Filing an insurance claim following a car accident can be a frustrating experience when the insurance company or negligent driver is contesting the claim. Insurance companies routinely investigate every aspect of an accident claim because it could lead to a lesser payout when the claim is finalized.
Insurance companies are in business to make a profit and any reason they can find to defend the value of a claim could protect the company bottom line. This is a major component of why it is always important to discuss an accident case with an experienced personal injury attorney when filing a claim.
- An auto accident attorney can advise on what to expect from the insurance company and the potential value of your claim, which could be much more than you realize.
- This is especially true in cases of multiple parties or when a commercial vehicle is involved.
- Product liability claims can be viable when a vehicle is included in a recall and causes an accident due to its defect.
Dealing with a Bad Faith Insurance Company
Many insurance companies will use negotiation tactics that could be considered in bad faith when they think a claimant will not retain an attorney to handle the claim. A common tactic is to try to settle the claim quickly.
- This will often entail a low settlement offer, much lower than the true value of the claim.
- Adjusters do not have to reveal the amount of their client’s maximum coverage until a case goes to court or you hire an attorney who will request the information immediately. Until or unless that happens they may try to lowball you.
- The insurance company may delay payment as much as possible or stall by investigating each and every invoice submission from victims for accuracy and necessity.
- They may challenge any or all invoices submitted to them, regardless of their validity.
Personal Contribution to the Accident Can Matter
Depending on the state where the accident occurred, comparative negligence can be an important factor in the personal injury pain-and-suffering calculations.
- Some states use pure comparative law which allows any accident injury victim to collect damages minus the percentage of their contribution to the accident.
- Modified comparative negligence states will use either 50% or 51% as a bar to receiving financial recovery for injuries sustained in the crash. This is an area of the law insurance companies always focus on and will be where your accident attorney will work the most diligently to protect your legal recovery rights.
Cases that Go to Trial
Sometimes the insurance company or the defendant will choose to take a case to trial when they think they can win an acquittal. This is especially common when all parties are in disagreement as to liability. This will require you to enlist the expertise of an experienced trial attorney.
Plaintiff legal counsels may take a case to trial when there is a good chance that a jury will issue a punitive damage award for gross negligence or bad faith negotiating by the respondent insurance provider.
If you would like an experienced attorney such as the car accident attorney Des Moines IA locals trust to review your case, request a consultation. Most law firms will provide one at no cost.
Thanks to authors at Johnston Martineau LLP for their insight into Personal Injury Law.