Car insurance claims are the most common way to recover compensation after a crash. However, that does not mean they always go smoothly. Insurance companies rarely make it easy to recover fair and appropriate damages based on your claim. In Car Insurance Demystified, Part 1, we discussed filing claims based on your auto insurance policies. In this blog, we discuss fault-based claims.
Car insurance claim denials can get even more complicated when you make a claim on the policy of the driver who is at fault. Although that driver might claim to be insured at the scene of the accident, that won’t stop their insurance company from denying the claim if it finds a reason to do so. Alternatively, it might make great efforts to pay out as little as possible and significantly reduce the value of your claim.
When the Other Party’s Insurance Denied Your Claim
Here are some of the most common reasons another driver’s insurance company will deny a claim.
If the policy excluded coverage for certain events (like “acts of God”) that the insurance company believes caused the accident, the claim will be denied. This can also occur when the at-fault motorist is an excluded driver on that policy.
The Policy Lapsed
If the other driver failed to pay their premiums, maintain a valid driver’s license, or notify the insurance company of important updates, the policy may have lapsed meaning there will be no coverage for the accident.
You Failed to Notify the Insurance Company in Time
In addition to state statute of limitations rules, the policy itself will often require claimants to notify the insurance company of any accidents within a certain amount of time. If you wait too long to report an accident, your claim may be denied.
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How Insurance Adjusters Will Devalue Your Car Insurance Claim
Although there are valid reasons for insurance providers to deny claims, profit-minded insurers often deny or undervalue claims without justification. This practice is why it is essential for you to understand whether your denial is proper under the policy.
Some cases make it more difficult to fight an undervaluing of your claim. Insurers train adjusters in specific tactics and methods to get accident victims to settle for less than they deserve. These include:
- Offering an agreement before a victim becomes aware of the total value of their claim
- Convincing them to settle before they can speak to an attorney
- Getting them to give statements that could jeopardize their case
- Searching their social media for posts that show their injuries were not severe
- Downplaying the severity of the accident or injuries in other ways
- Telling the claimant that an initial offer is “the best they can do”
Even when an insurance adjuster acts like they are on your side, they are not. They work for the insurance company, and it is their job to pay out only as much as they must and protect the insurer’s bottom line. For this reason, you might want to speak with an attorney who can evaluate an offer before signing anything from the insurance company.
What’s Next: Making an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Unfortunately, some negligent drivers do not carry any liability coverage. If you learn that the driver who caused your accident did not have insurance, you can make a claim against your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage if you have purchased it. A UM claim will require you to prove that:
- The driver who caused your injuries does not have insurance;
- Your damages exceed the coverage limits of the at-fault driver; or
- You were injured in a hit-and-run accident.
You also may be able to recover compensation from your personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (med pay) coverage if you purchased these optional policies. These policies cover the driver and passengers in the vehicle.
Sometimes it is also possible to recover compensation from a family member’s insurance policy. This is often the case when the driver and vehicle owner have separate insurance policies. An insurance claim lawyer can help you navigate this process, identify the policies available to you, and file your claims.
Taking Action: How to Fight an Auto Insurance Claim Denial
You’ve reviewed the denial letter and checked your policy, and you still believe that the insurance company’s decision is wrong—what’s next? Car insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith to investigate and resolve every claim that is reported to them.
If you want to handle this process on your own, you can start by writing a letter to the insurer describing why you think the reason for car insurance claim denial is wrong. However, to fight a claim denial effectively, your first step is to check the policy. Some insurance companies require you to dispute claims within a certain amount of time and provide specific proof to support your position. You will have to follow these policy requirements to preserve your claim, which is one of the reasons working with a car insurance claim attorney can help with this process.
If you aren’t able to resolve the dispute informally, you may have to file suit against the insurance company. Although this can be a long and complicated process, if the court eventually finds that the company wrongfully denied your claim you may be entitled to additional damages.
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Getting Help With Your Claim
The way we recommend approaching your insurance claim is to connect with our team as soon as possible after your collision. Then, once your injuries are stable, reach out to us for a free consultation. One of our attorneys will review your case, and we can discuss your options for filing a claim or otherwise recovering compensation.
We can handle the claims process while you focus on your treatment and healing. One call, that’s all, and then it’s out of your hands. We will identify the liable party, review their insurance coverage, gather support for your claim, and demand a fair payout if that is the best route to recover money damages for you.
Working with a personal injury law firm can protect your rights and significantly reduce the risk of having your claim inappropriately denied or undervalued. In addition, we do not charge our clients anything upfront to go to work on their claims.
Fact check: Can my car insurance be canceled after an accident? Yes, but they must provide 30-day notice in writing by certified mail.
Has the Insurance Company Denied Your Accident Claim?
If you’ve been injured in an accident but your claim has been denied, contact us for a free case evaluation. We work on a contingency-fee-basis. You may be eligible to file a claim for medical costs, emotional distress, and further damages. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if you are eligible for a claim. An experienced auto accident attorney at the Morris Bart law firm will assist you in the evaluation process.
Initial consultations are free. We have office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us today!
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