September 13, 2018 Category: Insurance Claim
After a Los Angeles car accident, you may decide to file a personal injury claim with another driver’s insurance company. You’re certain that the other driver is to blame and want their insurer to pay you the money you deserve. Once you submit your claim and demand letter you wait to hear back from the company. Much to your surprise, the company has decided to deny your claim. They’re not going to pay you for damage caused by their insured driver.
Why do insurance companies deny claims? Is there anything you can do if you think that your claim has been wrongfully denied? Our personal injury attorneys provide some answers to help you understand what might have happened. If you have questions or want to learn more, do not hesitate to call us for help today.
Reasons Insurance Claims Are Denied
Insurance claims can be denied for many reasons. Some denials may be legitimate, while others may be in bad faith. It’s important to understand why your claim was denied. Here are some of the most common reasons insurance claims are denied after a car accident in Los Angeles.
1. The Driver Wasn’t Covered
All drivers in California are required to have a valid car insurance policy. In fact, state law even sets minimum amounts of coverage that drivers must purchase. However, an insurance company may deny your claim if:
- The driver was behind on payments, and/or
- The policy has lapsed.
The insurance company will refuse to pay if their insured driver wasn’t technically insured at the time of the accident.
Solution: File a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident. Seek damages directly from them, rather than fighting with the insurance company.
Insurance companies put a lot of fine print in their policies. A large part of an insured driver’s policy is probably dedicated to “exclusions” or reasons the insurance company won’t cover the cost of an accident. For example, an insurer probably won’t pay if they believe the accident or damage was the result of a catastrophic event or intentional actions.
Solution: You can appeal the company’s decision with proof that their driver’s negligence caused your harm. Alternatively, you can identify everyone who may have contributed to your accident and file a lawsuit naming each of those people as defendants.
3. Claim Not Filed On Time
It’s important to contact an insurer immediately after your accident. Why? Most companies limit the amount of time you have to file a claim. Some companies even limit the time you have to 24 or 48 hours after a crash. If you don’t file within this short timeframe, they retain the right to deny your request.
Solution: You have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Take your case to court and demand compensation from the driver who hurt you.
4. Proof of Fault Not Established
Insurance companies may deny your claim if it believes that you have not provided enough proof to show that their insured driver is to blame. If there is any dispute about fault, the company may simply deny your request for damages.
Solution: Appeal the decision and provide additional pieces of evidence to show that their insured driver is to blame. The more evidence you can provide, the better your chances of recovering the money you need. Alternatively, you can simply abandon the claim and file a civil lawsuit.
5. Bad Faith
Insurers in California have a legal obligation to act in good faith when handling insurance claims. This obligation means that they must act honestly and with good intentions. If a company denies your claim, it must have a valid and legitimate reason for doing so. That denial must also be supported by proof. Unfortunately, some companies don’t necessarily adhere to good faith practices. Some have unspoken policies to deny claims as soon as they are received, without so much as an investigation. Others don’t put in the amount of work that is really necessary to determine fault.
Solution: Fail an appeal and demand to know why your claim was denied. If the company can’t provide a good reason, you have the right to file a bad faith personal injury lawsuit for additional damages.
Do you need help with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit? Our Los Angeles injury lawyers can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.