We rely on auto insurance to provide coverage for accident-related expenses, but processing a claim is not always an easy process. Your claim can be denied for many different reasons, including some which qualify as bad faith.
Common Reasons Why Claims Are Denied
Insurance policies have very specific terms and conditions, so any accident that falls outside the boundaries of the contract is not covered. That being said, some of the most common reasons why claims are denied include:
- The other driver claim that the accident was not his or her fault
- You were driving without a valid license.
- You were driving without valid insurance.
- The insurance company does not believe that the accident was sufficiently serious to cause injury.
- The insurer believes that another driver is responsible for the collision.
- The accident was not reported immediately.
- You did not seek immediate medical attention, causing your insurer to believe you are seeking coverage for injuries caused by something else.
- The company believes your injury was pre-existing and not caused from the accident itself.
There is some evidence to suggest that minor impact soft tissue injuries are most likely to be denied or offered inappropriately low settlements. Since the signs of these types of injuries are not immediately obvious and there is only minimal vehicle damage involved, it is easier for the company to suggest that an injured driver is exaggerating the injury. It is also easier to convince a jury not to award damages when the physical damage to a car is minimal.
Wrongful Denial of an Injury Claim
When an insurance company refuses to honor the obligations you believe are owed to you due to the negligence of its insured, your options become limited. You have to prove to the insurance company that your claim is justified and that they are required to pay for your damages. Sometimes the only way that can happen is to file a lawsuit and be willing to take the claim all the way to trial. With an experienced trial lawyer, he or she can file suit and proceed to have someone other than the insurance company make the decision about your case. While a trial may not result from filing a lawsuit, the mere possibility of losing control over the resolution of the claim will get an insurance company to change its position and offer a better settlement than what was available before filing suit. Having an experienced trial attorney on your side helps tip the scales of justice more in your favor than if you were without an attorney.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Document everything. In addition to keeping track of medical expenses and lost wages, document all information about the collision and the facts about how the impact occurred. Get witness statements and other supporting information to prove that your description of the collision is accurate. When you can provide ample evidence supporting your position, you have a greater chance of settling or winning your case.
- Be patient. When the insurance company wrongfully denies your claim, one thing they are hoping will happen is that you get frustrated with the delays and obstruction placed in your way to recovery. Being patient will allow your attorney to work overcome the obstacles.
- Get the medical care that you need. Regardless of what decisions the insurance company makes in wrongfully denying your claim, you need to get your necessary medical care to minimize the physical impact to you regardless of the outcome of your injury claim.
Contact Inland Empire Law Group today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review. Appointments are available at both our Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville offices.