What Can I Do if an Insurance Company Denies My Car Accident Claim?
If a car insurance company denies your claim, you have options for challenging the decision or taking other steps to recover compensation. Negotiating a fair settlement is the most common way crash victims secure compensation after a collision. However, it is not the only way to get a payout to cover your medical bills, income losses, pain and suffering, and other expenses. Reach out to a car accident lawyer.
A wise thing you can do if an insurance company denies your car accident claim is to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can assess your options and explain how they approach similar cases. Most represent clients based on contingency, so you could hire a lawyer today at no upfront cost to your family.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Negotiate a Settlement With the Liable Insurer?
Many car accident victims successfully navigate the claims process and secure compensation without hiring a personal injury attorney. However, this is often a challenging, frustrating, and time-consuming ordeal.
Handling this on your own is especially difficult under certain circumstances, such as:
- If you have serious or catastrophic injuries
- When you are still undergoing treatment or rehabilitation
- If the insurance company does not respond in a timely manner
- If the insurance carrier denies your claim
If the insurer refuses to offer a payout or formally denies your claim, you will want a car accident lawyer on your side. There are many reasons why a denial could occur, and you must understand why before you can decide how to move forward.
To counter a denial and recover compensation, you will also need strong evidence to show:
- The other driver acted negligently.
- They caused the accident.
- You suffered recoverable damages.
Your car accident attorney will gather evidence and build a compelling case for the insurance company or to present at trial. They will fight to recover fair compensation for you based on the expenses and losses you experienced.
What Are My Options for Seeking Compensation After a Claim Denial?
Sometimes, an insurance adjuster might change their mind about a denial simply because you hire an attorney. They might reconsider the claim and make an offer, kicking off settlement negotiations. If this does not occur, your lawyer might challenge the denial in another way. Sometimes, there is an appeals process where you can address the claim’s denial and seek financial justice.
Your lawyer will also know how to file a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner. This is possible if the insurance company wrongly denies a claim. If your request is valid, it could lead to a reconsideration.
Lastly, you have the option to sue the at-fault driver and prepare to take the case to a jury trial. Filing the paperwork and starting a lawsuit could be enough to convince the insurance company to take another look at the case. If not, your lawyer will build a strong case to show negligence and liability and present this evidence to the jury at trial.
Can I Hold the Insurance Company Responsible for Bad Faith?
Under some circumstances, you might have a bad faith case against the insurer. Several states allow third-party bad faith claims when an insurance company fails to operate as it should.
This could be a possibility in your case if the insurer:
- Failed to handle the claim in a timely manner
- Did not adequately investigate the claim
- Unreasonably devalued the claim
- Interpreted the insurance claim in an unreasonably restrictive manner
- Refused a reasonable offer
- Denied a valid claim
Some states only allow the policyholder to pursue a bad faith claim against their insurer. When you purchase a policy, you have a contract with the insurer to provide coverage when needed. If it doesn’t uphold its obligation, you can pursue a case.
If you experience bad faith in a third-party claim in a state where this type of challenge is not allowed, you might need to consider filing a claim based on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This policy is often the best option when no insurance coverage is available, and the at-fault party does not have the assets to pay for your damages.
Your attorney can offer advice about when this might be necessary. Under some circumstances, a first-party claim based on your coverage could allow you to recover compensation more efficiently.
Can I Recover Damages Through a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit?
When you sue a negligent driver based on your car accident case and injuries, the recoverable damages are the same as in an insurance claim. You can recover cash to compensate you for a wide range of expenses and losses you experienced because of the accident.
As the injured party, you should not have to bear these costs on your own. Instead, the at-fault driver should be responsible. If their insurance refuses to pay, you can pursue compensation directly from them through a lawsuit.
You Need Evidence to Support the Compensation Amount You’re Requesting
Each case has its own recoverable damages. No two crash victims suffer the same injuries, losses, and costs. Your attorney will help you gather evidence and identify the damages in your case.
Evidence to support your financial recovery could include:
- Medical bills
- Estimates for car repairs
- Income statements
- Documentation of missed work
- Relevant medical records
- Expert testimony about your prognosis and future care needs
Using this evidence, your attorney can identify your recoverable expenses and losses.
Compensable Losses Through a Car Accident Claim
A settlement may offer coverage for:
- Medical bills to date and any related expenses, such as ambulance transportation fees
- Future treatment needs and/or ongoing care and support costs for lasting injuries
- Income missed because of time away from work for treatment and healing
- Diminished earning capacity due to lasting impairments that prevent a return to the previous job
- Property damage costs, including the repair and replacement of the vehicle
- Miscellaneous related expenses, such as travel costs to see a specialist, parking expenses, building ramps, or renovating your home for wheelchair access
- Pain and suffering damages and other non-economic losses
Your attorney will also use the case facts and evidence to calculate a possible settlement range for the case. This comes in handy if the insurance company or liable party makes an offer. Without a strong understanding of the damages suffered, you cannot know what a fair settlement looks like.
You Can Seek Wrongful Death-Related Damages if a Loved One Passed Away
The recoverable damages are somewhat different in a wrongful death case than in an injury claim. However, the rules for allowable damages, who can file legal action, and how long you have depend greatly on the state where the death occurred.
If your loved one suffered catastrophic injuries or lost their life in a collision, you could discuss your case with a car accident attorney near you. They can explain how to navigate the process and seek the range of damages available in your state.
How Long Do I Have to Decide if I Need to Sue the Driver Who Caused My Crash?
Each state has a deadline that prevents victims from waiting an excessive amount of time before beginning a lawsuit. These deadlines are set by the statute of limitations on personal injury or wrongful death. These generally vary from one to three years, although exceptions give some victims more or less time.
If you miss the deadline in your case, the court will likely bar you from moving forward with your lawsuit. You will lose the opportunity to take the case to a jury trial and no longer have the right to hold the at-fault driver legally responsible. Meeting all applicable deadlines is crucial to protect your rights and recover fair compensation in your case.
It’s a Good Idea to Consider Prompt Legal Action
Aside from the statute of limitations, there are other reasons to consider prompt legal help.
One of these is so you do not run out of time to sue if the insurance company:
- Drags its feet
- Denies your claim
- Creates other obstacles in the claims process
Quick action in hiring a lawyer could secure crucial evidence to help you prove fault and liability. For example, accidents in busy intersections might appear on the surveillance cameras of nearby businesses. However, most businesses record over these videos every few weeks. Unless they know to preserve the video, it might disappear before your attorney has access to it.
Hiring a car accident lawyer in the initial days after a crash could allow them to identify key evidence to show the insurance company or jury what occurred and who bears legal responsibility. You do not want to miss out on this evidence because you did not hire a lawyer soon enough.
Frequently Asked Questions About Denied Car Accident Claims
You may have questions if the insurance company denied your car accident claim. Some of your questions may include:
What Is the Average Settlement for Car Accident Claims?
If you wanted to know the average cost of a car, house, or apartment, you could easily find that information online. You would have no such luck with learning the average settlement value of car accident cases; there is no database that records this information. How much you can recover would depend on your situation, not someone else’s. A lawyer would consider your injury’s severity, working ability, and other factors to learn what constitutes a fair offer from the insurer.
How Long Does the Insurance Company Have to Respond to My Claim?
How long the insurer has to respond to your claim largely depends on where the accident took place. Generally, the insurer has about a month to accept or deny your claim. If you live in Arizona, it might have slightly more time, with the response period being 40 days. If the insurer unjustly delays your claim, you could have the basis of a bad faith lawsuit.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s First Offer?
The insurance company may offer immediate compensation for your losses, but it may not account for your future damages and non-economic losses. If you sign a waiver of liability and accept compensation, your case ends, and you can’t file another claim and ask for more money. A car accident lawyer can assess all settlement offers, so you can breathe easy knowing you’re making the best decisions for your situation. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.