Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can feel hopeless if the insurance company denies your claim or makes an insultingly low (lowball) offer. Those who are injured in car accidents turn to their insurance company for help covering medical bills, lost wages, collision costs, and more. Unfortunately, insurance companies can and do deny injury claims – and sometimes wrongly. Drivers can be left clueless as to why the claim was denied or undervalued in the first place or what their options are after they’ve been notified. To ensure drivers get the fairest settlement or treatment from their insurance company, it’s important to understand the process and how a personal injury attorney can take action for you.
If you have filed a claim for the injuries you sustained in an accident, you may be disappointed to receive a check that does not cover nearly enough for your damages or a complete denial letter. Both situations can be delivered from the other driver’s insurer or your own. Their reasoning may not always be apparent, but the most common reasons could be:
- Failing to file the claim in a timely manner. If you fail to report the accident and claim shortly after the accident, insurers can suspect fraud or claim a policy exclusion for failure to comply with notice requirements.
- You were breaking the law during the accident. Drunk driving, driving with a suspended license, or breaking traffic laws can cause your claim to be denied.
- Your coverage is exceeded or non-existent. Additional costs that exceed your coverage amount can be denied, or if you sustain damages that you or the other driver don’t have comprehensive coverage for.
- Injuries were not reported on medical records or are allegedly not related. Your claim may be denied if injuries are not properly documented on official medical records or if you had pre-existing conditions prior to the accident.
- Liability of the crash is unclear. Companies will likely deny claims if it is difficult to tell who caused the crash.
- There is little visible property damage. Although this is not backed by science, the insurance company may claim that because your vehicle didn’t sustain much visible damage, you couldn’t have been hurt.
Insurance obligations can change regularly and can vary by state. While these reasons for denial can be valid, they are often not valid at all and only form an excuse for non-payment. Either way, it does not have to be the end of your case. Insurance claim adjusters are expected to thoroughly and fairly analyze your injury claim in accordance with the law. Insurance companies, including your own, can become adverse parties in your personal injury claims and can act in bad faith. Practices of bad faith usually will force you into a lower settlement or discourage any negotiation. These practices of bad faith can include:
- Misrepresenting relevant facts or insurance policy provisions
- Failing to acknowledge a claim and to act promptly after receiving a claim
- Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the investigation and processing of claims
- Failing to either approve or deny claims within a reasonable time after the insured has submitted proof of loss
- Failing to provide a reasonable explanation or reasons for denying the claim
It is always advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you have been injured in an auto accident, but if you attempt to negotiate on your own and If you believe you are being treated unfairly in the evaluation of your claim, you have the right to disagree and challenge the decision.
Contacting an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can spot a bad faith deal can be your next option. Gather and record all correspondence, notes, and evidence from the car accident. Do not sign any paperwork or accept initial settlement amounts from the insurance company. Lastly, contact a Southside Injury Attorney. If you think your insurance company has wrongly evaluated your injury claim after a car accident, call us at 844-810-4357.
Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.