begin to advise you about your legal options. We will work closely with you from the very beginning because we know that an attorney and their client working closely with each other make the most effective team.
Much of your claim is the preparation that your attorney does before it is even submitted. You can only match the insurance company at its own game if you have nearly as much information as they have. Of course, you will not have up-to-date nationwide information about claim values that the insurance company has, but you have an experienced professional who knows how to value your damages. Before we file your claim, we review your claim extensively, working with experts when necessary to come up with a number for your damages.
Most often, we will file a formal demand letter with your claim instead of proceeding more informally. Filing a demand letter shows Allstate that you mean business. Even though it may add more time to your case, you need to show Allstate that you are serious. When they see a well-written demand letter written by an experienced lawyer, Allstate may take your claim more seriously.
Your Allstate claim should pay you for:
The value of an accident and injury claim can vary widely depending on your circumstances. You should not be worried about what someone else received for their injuries, as your situation is unique. Our attorneys determine the value of your damages through careful research and calculations. We bring our experience with injury claims to help each client seek the full amount they deserve.
If you receive a settlement offer from Allstate, your lawyer will take the time to evaluate it. Allstate will estimate what they believe you deserve for each of the individual line items of your claim. Your lawyer will compare Allstate’s numbers to what your attorney believes your case is worth.
Chances are that there will be a wide gap between your numbers and Allstate’s. The insurance company knows what your claim is worth and is trying to offer you less because they want to save money.
We will point out to you exactly where Allstate’s numbers fall short. We will give you our opinion about whether you should accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer. Most often, the answer to that question will be no, as the first settlement offer is far short of what it will take to fully compensate you for your injuries.
What Allstate wants is for you to jump at whatever they offer. Many people who do not have an attorney working for them do exactly that. Once you sign the settlement agreement, you have given away your legal rights to compensation for your injuries because you have signed a release form. Many people do not get a personal injury attorney to represent them and end up paying for it with a much lower settlement. One of the chief tasks of your personal injury lawyer is to keep you from settling your case for too little.
The important thing to know when you file an Allstate claim is that you can push back or say no. You are not subservient to the insurance company or less powerful than they are. In fact, when the other driver was to blame for the accident, you may be in the figurative driver’s seat. You have a legal right to full and fair compensation that the insurance company cannot take from you. The insurance company does not get to dictate anything to you. They need to reach a settlement agreement with you, or they risk having your case go to a jury. A jury may award you more damages than the insurance company might need to offer to settle your claim.
We are not afraid to turn the pressure up on large companies like Allstate. Even though Allstate takes in over $50 billion per year in revenue and has an entire stable of insurance defense firms at its disposal, we do not hesitate to fight them when they are trying to shortchange you. We know that Allstate does not want to go into litigation if it can avoid it. Companies like Allstate try to push the envelope as far as possible without ultimately pushing you to court.
If Allstate delays your case for too long or shows that it is not serious about substantive settlement discussion, we will not hesitate to go to court. Filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that your case will go to a trial because over 90 percent of personal injury cases settle before they ever reach the jury. However, filing a lawsuit will begin the legal process and set the wheel in motion for a trial if your case goes that far.
When that happens, Allstate has even more motivation to settle. Not only does Allstate risk a large verdict, but it can end up on the wrong side of a bad faith claim from its own policyholder if it should have settled your claim and did not.
Litigation will increase Allstate’s cost of doing business. Allstate works with many insurance defense firms, paying 60 percent of the firm’s fee upfront for cases. Senior attorneys can charge up to $400 per hour in automobile tort cases. While your attorney works on a contingency basis, a defense attorney does not. They get paid for their time on a case, whether on an hourly basis or a flat fee.
Allstate does everything that it can to reduce its own legal fees. The company has a legal obligation to pay an attorney to defend its policyholders, so it wants to avoid litigation expenses when it can. We know that and try to take full advantage of that during settlement negotiations. We understand the pressure points on an insurance company, and we do not hesitate to use them.
Allstate sometimes faces bad faith insurance claims for its errors in handling claims and defending its own policyholders. In one case, an accident victim who suffered an amputation won a large verdict against the responsible driver when Allstate delayed and refused to settle the case. The driver then turned around and sued Allstate in a bad faith claim and was awarded damages.
Our lawyers know how to put pressure on an insurance company, knowing that it ultimately has to answer to someone. While insurance companies often act badly, bad faith is still rare because you have a very high burden of proof that you must meet. Nonetheless, bad faith is a weapon in your arsenal when insurance companies act badly. Companies like Allstate often face lawsuits for their own business practices.
The important thing is that you hire an attorney to go up against Allstate. On your own, you will likely be an easy mark for this giant company. Their profit margins depend on skimping on claims whenever they can, and they do this most often with self-represented claimants. Without an attorney, you may not even be in a position to negotiate a settlement because you might not gather enough evidence to fully prove liability in your case.
The best thing for you is that hiring a personal injury lawyer does not cost you any money upfront. While Allstate must pay its own attorneys, your attorney does not charge you anything unless you win the case. You can file a personal injury claim without money out of your own pocket. The contingency system of legal representation is critical for you when you are struggling with the financial costs of a car accident.
The most important step to take is when you call an attorney to schedule your free initial consultation. You will find that our attorneys are up to the task of taking on a large company like Allstate that tries to profit at your expense. Our attorneys are committed to fighting for you every step of the way because that is what it takes to get a fair settlement from Allstate.
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