If you polled Maryland personal injury lawyers who handle car accident cases, most would choose Allstate as the “worst of the worst” among insurance companies to deal with on accident claims.
Personally, while I would not put Allstate at the top of my list of insurance companies I want to draw, I would not put them last, either. Don’t get me wrong. They are awful, and I hate them. Our lawyers sue them and their insureds all the time. But we are speaking in relative terms? Who are the worst three insurance companies to deal with in Maryland? Allstate is not on my list.
This post gives practical thoughts about Allstate claims in Maryland and includes a plug of why you should – in serious injury cases, anyway – hire a lawyer for your Allstate injury claim.
Navigating Allstate Claims After a Car Accident
Allstate is one of the largest insurance providers in Maryland, rivaling GEICO. It handles thousands of car accident claims every year. As a car accident victim, you may find yourself dealing with Allstate if the at-fault driver is insured by them or if you have your own policy with the company. Understanding how Allstate manages claims and knowing what to expect can help you confidently navigate the claims process.
Reporting the Claim
The first step in the claims process is reporting the accident to Allstate. You can file a claim online, through the Allstate mobile app, by calling their 24/7 claims hotline, or by contacting your local Allstate agent. Be prepared to provide essential information, such as the date and location of the accident, the parties involved, a description of what happened, and any available evidence, such as photos, witness statements, or police reports.
This comes with risk if you do not have a lawyer. Talking to an insurance company about the basic undisputable facts is fine. But statements about how the accident happened, or the extent and scope of your injuries are dangerous. Riskier still is giving a recorded statement to an insurance company without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. Do people do it every day? Yes. Do people make mistakes that lead to lower settlement amounts every day? Also yes.
Claim Assignment and Investigation
Once your claim has been reported, Allstate will assign a claims adjuster to your case. The adjuster is responsible for investigating the accident, determining fault, and evaluating the extent of your damages. They may contact you to discuss the accident, request additional information or documentation, and sometimes interview witnesses or visit the accident scene.
Medical Records and Documentation
Allstate will need access to your medical records and other relevant documentation to evaluate your claim. The adjuster may request copies of your medical bills, diagnostic reports, and treatment records to assess your injuries and related expenses. It is crucial to provide accurate and complete information to help ensure a fair evaluation of your claim. Keep track of all your medical expenses and any additional costs you incur as a result of the accident, such as lost wages, transportation to medical appointments, or property damage.
If you don’t have an accident lawyer, victims typically allow Allstate to collect their medical records for that. That is a mistake. A blanket HIPAA authorization allowing an insurance to access medical records and information unrelated to the accident or injury in question. This can lead to the insurer learning about pre-existing conditions or unrelated health issues, which they may use to minimize or deny your claim. Our lawyers do the legwork of collecting our clients’ medical records. It is a hassle… and well worth it.
How Allstate’s Settlement Calculator Works
A prominent complaint accident lawyers have with Allstate it is the use – and overuse – of Colossus. Colossus uses a database of historical claims data and an algorithm to calculate settlement offers based on factors such as the severity of injuries, the need for future medical treatment, and the potential for lost income. While Colossus is a valuable tool for adjusters, it cannot fully account for the unique circumstances and subjective factors associated with each case. This computer system takes human beings out of the equation and calculates injury settlements based on factors such as the injury’s severity, the victim’s age, and the victim’s accident lawyers’ record of suing and taking cases to trial.
Again, many insurance companies do the same thing; Allstate just does it a little more famously. But reliance on Colossus ignores that Allstate claims adjusters, like juries, are human beings. The computer sees things the way computers do. Juries more fully understand that every accident and every injury is different, and there are differences in how worthy the plaintiff may be of compensation. This leads to more lawsuits being filed than need to be.
Once the adjuster has completed their investigation and determined the value of your claim, Allstate will present you with a settlement offer. This offer is based on your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is essential to look over the offer carefully and consult with an experienced car accident lawyer if you think it does not adequately compensate you for your damages.
Three thoughts here. First, I think Allstate claims adjusters respect good lawyers and law firms and I think their offers reflect the quality of the counsel involved in the case. Second, if you are patient and willing to go back and forth, I think they will give you less of a low ball final offer than many other insurance companies do.
Finally, the Allstate settlement offer is a little bit more like the one you will see until you are deeper in litigation.Allstate claims adjusters, to their credit I would argue, are less likely to fold just because a lawsuit is filed. Yes, Allstate will pay more – as any insurance company is – as the case gets closer to trial – every insurer is this way. But Allstate does not have the reflexive “settlement failed, suit has been filed, let’s now make a decent offer” response that is becoming the new SOP.
The Importance of Legal Representation
Given the complexities of the claims process and the potential for insurance companies like Allstate to undervalue claims, having experienced Maryland accident lawyer at your side is crucial. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you gather the necessary documentation, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. They can also advise you on whether a settlement offer is fair, or if it’s necessary to pursue alternative dispute resolution methods or litigation.
Blah blah blah, right? Asking a lawyer if you should hire a lawyer is like asking the bartender if you should get another drink. So let’s dig into whether you really need a personal injury lawyer for your Allstate claim.
Lawyers Do Matter
The Miller & Zois name carries significant weight with insurance companies. We have a history – and we are not the only firm – of getting big settlements and verdicts. Colossus and Allstate both know this. I can’t tell you how many times when another attorney refers a case to us, the settlement offer frequently sees a dramatic increase. If you have a serious injury or wrongful death lawsuit against Allstate, you are foolish not to hire best accident lawyer you can.
But size matters, too. A good lawyer is a lot less scary to Allstate in smaller cases. Why? The reason is simple: the worst-case verdict scenario in a minor case does not pose a severe financial threat to the insurer. No employee risks losing their job or facing demotion for misjudging the value of a small claim in a Maryland state district court. While having a skilled lawyer can make a difference in any case, the impact of exceptional legal representation on pre-trial settlements is diminished in smaller cases.
This begs the question: is it worth hiring a lawyer if your medical bills amount to less than $5,000? To put it another way – the way that likely matters most to you – will you receive more than a 33% or 40% increase in your settlement by hiring an attorney, as opposed to handling the case yourself? In most cases, the answer is likely yes. But not always.
Does Allstate Make Lowball Settlement Offers in Accident Cases?
Allstate makes lowball first offers. But compared to other auto insurers (GEICO being the most notorious), claims adjusters at Allstate make better initial settlement offers to third-party claimants who are injured by one of their insured drivers than some other insurance companies.
We looked at initial offer amounts from Allstate claims handled by our firm and compared them to the medical expenses claimed. Based on this data (which is a limited sample size) Allstate’s average initial offers were about 15-25% above the medical bills. Is that utterly ridiculous? Yes. All first settlement offers are lowball offers. But this is much better than other companies which tend to make lowball initial offers that are often 25% or more below the medical expenses.
Allstate’s initial settlement offers are consistently higher and more reasonable when compared to other insurers. But if you reject Allstate’s initial settlement offer, you can expect their claims adjusters to make a deliberate effort to stall, stonewall, and frustrate your case in an attempted to bully you into accepting their offer.
Allstate’s Settlement Percentage is Higher than Other Insurers
At least in Maryland, Allstate settles a higher percentage of accident claims involving personal injuries compared to any of the other top 5 insurers. This is partly due to the fact Allstate makes better initial settlement offers, which claimants are more likely to accept. Even after the initial offer is rejected, however, Allstate is always looking to settle cases when it can. Allstate is much less willing to go through a full trial compared to other carriers. This is especially true in certain plaintiff-friendly venues such as Baltimore City.
Allstate Settlements and Verdicts in Maryland
Below are summaries of reported settlements and verdicts in auto accident cases involving Allstate. Many of these cases involve claims for uninsured motorist benefits from Allstate, while others are cases in which Allstate was the insurance company for the defendant in the accident.
- $14,405 Verdict (Baltimore County 2022): The plaintiff said she was driving south at or near an intersection. The defendant reportedly was also driving south without his vehicle’s lights activated and attempted a U-turn onto the northbound roadway causing a collision with the plaintiff. The defendant was insured by Allstate who elected to take this case to trial because liability for the accident was legitimately disputed. A jury in Baltimore County found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded $7,125 for past medical expenses, $560 for past lost earnings, and $6,720 for pain & suffering.
- $19,500 Verdict (Baltimore County 2021): The plaintiff was rear-ended while driving southbound on Interstate 95 at or near the Route 195 exit in Baltimore County, causing him to suffer unspecified physical damages. He settled with the at-fault driver for policy limits, then sought additional damages from his own insurance company, Allstate, under the UIM coverage. Allstate refused to cover any damages for the accident. A jury awarded $12,000 for pain and suffering and $7,500 for past medical expenses.
- $21,000 Verdict (Baltimore City 2021): The plaintiff stopped at the direction of a Johns Hopkins security officer and was rear-ended by another vehicle. The at-fault driver had no insurance so the plaintiff sought compensation under her UIM coverage with Allstate. Allstate denied her claim and she took the case to trial where a jury in Baltimore City awarded $21k.
- $12,444 Verdict (Baltimore City 2020): An 82-year-old woman suffered cervical and lumbar strains when her vehicle, insured by Allstate, was involved in a collision with an uninsured motorist at an intersection. She made a claim seeking damages under her UIM benefits coverage but Allstate denied the claim on the grounds that she was actually at-fault for the accident. She took the case to trial and won.
- $19,341 Verdict (Baltimore City 2020): The plaintiff reportedly suffered chronic post-traumatic headaches, cervical and thoracic sprains/strain, cervicalgia, and disc degeneration at C5-6 when her vehicle, stopped at a red light, was rear-ended by a motorist who fled the scene. She sought UIM benefits under her auto insurance policy with Allstate. Allstate denied the claim and took the case to trial.
- $130,000 Verdict (Baltimore City 2020): A negligent left-turn results in a t-bone collision. The plaintiff suffers a herniated disc injury which requires complex disc replacement surgery. The plaintiff had a history of back issues prior to the accident. Allstate’s initial settlement offer is $35,000 and they make a 2nd offer of $85,000 before going to trial and losing.
Call Our Maryland Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Maryland, and you have a question about your claim, call us at 800-553-8082 or get a free online claim consultation. We can help you figure out how to approach your claim or if you even need to hire a lawyer.