If you’re one of the more than 2.35 million people in the United States to be injured in a car crash this year, you may run into more bumps on the road than just the crash. When it comes time to be compensated for your injuries, even when they were caused by a negligent party, your insurance claim may be denied.
The stress and burden of having your claim denied amid working through serious personal injuries are unfortunately common. Let’s take a look at some reasons why a car insurer may deny a claim, and what you can do if your car accident claim is denied.
After you’re seriously injured in a car accident where the other driver was at fault (or there were multiple negligent parties involved), you will hopefully have taken the following steps:
- Received medical attention
- Documented the scene through photos, including license plates and damage
- Gathered names, addresses, telephone numbers, insurance company names and policy numbers, witness statements and contact information
- Called the police and had a police report filed
When you return home after the scene, the next step is to contact your insurance company about the damage. You’ll give your insurer the information of the other insurance company. In the best-case scenario, the negligent party’s insurance company will compensate you for your injuries and damages. In other cases, they’ll give you a low-ball offer or will deny your claim completely. Here are some reasons why.
There Is No Police Report
A police report is usually crucial for securing adequate compensation. Without one, it’s one person’s word over the other’s, unless you’ve taken the time to gather witness statements and documented the scene and damage. In cases where an insurer believes your claim lacks merit, it could be denied.
If you don’t get medical attention for injuries immediately after an accident, an insurer may suspect that any medical attention you received after may have been from non-accident-related injuries. It’s vital to get treatment immediately after and accept any emergency services that are offered.
You Incriminate Yourself
When you talk to your insurer in a stressed state after a car accident, you may unwittingly paint a guilty picture around your actions. For example, you might accidentally admit guilt, even though the accident wasn’t your fault, or you might say you weren’t too badly injured despite the future hefty medical bills to come. Because of this, you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company.
If you’re not completely calm and sure about the details of your case, you may want to talk with a car accident attorney before talking with your insurer, though you should report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
You Didn’t File a Claim in Time
Serious car accidents must be reported within a certain amount of time in order to be eligible for coverage. If the other party’s insurer isn’t notified in time, your claim may be denied.
Your Driving Wasn’t Covered
There are a few driving scenarios that might hurt your chances of coverage. For example, if you’re driving someone else’s car, or if you’re driving your own car for a side business that you never told your insurance company about, there may be complications with getting compensation.
The Cause of the Accident Is a Policy Exclusion
Some insurance policies will exclude certain reasons from being eligible for compensation. For example, natural events like heavy rain or a dust storm may be an act that is excluded. If this occurred during your accident, the insurer may say that the natural act caused the accident, not another negligent party.
The Other Party’s Policy Has Lapsed
Even if you see insurance information from a negligent party, it’s possible that their insurance coverage has lapsed due to a failure to pay insurance premiums. In this case, you may file an uninsured motorist claim. If you don’t have this type of coverage, you may choose to sue the negligent party.
Actions to Take After Your Claim Is Denied
After any accident, you should be keeping organized records of all medical attention you’ve received, including bills. Also, keep all evidence and witness statements intact, and make sure you have a copy of the police report from the accident.
Most personal injury attorneys, including the Birmingham car accident lawyer team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, will offer free consultations and will not take on your case if they don’t believe they can win. If your insurance claim is denied, you have nothing to lose by contacting a lawyer. You may be able to secure compensation and get what you deserve.
When you work with an attorney, the attorney may send a demand letter to the insurer. This is an action the insurer may take seriously, because fighting your case in court can be costly. At this stage, you may receive partial or full compensation. If an insurance company has a formal appeals process, your attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement.
In cases where it is suspected that the insurer denied the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, the case against the insurer may strengthen, since the insurance company may be breaking the law.
If your attorney has contacted the insurer, and the insurer still denies the claim, the next step may be to file a lawsuit against the insurer. The more evidence you have, and the more serious the damages, the better chance a law team has to secure compensation. When you consult with an attorney, let them know all the information you have, so they can make a better decision about whether or not to pursue legal action.
Have Questions After a Serious Car Accident?
Even if you have insurance, the scary fact is that sometimes your claim will get denied, even when an accident wasn’t your fault. That’s why uninsured motorist coverage is so valuable, and why you should take care to document every detail of the accident for your protection.
If you’ve been in a serious car accident and had your claim denied, contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums for a free consultation.