There is often a lot of uncertainty and confusion after a car crash. The uncertainty and confusion are only heightened when the insurance company denies the claim.
Victims often do not know what to do next. You may be unsure if you still have a chance to obtain compensation for medical expenses and other damages. You may not know if the insurance company had valid reasons for denying your claim.
Fortunately, you may have options for pursuing compensation. It is vital to speak with an experienced attorney about your claim, as he or she can help determine what to do next. At Geoff McDonald and Associates, the goal of our Richmond auto accident attorneys is to recover maximum compensation to help you move forward after an accident.
Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Often Denied
One of the most common reasons car insurance claims are denied is because the victim did not establish that another party was at fault for the crash. They may even claim you are at fault for any number of reasons, even if they have little evidence. Insurance companies are looking for any reason to deny or devalue your claim, as their main goal is to protect their company’s bottom line.
Insurance companies may also claim your injuries are not that serious. They may say you did not seek medical treatment soon enough after the accident.
These are not necessarily invalid reasons for the denial of your claim. That means there may be room for you to challenge the insurance company.
However, if you missed the deadline for filing a claim or failed to provide information about your injuries, the insurance company may have been within their rights to deny your claim. If you provided a recorded statement the insurance company is using as the basis for denying your claim, it may be difficult to challenge what is in the recording. That is why you should avoid giving a recorded statement before you discuss it with your attorney.
Challenging an Insurance Claim Denial
Insurance companies in Virginia are bound by state contract law, which governs how contracts, like insurance policies, must be interpreted. For example, rules in contracts should be interpreted based on the plain meaning of the words used. Insurance companies must also act reasonably with their investigation and the decisions they make about claims.
If you think the insurance company is being unreasonable or misinterpreting or twisting the words in your policy, you should consider talking to a lawyer about challenging them.
However, sometimes the insurance company does not misinterpret your policy. Sometimes they claim you are at fault for the crash with little evidence. They may use your own words against you – if you said you were in a rush when the accident happened; they may claim that means you were speeding or distracted, and your claim is invalid.
No matter the reason given for the denial of your claim, there are some options for challenging the insurance company.
The one option most victims think of first is suing the insurance company. Sometimes filing a lawsuit is all it takes to get the insurance company to negotiate.
However, filing a lawsuit may not be the only way to pursue compensation for your damages. For example, mediation may allow you to resolve the situation. This refers to a meeting between both sides that includes a mediator, which is an unbiased third party that attempts to help both sides reach a middle ground.
Another option may be arbitration, which is like mediation. This refers to a meeting with an arbitrator who makes a binding or non-binding decision about your claim.
If you have questions about challenging the denial of your claim, our attorneys are ready to help you. There is limited time to file a lawsuit (generally two years from the date of the accident), so it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Today to Discuss Your Claim
There is no cost or obligation to meet with a licensed attorney from our firm to determine what to do after a car insurance claim denial. We are also not paid for representing you unless we obtain compensation on your behalf. This means there is no risk to you in meeting with us.
We have recovered hundreds of millions in compensation on behalf of personal injury victims throughout Virginia, including many car crash victims. This includes $1.75 million for the victim of a rear-end crash.
Our CEO and President Attorney Geoff McDonald is a member of The National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100.