If the insurance company denies your car accident claim, you can challenge the denial, report an unfair or illegal denial to the proper state agency, and/or file a lawsuit against the insurer or liable party. You still have options for seeking compensation even if you receive a denial on your initial claim. A car accident lawyer can help you assess your case and navigate the process with you. You do not have to do this on your own.
Working with a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer ensures you have someone on your side who knows what to do, how to protect your rights, and how to fight for the compensation you deserve. If another driver caused your crash, you can hold them accountable. There are ways this is possible even if the insurance carrier does not want to cooperate and pay a fair settlement based on the case facts.
What Are My Options After a Car Accident Insurance Claim Denial?
If the at-fault driver’s car insurance carrier denies your claim after a crash, you should not panic. Several options could result in you recovering the money you need to pay your related bills and cover the losses. These generally include:
Appealing the Denial
Insurance carriers must have an internal process that allows claimants to challenge their decision on a claim. This generally includes asking them to reevaluate a claim to see if another adjuster agrees with the initial decision. The exact process depends significantly on the carrier involved.
In some cases, your claim may have been denied because there was not enough evidence to prove you deserve compensation. In that case, an attorney can look over your claim and help you provide more evidence. They can also ensure you completed all of the necessary paperwork correctly.
Filing a Complaint With the Insurance Commissioner
Each state’s insurance commissioner oversees insurance carriers and ensures they follow all laws and ethics rules. Filing a complaint with this commission could lead to an investigation, and the insurer could overturn the denial, although this is not always a direct cause and effect.
Filing a complaint with the insurance commission generally requires submitting all information you have related to the claim, all correspondence you submitted, and all documents you received from the insurance company.
The main benefit of taking this step, besides putting pressure on the insurer, is that this could provide significant evidence in a lawsuit against the insurance carrier if this becomes necessary.
Suing the Insurer or At-Fault Driver
A lawsuit is another route to recovering compensation in a car accident case if the insurance company will not cooperate. Victims sue the at-fault driver and the court demands a payout from the insurer. Alternatively, victims who receive an unfairly or illegally denied claim could sue the insurance company directly.
When the insurer issues a denial letter, they must include the reason why they are denying the claim. This provides a starting point for developing a strong response to the denial. Do not try to navigate any of these complex and time-consuming processes on your own. You must meet strict deadlines, and if you suffered from some common type of injury in a car accident you will face overwhelming challenges if you try to complete your case alone.
Connect with a car accident attorney as soon as possible after you receive the denial letter. They can assess your options and recommend the one they believe best fits the circumstances. Then, they can manage the process and seek to overturn the denial or recover compensation through other means.
How Do Most Car Accident Cases Work?
While some states have no-fault laws, most car accident cases in the United States center on fault. A careless or reckless driver causes a crash, and the victim is able to hold them accountable for their actions. They pursue compensation from this at-fault driver based on their negligence.
Your car accident lawyer can prove the four elements of negligence. This demonstrates that the other party is at fault for the accident and owes you compensation.
The elements of negligence include:
- Duty of care: Drivers owe a duty of care to prevent accidents and keep others safe.
- Breach of duty: When a driver violates a traffic law, by speeding, for example, this is a breach of their duty of care.
- Causation: The liable driver’s negligence was the immediate cause of the collision.
- Damages: You suffered injuries, financial harm, and/or psychological damage as a result of the accident.
For example, a driver has a duty of care to stop at all traffic lights and stop signs. When they run a stop sign, this is a breach of duty. If they cause an intersection collision, their breach of duty is the proximate cause of the crash. Any injuries and financial losses experienced by the victim would be their responsibility.
How to Pursue Compensation After a Car Accident
There are generally two ways the victim pursues compensation after a crash. These include:
Filing an Insurance Claim
When an injured car accident victim files an insurance claim, they demand fair compensation from the carrier that provides the at-fault driver’s auto liability policy. This is generally the policy that covers losses such as medical bills and property damage. The insurance adjuster investigates what happened and either denies the claim or makes an offer. This offer rarely compensates the victim for their range of expenses and losses.
Usually, a counteroffer and settlement negotiations are necessary. Sometimes, the insurer denies the claim or refuses a fair payout. When this occurs, you might decide to consider other options for pursing compensation.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
A lawsuit can lawsuit alleges that the driver acted negligently and caused the collision, along with your injuries and financial losses. You must complete many steps before a lawsuit goes before a jury.
Settlement negotiations may continue with the insurance company throughout this process. If they denied the claim, they might uncover evidence to show their policyholder caused the crash during the discovery phase of the case. This could prompt new offers.
Not all car accident lawsuits go to trial. They could settle through negotiations before the date on the docket arrives. However, some do go before a judge or jury. They decide the case after hearing the evidence from both sides.
Working With an Attorney Takes the Stress of a Car Accident Case Off You
When you choose to hire a car accident lawyer to manage your case, it offers numerous advantages over trying to navigate the process on your own. An experienced, knowledgeable lawyer will know how the process works in your area. They may have even challenged denials from the same insurer.
They will know the applicable laws, the process for filing a complaint with the insurance commissioner, and how to file the paperwork to begin a lawsuit near you. In some cases, hiring a lawyer might make the insurance company reconsider its decision. When an attorney contacts them about the case, they might be willing to take another look at the facts and decide to offer a settlement.
Even a lowball settlement offer is typically better than a denial. It offers a place to begin negotiations and shows the insurance company is willing to pay in the case. Lawyers often turn lowball offers into fair agreements using proven negotiation methods.
Other ways they recover compensation for their clients in these cases include:
- Mediation: Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that utilizes trained mediators to help the sides reach an agreement. Some courts make the parties try mediation before they set a trial date.
- Arbitration: Arbitration is another alternative dispute resolution tool. It is generally binding. During this process, the parties share their arguments with a trained, experienced arbitrator who decides the case. This is less formal than a trial but still usually results in a binding verdict.
- Civil court: As the crash victim, you can take the at-fault driver to civil court and present your case. This is the final step in a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, these are jury trials. Some courts utilize a judge to decide the case and issue a verdict.
When you have an attorney working on your case, they manage all aspects of it for you. You can continue your treatment and rehabilitation or return to work and other previous activities while they take care of the rest. You will receive regular updates and can call with questions or concerns. Otherwise, you only need to focus on your recovery.
How Crash Victims Recover Compensation in a Traffic Accident Case
All drivers must follow the traffic laws in their state. When they violate them, it is a breach of their duty of care. This can quickly cause a collision where others suffer injuries. With the right evidence to support these elements, the crash victim can show that the other driver acted negligently.
This requires investigating what happened, gathering evidence, and building a case to recover fair compensation. During the investigation, the victim or their lawyer must take a number of steps to identify and preserve evidence.
- Identifying and obtaining eyewitness statements
- Requesting the police accident report from the law enforcement agency
- Surveying the accident scene
- Preserving any photos or videos of the crash
- Working with accident reconstruction experts
- Analyzing physical evidence
- Obtaining relevant medical records
- Calling in medical experts
- Documenting damages suffered by the victim
Damages You Can Recover in a Car Accident Case
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you could file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. Your damages could be economic or non-economic in nature, depending on the facts of your accident and the severity of your injuries.
Some of your recoverable damages may include:
- Pain and suffering: Your physical pain and suffering may be a compensable non-economic damage in your case.
- Scarring and disfigurement: This is a non-economic damage you could demand in your car accident case if your injuries left skin scarring.
- Property damage: If you need your car repaired or replaced, you could recover property damage costs.
- Medical bills: This includes any expenses you paid for your medical care, such as ambulance trips or doctor’s appointments.
- Mental anguish: Many car accident victims suffer from anxiety or depression in the aftermath of their accident. You can recover compensation for your mental anguish.
- Lost income: If you needed to take time away from work to heal from your injuries, you could recover compensation for the income you lost.
- Reduced earning capacity: Your injuries may prevent you from earning the same amount of money you once did. If this is your case, your lawyer can include reduced earning capacity in your demand for damages.
Most Law Firms Offer Free Consultations to Discuss Your Car Accident Case
Car accident law firms generally provide free initial case consultations. This includes a case assessment that looks at the possible cause of the accident and whether another driver is likely responsible. You can learn a lot about your case, the chances of a financial recovery, and the challenges of your claim during this conversation.
Contact a personal injury law firm in Atlanta after your crash. They can help you fight your denied claim and pursue fair compensation. Having a law firm on your side means you have a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced team representing you every step of the way.
If you hire an attorney, they know how to handle insurance carriers, their tactics, and settlement negotiations. They could also explain your legal options after a car accident.