You’ve been in a car accident. Your car was hit, but it’s not your fault—the other driver was clearly responsible. You call their insurance company expecting they’ll cover the costs of repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and more. But instead, you get the shocking news that they are denying or only partially paying your claim. Now what?
This frustrating situation leaves many accident victims feeling powerless and overwhelmed. But don’t panic. You have options. In this article, we’ll walk through why an at-fault driver’s auto insurance company might deny a valid injury or property damage claim and what you can do to fight back.
Things don’t always go as they should after a car wreck. Sometimes, the other driver’s insurer may wrongly deny your claim even if the other driver was at fault. Here are a few of the most common reasons that happens.
Often, accident claims are denied because the negligent driver’s policy limits are inadequate to fully compensate you for the harm done. For example, Tennessee only requires drivers to carry $25,000 in liability coverage per person injured in an accident, up to $50,000 total per incident. If your damages exceed those minimum requirements, the insurance company may refuse to pay anything above their low policy maximums.
In cases like these, you have two options:
An experienced car accident attorney can help weigh these alternatives and fight to get you fully compensated.
Another common denial scenario is when the insurer disputes the policyholder was responsible for causing the collision. They may claim you share the blame or were entirely at fault based on questionable interpretations of crash evidence.
Don’t let them off the hook so easily. Work quickly to establish irrefutable proof of the other driver’s fault, such as obtaining a police report citing them for the accident, getting written witness statements, taking photos of skid marks and vehicle damage, etc. A personal injury lawyer can help collect this evidence and effectively refute bogus allegations of shared fault.
Insurance carriers often deny claims if the policyholder waits too long to report the accident and submit bills for compensation. To protect your rights, it’s advisable that both drivers file a report with insurers and police within 24 hours of the collision. Promptly see a doctor even for minor injuries and provide the insurance adjuster documentation as medical expenses arise.
If an insurer tries to avoid paying by arguing late reporting, don’t take no for an answer. Explain any reasonable delays in contacting them, and firmly insist on fair compensation for your damages.
Having an attorney send a letter demanding they reopen or reconsider the claim can also spark them to action.
So, what recourse do you have when facing a wrongful denial of an injury or property damage claim? Here are a few effective steps to take:
First, ask the adjuster to reconsider their decision and provide any additional evidence to back your case. Point out facts in police reports that confirm the other driver’s apparent fault. Highlight Tennessee personal injury laws that support your right to compensation. Don’t let them brush you off on a first lowball offer. Negotiate with the insurance adjuster firmly and make it clear you won’t tolerate stonewalling.
Every state has an insurance oversight department that takes consumer complaints about unfair claim denials. The Department of Commerce and Insurance allows you to file a complaint against insurers acting in bad faith. They have the authority to investigate wrongdoings by insurers and apply pressure to resolve valid claims.
Car insurance companies know you don’t have the power to make them pay on your own. But they’ll often change their tune when your tenacious car accident lawyer sends a demand letter, requests arbitration or mediation, or threatens legal action in court. An attorney has the experience to accurately calculate total damages, pin down liability, and relentlessly pursue maximum compensation through every means under the law.
If you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your own auto policy, you may be able to get your damages covered through your insurer when the at-fault party’s insurance rejects liability. There are strict notice and cooperation requirements, so consult a lawyer about how to successfully make an uninsured motorist claim in conjunction with disputed liability.
The takeaway message is this: don’t assume you’re powerless if an insurance company unfairly denies or limits compensation after a car crash. Take heart, knowing there are effective steps you can take to appeal the decision and gain the complete financial recovery you deserve under the law.
Contact us today to discuss your options with our team of dedicated car accident attorneys. Pickford Law is here to help you finally get this difficult chapter behind you and move forward on the road to healing and justice.