If you’ve been injured in a Los Angeles car accident and someone else is to blame, you have the right to demand compensation. The first step in recovering the money you deserve involves filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Despite all of your hard work in creating a persuasive argument, the insurance company may decide to deny your request for damages. It’s important to understand your options when your insurance claim is denied.
Why Did the Insurance Company Deny My Claim?
Insurance companies have one primary goal: to limit the financial payouts they make to accident victims. If they can find a way to deny a claim, they will. Here are some of the reasons an insurance company may have denied your claim.
Refusal to Accept Liability: An insurance company will only pay if there is solid evidence to show their insured driver is at fault. If there is a dispute as to fault, they will probably deny a claim for damages.
Failure to File a Timely Claim: It’s important to file an insurance claim as soon as you can after an accident. Insurance companies limit the amount of time you have to notify them of an accident. If you don’t file your claim within that limited timeframe, they reserve the right to reject your claim.
No Coverage Exists: Insurance companies will only pay if you were injured by an insured driver with a valid policy. This means that all of the premiums and payments must be up-to-date. A company may deny your claim if the other driver is uninsured because their policy has lapsed or if they are behind on payments.
Exclusions: Insurance companies will typically only cover damage that is the result of an accident. Many have policies in place that protect them in the event of intentional damage or catastrophic acts. They may even try to frame an accident into one of these exclusions to avoid liability.
Bad Faith: Insurance companies in California have a legal obligation to act in good faith. This means that the company must have a valid and legitimate reason for denying your claim. However, some companies try to skirt the law by engaging in practices that are frowned upon. Some reject claims without conducting a proper investigation. Others fail to disclose important information about a policy in an effort to limit their liability. This is called acting in bad faith and it’s actually a crime. If you believe that your claim has been denied in bad faith it is important to speak with an attorney.
What Are My Options If My Insurance Claim is Denied?
You need money after your accident. If your insurance claim is denied, the last thing you want to do is give up. You have two options: appeal the denial or file a lawsuit.
Appealing Your Denied Claim: All insurance companies have structures in place to accommodate appeals. Some companies may prefer informal negotiations, while others will utilize the process of arbitration. It can be very helpful to hire an attorney to help you with this process. Your appeal is your opportunity to explain why the insurance company was wrong to deny your request for damages. You will have the ability to explain your side of the story and present evidence that supports your case.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit: You also have the option of moving away from the claims process, altogether. If you don’t think that the insurance company will budge, you can resort to more formal legal action. Hiring an attorney to handle your case will send a signal to the insurer that you are serious about recovering compensation. This may be enough to get them to reconsider their position. If not, you’ll still have the opportunity to litigate your case. Insurance companies will have to play by state law, rather than their own rules. Your attorney will be by your side to make sure that you get the money you deserve.
Do you need help understanding your options after a Los Angeles car accident? Call our attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you assert your right to recover compensation.