If your car accident claim was denied, you can challenge the wrongful denial by filing a dispute of the decision with the insurance company or by talking with a lawyer about taking action on your behalf. A lawyer can advocate for you directly with the insurance company, try to clear up any confusion that might have led to the denial, or file a lawsuit for wrongful denial.
When the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer Denies Your Claim
Usually, people go after financial damages for their losses against the person at fault in the car accident. Georgia law requires all motorists to carry liability insurance, so the at-fault driver’s insurer will step in to defend him from your claim.
The job of the insurance adjuster is to pay you as little money as possible to resolve your claim. Sometimes adjusters play hardball and deny valid claims. The adjuster might be bluffing, hoping that you will give up and drop your claim. You can try to work with the adjuster, or a car accident lawyer can go to bat for you. You do not have to go through this process on your own.
Pursuing a Claim Under Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you were hurt in a hit and run accident or a collision with a driver who did not have liability coverage, you might have to turn to your uninsured motorist coverage for payment of your losses (if you bought this optional add-on to your policy). Your insurance company will try to make someone else, like the at-fault driver, pay your claim.
This process can take a long time, while your insurer investigates the situation. If your insurance company takes an unreasonable amount of time or denies your claim, you can try to resolve the dispute yourself or get help from a car accident lawyer.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Insurance Claim Denial
When we take a case involving the denial of a valid car accident insurance claim, we perform a thorough investigation to find all possible sources of compensation for your injuries and other losses. The insurance company is not supposed to contact you when you have a lawyer representing you.
We can negotiate directly with the insurance carrier on your behalf so that you do not have to. If the claim is settled, we will go through the documents with you and make sure that everything is correct with the car accident claim settlement.
We have two options when handling these cases:
Negotiate With the Insurer on Your Behalf
When the insurance company gets a letter from a lawyer, the claim usually gets taken out of the hands of the original claims adjuster and sent to the insurer’s legal department. Sometimes, the company agrees to settle for a reasonable amount because the new person assigned to the case realizes that your claim is valid.
Also, insurers tend to take cases more seriously when the claimant has a lawyer. One reason for this response is the fact that the insurance company knows it could face massive financial penalties and have to pay your attorney’s fees if the insurer acts in bad faith.
File a Lawsuit Against the Insurance Company for Bad Faith Refusal to Pay a Claim
Under Georgia law, insurance companies that sell motor vehicle liability policies in Georgia have an affirmative duty to handle every claim promptly and fairly. The insurer must use reasonable efforts to investigate and analyze the claim.
If it is reasonably clear that the insurance company’s policyholder was liable for the accident and injuries, the insurer has to make a good faith effort to settle the claim. If the insurance carrier violates this law, the company might have to pay your claim and a penalty of 50% of the liability amount. If the policyholder’s liability is less than $10,000, the insurer might have to pay a penalty of $5,000 to the claimant.
The statute requires us to send the insurance company a demand letter that offers to settle your claim for a specific dollar amount. If the insurer does not settle for that amount and the court finds that the refusal to pay the claim was in bad faith, the penalties kick in. Also, the insurance company can be responsible for our reasonable attorney fees.
Georgia law limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit seeking money damages for your injuries under a statute of limitations. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to go after compensation. Call us today so that we can protect your right to recover your losses.
Getting a Free Consultation
At S. Burke Law, we treat our clients like family. We care about what happens to you. We will work tirelessly to get you all the compensation that you deserve. You can focus on getting well while we take care of everything else.
If your car accident claim was denied and you want responsive legal services from a firm that is not afraid to battle the multi-billion-dollar insurance companies on your behalf, call us today at 404-842-7838. The consultation is free, and there is no obligation.