was recently retained by someone who was injured in a car accident. Although my client was rear ended by the other driver, the driver at fault insurance company denied liability. I know…..you’re probably thinking the same thing I was….How can the insurance company seriously deny liability when it was clearly their driver’s fault? In order to somewhat understand the answer, you have to understand a fundamental principle of insurance companies….They NEVER want to pay out. In fact, I have heard that adjusters at some companies are told to always deny liability when a claim is initially submitted. This doesn’t change the fact that my client was injured due to someone else’s negligence.
The following is a few nuggets of knowledge that I’ve learned while handling similar auto accident cases. Just because your car insurance claim is denied after an accident does not mean you give up and end negotiations with the insurance company. No need to leave money on the table that is rightfully yours. You still have a few options.
REVIEW YOUR CLAIM DENIAL LETTER
It is always important to begin by reviewing your claim denial letter. Get a good understanding of the reason provided by the company of why they refuse to pay for your damages. This becomes very important when deciding if you are going to appeal the decision or not. The insurance company usually will explain their decision in the form of a denial letter. You should thoroughly go through this letter and note things that you don’t understand. Since I’ve started taking auto accident cases, I’ve only seen a few reasons why the insurance company deny claims:
You Were at Fault or Partly at Fault For the Accident.
If the adjuster decides that you were at fault your claim can be denied depending on what State you’re in. For example, here in Maryland, if the adjuster determines that you are partly at fault, they can and will deny your claim. The reason for the adjuster deciding you were at fault must be fully explained in the letter. Pay close attention to the reasons they provide. Compare those reasons with how you remember the accident happened and any supporting evidence you may have.
Your Insurance Policy Does Not Cover The Accident.
There are several different coverage types that a insurance policy can have. You may have liability coverage but no collision coverage. If your accident falls under a type of coverage that is not included in your policy your claim may be denied.
You Are Not a Named Party on the Policy Insurance.
Policies only cover individuals who are named in the contract. If you were not on the policy, then you will not be covered. Your Insurance Has Lapsed for Non-Payment Insurance policies can lapse if you have not paid your premiums, and if your policy is no longer active then you will not be covered.
APPEAL THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S DECISION
A lot of people are unaware that you may appeal the company’s denial. This of course can be done without a lawyer, but an accident lawyer can be a extremely useful asset if the insurance company decides they want to play hard ball. A lawyer should definitely be used if you suffered serious or permanent injuries or extensive property damage. There is usually a process in place for you to appeal the claim denial. Don’t hesitate to ask your adjuster what steps are included in this process. Once you know the next step in the process, be sure to review all the evidence you submitted with your claim. Write a letter explaining why the evidence you gathered goes against the adjuster’s decision. Make sure you provide copies of this evidence with your letter. Include things such as medical records, police report, medications, eyewitness reports, etc. Contact a Maryland accident lawyer if you are in Maryland and need help with this process.
Let’s be clear, insurance companies will not reverse their decision to deny your claim just because you appeal. However, if you have a pretty strong argument, they are more likely to work with you. Even still, you may find that you are unsuccessful with this approach. You may still go after the money you need by filing a lawsuit against the other party if they were responsible for the accident.
NEGOTIATING IN BAD FAITH
If at any point during this process you feel that your insurance company is being unfair by negotiating in bad faith, wrongfully denying your claim or delaying insurance payments, please don’t hesitate to hire an attorney. Several States have laws that protect consumers from bad faith practices. It’s possible that you may have a legal claim against the insurance company if they do not pay up or if they refuse to take steps to work with you.
NEVER GIVE UP!
The moral of the story is just like most things in life, you can’t give up at the first sign of opposition. The persistent usually prevail and if worse comes to worse file a lawsuit. If your claim is remotely legit, a filed lawsuit will often times make the insurance company reconsider. It is usually better to get them to reconsider than to walk away with nothing. Besides, winners fight to the end, and I know all of you reading this are winners. So spread the wealth. Tell a friend to tell a friend to never give up.
About Me: Prince Williams, Esq., is an Avid attorney with The Law Offices of Prince Williams, Esq. the premiere auto accident firm in Maryland. Call today, 978-633-9711. Let us know how we can help you.