With over 16 million insured individuals under their umbrella, the odds are good that if you are involved in an accident, Allstate will be the other party’s insurance company. While Allstate is widely used, it has also been widely criticized. Allstate takes care of its corporate executives more than it does its customers and impacted car accident victims. If you have been injured in a car accident and are struggling to get a fair settlement, or even the coverage and support that you are entitled to, hiring a personal injury lawyer can help expedite the process and get you the settlement you deserve. It is especially helpful to have a lawyer for Allstate accident claims who has handled hundreds of similar claims before, as they are familiar with their process and system and have first-hand knowledge of what constitutes a fair settlement.
If you are in an accident with a driver who is insured by Allstate, you will be contacted by an insurance adjuster. This applies to many kinds of accidents, including:
If you have been injured in an Ohio accident that was not your fault, you are likely being bombarded by a lot of unknowns, but one thing is for certain. If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, they (and, by proxy, their insurance company) are responsible for all financial damages that you incur as a result of the accident. The insurance company may not always be forthcoming or generous in responding to your claim, but that does not mean that your claim is not worth more. It just means that you may benefit from having a legal advocate on your side to level the playing field and help you get you what you are owed due to their client’s negligence.
It can be hard to know what to do in the aftermath of an Ohio car accident. You may be injured, shaken up, or in a state of shock. However, if you are physically able, the scene of the accident can be a good time to collect evidence and take actions that will help significantly strengthen your claim.
First, it is a good idea to take photos and videos of all damage to both vehicles, as well as their license plates and the larger accident scene. Pay attention to any lights or traffic signals at the scene that could be relevant to determining who was responsible for the accident. Skid marks, and where debris is on the road, can also be relevant, so make sure to get thorough documentation.
Collect the name and contact information of the other drivers involved. You can photograph their licenses, insurance cards, and registrations to ensure that all the information you get is accurate. You should also get the names and contact information of any other people who may have seen the accident, and make a note of any security or traffic cameras that you see in the area.
If you have reason to believe that the other driver may be drunk, make sure to tell the 911 operator when you call to report the crash. You can also tell the officers when they respond to the scene so that they can be sure to give the other driver a breathalyzer.
Next, it is important to get medical help. Even if you do not believe you are seriously injured, it is important to be evaluated by a doctor. Keep all documentation from your appointment as it will become relevant if you need to move forward with a claim. The next step is to contact a car accident lawyer to schedule a consultation.
There is no limit to the kinds of injuries that can result from a vehicle collision. Injuries can be severe and even permanent. The likelihood of injury is even higher in situations that involve a motorcycle or pedestrian. It is always important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding, organ damage, and traumatic brain injuries, as well as soft tissue injuries, are not immediately apparent after a crash, but that does not mean that they do not require prompt medical attention. This is why it is important not to rely on your own judgment after an accident–after all, your brain might be bleeding or swollen–just remember to go to a hospital or see your doctor right away.
Common injuries experienced in car accidents include:
Allstate insurance claims adjusters may seem like any other insurance agent or customer service representative, but it is important to understand that they are not on your side. Do not mistake an insurance claims adjuster as an advocate. Allstate’s insurance claims adjusters’ allegiance is to Allstate. Part of the reason why Allstate has faced criticism is because they have such a large bottom line. They do not retain such a high profit margin by paying out all of the claims that are filed with them. Rather, they will try to find ways to avoid paying out claims, deny coverage, or offer low-ball settlements.
When talking to Allstate claims adjusters, it is important to say as little as possible and to stick to the facts. If they ask for access to your medical records, do not grant it. This access would give them access to five years of your medical records, and their only motivation in asking is to find ways to try and prove that your injuries existed before the accident so that they do not have to compensate you. Some questions may seem like friendly small talk, but they are really designed to get incriminating information that can be used to limit your damages.
One thing that many people do not know is that you actually do not even have to talk to an insurance claims adjuster. You can request their questions in writing and respond in writing, or you can retain a lawyer and have them take over communications with the insurance company. Claims adjusters often create a false sense of urgency, trying to get you to settle before you have full and complete information on your injuries and what treatment will be required to recover from them. They also know that the sooner they offer you a settlement, the less likely you are to have an attorney to review it. The faster they act, the less they can get you to settle for.
Personal injury attorneys experienced at handling Allstate claims have learned Allstate’s formula for calculating and making initial settlement offers. Allstate considers a number of factors, including the date you first received medical attention and how close in time that was to the accident. If significant time passed between the accident and you seeking medical care, it can indicate that the pain was not serious enough to warrant medical help sooner, or that you yourself did not take the injuries seriously. Additionally, the more time that passes between the accident and medical attention, the more possible causes other than the car accident can be called into question as the cause of the injury. The closer in proximity that the medical care is to the car accident, the clearer the connection between the car accident and the injuries is.
Allstate will also look at the name of any medical providers and specialists that you saw, any medications or treatments that you were prescribed and the frequency of treatments, visits, and medication, and the average cost of similar medical care in your area. They will also weigh any documentation reflecting the adverse impact that the accident and resulting injuries have had on your life. Your lawyer can help you prepare these and ensure that your claim is as thorough as possible.
Finally, and importantly, Allstate actually considers in making your initial settlement offer whether you are represented by a lawyer. The fact that this is a factor in the amount that they offer you, it is safe to say that having a lawyer can positively impact the amount of the settlement offer that you receive. If you have a lawyer, you are also not likely to accept the first settlement offer, as there may be negotiation or a lawsuit involved. This can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that lead people to accidentally accept lowball insurance settlements for corporate insurance giants like Allstate without knowing any better. It is easy to understand how this could happen, though, because settlements are so highly dependent on the specific circumstances of each case that it can be hard to get an idea of what an appropriate settlement would be for you. Settlement amount data is also not readily accessible, so it is hard to get an idea of what a comparable case would settle for unless you are an attorney who deals with things like this for a living.
How much Allstate offers to settle your claim for and how much your claim is worth are two totally different questions. As noted above, Allstate calculates your initial claim based on a limited number of factors. It is up to you whether you want to accept that amount, but you are entitled to more. In reality, should you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you are entitled to compensation for all expenses incurred as a result of your injury. This includes all hospital bills, costs of treatments, surgery, medications, and the cost of transportation to and from appointments.
Economic damages also include lost wages if you had to take time off of work to recover from your injuries, and lost earning potential if you will be unable to return to the same job that you had before. You can also receive compensation for pain and suffering. The amount of damages for pain and suffering are determined based on your total economic damages as multiplied by a factor based on the severity and permanence of your injuries. The more permanent and severe your injuries are, the higher your pain and suffering damages will be.
In some cases, you may also be able to receive punitive damages, which are designed to punish the offender for particularly reckless behavior and deter others from acting similarly. The best way to get an accurate estimate of the value of your claim is to consult with an Ohio personal injury attorney so that they can weigh all of the relevant facts in your case and give you a clear idea of whether you have a claim, what the value is, and how best to move forward.
The insurance claim process can be far more complicated than it should be. It can be even harder to navigate when there are multiple cars or other unique factors involved. Having an experienced Ohio personal injury attorney to help you navigate the process, level the playing field between you and the Allstate insurance claims adjuster, and fight to get you the full amount of compensation that you are entitled to can make all the difference. A lawyer can help you get coverage for your claim and put the strongest possible claim forward, taking appropriate legal action when necessary. Our attorneys are used to dealing with Allstate insurance agents and understand what goes into the negotiation process and how to get you a fair settlement.
If you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault in the City of Hamilton, Butler County, or greater Ohio area, and you are struggling to get the coverage or insurance settlement that you believe you are entitled to from Allstate or another insurance agency, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges want to hear from you. Contact the Law Firm of Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a consultation.