How to Handle a Car Accident Claim with Allstate
Allstate was founded in 1931 and has grown to the largest publicly held personal lines insurer in the United States. Today, Allstate is a multi-billion dollar company ranking high on the Fortune 500 list. The company is one of the largest insurers of vehicles in the United States.
Because Allstate is a large automobile insurance company, it is likely that a driver who causes a car accident could have insurance through Allstate. If so, you could find yourself dealing with the Allstate claims process.
Before you file a claim with Allstate, it can be helpful to know some important things about negotiating a settlement directly with an insurance company.
Steps to Take Before Filing a Claim With Allstate Insurance
Before you file a claim with Allstate, it is essential to take steps to protect your legal rights after a car crash.
Steps you should take include:
- Report the accident to the police by calling 911 and wait for help
- If possible, make a video of the accident scene with your cell phone and take pictures
- Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information in case they leave the accident scene
- Do not admit fault or discuss the accident with anyone at the scene other than the police officer
- As soon as possible, seek medical care to document your accident injuries
- Avoid using social media or posting information online while your claim is open
Keep copies of all documents and make notes of all conversations you have regarding the accident. Notify your insurance company of the car crash immediately. You may have benefits you can use even though you were not at fault for the collision.
Before you file a claim with Allstate, gather together copies of the accident report, your insurance information, and any documents you received from the police officer at the accident scene.
Filing Your Insurance Claim With Allstate
Allstate has an online portal for filing auto accident claims. You can use the online portal to create an account and file your claim. If you prefer, you can also call Allstate at 1-800-255-7828 to begin the claims process.
You are required to answer questions about the accident. Remember, do not admit fault for the cause of the accident. Be careful how you respond to questions about what you were doing earlier in the day or right before the accident. Your comments could be used to shift blame to you for the cause of the accident.
Also, keep in mind that insurance companies typically record telephone conversations. Your calls with insurance adjusters and other insurance representatives may be recorded, even if you are not informed of the recording.
After you file your claim, Allstate assigns a claims adjuster to investigate the accident. Claim adjusters work for the insurance company. They will also do what is in the insurance company’s best interest, which includes trying to limit the company’s liability for your personal injury claim.
Investigating the Accident Claim
Insurance adjusters determine whether the company’s insured driver caused the car crash. If so, the company should accept liability for your claim. At that point, the adjuster should begin to gather evidence regarding your damages so that he can calculate a value for your accident claim.
Several things to keep in mind during this phase of the claim process:
- It is not in your best interest to provide a written or recorded statement. If you need to file a lawsuit, anything you said in the statement could be used against you in court.
- The claims adjuster is searching for information that he can use to blame you for the cause of the crash or undervalue your claim.
- The insurance company does not need copies of your entire medical history. Do not sign a medical release authorization. You provide copies of medical records that only pertain to the accident injuries as evidence.
- Always keep copies of all documents you provide to the insurance company.
At the end of the investigation, the insurance adjuster may make a settlement offer. The settlement offer is an initial offer to resolve your accident claim. You are not required to accept the offer.
Negotiating a Settlement Agreement With Allstate
You can negotiate with Allstate for a higher settlement amount. In most cases, the initial offer of settlement is lower than the value of your claim. Counteroffer at a higher amount to being negotiations.
Some important information about settlement agreements you need to know include:
- The settlement agreement should include all types of damages
- You need to know the value of your claim to negotiate a settlement
- The settlement agreement is a final, legally binding agreement
- You cannot demand more money after you settle your claim
- Settling injury claims before you complete treatment could result in receiving far less than your claim is worth
Signing a settlement agreement ends your claim. Insurance companies write agreements to benefit them. They include clauses that release the company, the other driver, and all other parties from any future liability for the accident.
What does that mean for you? If your doctor says that you need additional surgery or you cannot go back to work because of an impairment, you cannot demand more money or file a lawsuit. You released all of those rights when you signed the settlement agreement.
Therefore, if you are unsure how much your claim is worth or what types of damages you could be entitled to receive, it is in your best interest to seek advice from experienced personal injury attorneys before you sign a settlement agreement.
What is Your Allstate Accident Claim Worth?
When you are injured in a car accident, you are likely to incur financial losses in addition to your physical injuries. Texas personal injury law allows accident victims to seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of damages in a car accident claim include:
- Medical bills and cost of treatment
- Cost of personal care, medications, and medical supplies
- Loss of salaries, wages, benefits, and other income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disabilities, scarring, and permanent impairment
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Decreases in future earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The value of your economic damages is the total of all financial losses. Placing a value on your pain and suffering is more complicated. The insurance company will downplay non-economic damages to lower their value.
If you sustain permanent impairments or severe injuries, Allstate might not compensate you fully for your damages. Before accepting Allstate’s value, talk to experienced personal injury lawyers.
Monitor the Deadline to File a Lawsuit
Allstate may drag your case out in hopes that it wears you down and you agree to a lower settlement amount or the time to file a lawsuit expires.
Most car accident lawsuits must be filed within two years from the accident date. However, there are some exceptions to the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury cases. If Allstate is not responding to you or fails to investigate and process your claim, contact an injury lawyer for a free case review.
Call Our Texas Personal Injury Lawyers for More Information
If you have questions after you filed a claim with Allstate or you need to file a claim, contact our Houston law office for a free consultation with a Texas personal injury attorney at (713) 224-4878. We are here to help you as you fight to get the money you deserve from Allstate.