You might have to work with a lawyer to get the compensation you deserve if the driver’s insurance denied your pedestrian accident claim. Sometimes insurance adjusters “play hardball,” hoping that you will give up.
How a Lawyer Can Help if the Driver’s Insurance Company Refuses to Pay Your Pedestrian Accident Injury Claim
Your best bet might be to work with a personal injury lawyer if the driver’s insurance company refuses to pay your pedestrian accident injury claim. Usually, an adjuster will take a claimant with a lawyer more seriously than a person who is trying to handle a personal injury case on his own.
A lawyer can take these steps on your behalf:
- Send a demand letter in which the lawyer can identify how the driver’s carelessness caused the pedestrian accident. The letter can state the amounts of your financial losses, like medical expenses and lost wages. Also, the demand letter can make a claim for your total damages, including intangible losses like pain and suffering.
- Negotiate directly with the insurer so that you do not have to do so. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know the usual amount of compensation in a case like yours. The lawyer will also know how to avoid the standard tactics that insurers use to pay you less money than they should.
- If necessary, file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. The driver’s insurance company will likely defend the driver in the case. If the insurer refuses to pay a fair amount to settle your claim out of court, the lawyer can file the lawsuit on your behalf.
- Sue the driver’s insurance company for bad faith refusal to pay a valid claim covered by a motor vehicle liability policy. Georgia law requires insurance companies to act in good faith to settle valid claims. If the insurer does not pay a fair amount within 60 days of the demand letter, the insurance company can be liable for the full amount of your loss plus up to 50 percent of the loss or $5,000, whichever is more. They can also be responsible for additional damages and your reasonable attorney fees.
The courts interpret the laws that allow bad faith lawsuits strictly, so be sure to work with a lawyer on this type of action.
Your Options if the Driver’s Insurer Denies Your Claim Because of the Driver’s Conduct
Sometimes a driver's insurance will deny your pedestrian accident claim because the defendant driver’s conduct nullified his insurance coverage. The driver’s insurance policy will list the reasons the insurer can nullify the coverage. For example, insurance can be void if the driver was road racing or committing a felony at the time of the accident. You have a couple of options in this situation:
- Sue the driver for his personal assets, homeowner’s “umbrella” liability insurance, and any other available assets. Many people have “umbrella” liability coverage with their homeowner’s insurance company to protect them from liability claims that their other insurance does not pay. These policies typically have high policy limits. Be aware that the umbrella policy might exclude coverage for the same reasons as the automobile policy.
- Proceed under your automobile uninsured motorist coverage, if you carry this optional policy add-on. If the driver’s insurance does not cover the accident, your automobile policy might pay your claim, because, in effect, the driver was uninsured. Many auto insurance policies cover you when you are on foot, as long as there was a motor vehicle involved.
Depending on the facts of your situation, you might have additional options.
Reasons Insurance Companies Blame Pedestrians for Accidents
It is standard practice for insurance companies to blame the victim in an effort to protect their insured from liability. Some of the common allegations the driver's insurance use to deny your pedestrian accident claim are:
- The walker caused the accident because he was distracted by talking on a cell phone, texting, or visiting with fellow walkers.
- The pedestrian crossed against the traffic light or was jaywalking.
- The walker darted out into traffic.
We perform a thorough investigation of every personal injury case we handle. We will uncover what actually happened and gather the evidence to prove your case. Even if the pedestrian was somewhat careless, drivers of motor vehicles have a duty to keep a lookout for pedestrians and take reasonable measures to avoid hitting people who are on foot.
Getting Legal Help for a Georgia Pedestrian Accident
There is a deadline for filing a lawsuit for compensation in these situations, so do not delay. If you miss the deadline, Georgia law can bar you from ever going after damages for your injuries. Talk with a lawyer right away to preserve your right to compensation if the driver's insurance denied your pedestrian accident claim for your losses. At S. Burke Law, we help injured people. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free case evaluation.