The very first thing to know about negotiating a personal injury settlement against Allstate is that they are notoriously stingy. Allstate has made a reputation amongst the personal injury bar for forcing cases to go to trial. Remember that this is the insurance company that the book From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves was written about. And that’s not the only time that Allstate has garnered criticism for how their claims office handles cases. They’ve made waves with a Business Week article.In the 1990s, Allstate began using a claims evaluation software named Colossus. The goal of the program is to take the human element out of the claims evaluation process and provide a standardized, uniform method from which adjusters can negotiate your case. In theory, this is a good thing. No one wants a “jackpot justice” claims settlement process where similar injuries are valued disparately by different adjusters. But in practice, Colossus gives adjusters a very rigid framework in which to negotiate.
The software works by considering a number of factors – what sort of injury you have, whether you’ve had prior car crashes, whether you have a permanent injury, what jurisdiction you’re in and what juries typically award for injuries like yours in that locality. However, the program is also tailored to receive inputs like “is your attorney someone who settles early or who takes cases to trial”?
What it fails to consider is the individual lifestyle choices that you make – are you a serious weightlifter who can’t work out anymore? Does your back pain prevent you from comfortably sitting at a desk for long periods of time (as your job may require)? Did the neck sprain prevent you from caring for your two year old child?
And the Allstate claims process doesn’t allow the adjuster much leeway. We’ve had Allstate adjusters tell that even though they thought we’d beat the offer at trial, they can’t go to their supervisor and ask for an increase in authority because Allstate would “rather lose at trial than recognize that they’re system is flawed.”
The bottom line with Allstate is that if you’re looking to get an appropriate settlement from them, you’re probably going to be in for the long haul.