Thomas McCutcheon

Q: I was hit from the rear by an Allstate insured and the insurance company told me they would pay me $1,645 over my medical bills which were over $3,000. I don’t think that’s fair. How did they come up with $1,645 and do you think that’s fair?

- Thelma, Sheffield, AL 

A: Allstate is a difficult insurance company to deal with. They use a computer program that originated in Australia to evaluate claims. Typically, the insurance adjusters don’t have the authority to offer more money than the computer evaluation of the claim.

There has been litigation over computer based evaluation of injury cases and we know through that litigation that the computer program used by Allstate is known as Colossus. State Farm has recently begun using a computer evaluation tool and I think these are geared towards saving the insurance company as much money as possible.

We do know that the program has around 600 injury codes and each of these codes has a severity value that adds or subtracts money from the claim. A good example is that if the doctor happens to note in their medical records that the injured person is having trouble with their household chores (ADLs-activities of daily life) that the severity code for that case is raised. Likewise, if a person is having trouble performing their usual job duties, the severity code is raised, and the computer adds more money to the settlement.

I try not to use this article to advertise, but it is widely known that these computer programs consider whether the attorney for the injured person has a record of taking cases to court when they get a low offer. I almost always end up suing Allstate because the offers that Allstate makes are absolutely ridiculous.

If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to google and read “Alabama Judge Sanctions Allstate for Egregious Conduct”. This happened in June of 2020. Don’t get me wrong, all insurance companies try to pay as little as possible. These computer-driven programs coupled with in-house lawyers means that Allstate has no incentive to pay a claim short of a jury verdict. I understand that other insurance companies simply pay a flat rate to their attorneys whether they settle the case or take it to court. There is no monetary incentive for settlement for the insurance company.

You might consider filing your claim in Circuit Civil and not asking for a jury and letting a judge decide. District court judges have authority up to $20,000 and can consider evidence that circuit court judges might not be able to. Good luck dealing with Allstate.

Buckle up, drive safely and as always, your referrals are appreciated! 256-764-0112

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