Getting injured in an accident is an incredibly stressful situation. The injuries themselves are painful, and so are the treatments. You will have to miss hours from work, and you may have extra expenses for help around the house.
In most cases, you will file an insurance claim to help pay your bills. An insurance company is a for-profit business that wants to keep its money in-house. The larger an insurance company is, the better its cost-containment strategies. Hence, They are unlikely to offer you as much money as you deserve after an accident.
Allstate Insurance is one of the largest insurance providers in the United States. If you are filing a claim with them, it is helpful to know Allstate insurance claims policies and procedures.
Filing an Insurance Claim
There are two types of insurance laws in the United States; fault and no fault. If you live in a fault state, the person who caused the accident is responsible for its related bills.
If you live in a no-fault state, your own insurance should cover medical bills. Most states go by the fault rule. However, 13 states go by the no-fault rule. They are:
- North Dakota
- New Jersey
If you live in a no-fault state, you will file your claim with your own insurance company. If you live in a fault state and the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, you will file your claim with their insurance company.
If you are responsible for an accident in a fault state and have personal injury protection insurance, you will call your insurance company.
You will call Allstate at 1-800-255-7828 any time of day or night to file your claim. You will speak with a representative who will ask you for some basic information about your claim. They will ask you to send in documentation of your accident. That documentation should include:
- The accident report
- Photos of the scene
- Phone numbers of witnesses
- All medical bills related to the accident
- Medical reports
- Physical therapy progress reports
- A letter from your employer stating the number of hours you have missed from work
- Receipts from medications
- Receipts from maid service and ride share service you need due to your accident
Allstate will assign your case to an insurance adjuster. Most states have set timetables for when an insurance company must acknowledge your claim, investigate, and decide if the claim will be honored.
For example, in Florida, an insurance company has 14 days to acknowledge your claim, 90 days to decide whether to approve or deny it, and 20 days to pay you after that.
Calling a lawyer before you ever call your insurance company is a good idea. They can look at the evidence and tell you how much your claim is worth. They can also call the insurance company on your behalf.
What an Insurance Investigator Will Look At
The first thing an insurance adjuster will do is give you a call. They will ask you a series of questions about your accident. Some of the questions are designed to trip you up. They may try to get you to claim that you were responsible for the accident or that your injuries were pre-existing.
You should never let an adjuster pressure you into answering a question to which you do not know the answers. You should not let them pressure you into changing an answer.
The adjuster is likely to ask if they can record the conversation. You are under no obligation to let them. Most attorneys would advise you not to let them record a call.
An insurance adjuster will call the other driver and all of the witnesses who saw the accident. They will look at the accident report and call the police officer who arrived at the scene.
They will call your doctor and physical therapist to authenticate the documentation you have provided. They will also call your employer to ensure that the letter they wrote for you is legitimate. They will validate any receipts you have given them as well. They may look at your medical history.
If everything is validated, the insurance adjuster will approve the claim and try to determine the amount of money you should get.
The Software Allstate Uses
Just like people in so many professions, insurance adjusters follow the dictates of a computer program to do their job. Allstate uses a program called Colossus. The program relies on a large database of past accident records to determine the amount of compensation you should receive for your injuries.
In some cases, you may have an injury that has not been documented in the Colossus database. This will make it more difficult for an adjuster to determine how much money you should get. The amount they offer you will often be too low.
Offering You a Settlement
The insurance adjuster will call you or write to you and offer you a settlement amount. You should never accept the settlement without talking to a personal injury attorney if you have not already.
A personal injury attorney can often get you more money than the insurance company will offer. They will have years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies. If they negotiate and still cannot reach a fair settlement, a lawyer can represent you in a lawsuit. In the vast majority of cases, they will be able to settle out of court.
If you do go to court, a lawyer will be able to subpoena the insurance company’s records. They will have access to expert witnesses, such as doctors and forensic experts.
Dealing with insurance companies is almost as painful as getting injured in an accident. It can take months or even years to get money from an insurance company. If you collect all the evidence you can and hire a great lawyer, you can get the money you are owed.