What If the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Denies Liability in a Car Accident?
At first, your car accident claim was fairly straightforward – you stopped at an intersection and the other driver rear-ended you. At the scene, you exchanged insurance information, submitted the claim, and simply waited for the other party’s insurance company to offer compensation. Now, however, the insurance company denies liability in the accident.
What can you do if the other driver’s insurance company denies liability? Will you need to pay for your damages? Read on for a step-by-step guide to denied claims.
Why Would an Insurance Company Deny Liability?
First and foremost, insurance companies are businesses. As with any other business, the other driver’s insurance company has one primary goal – to make money while retaining clients. While the insurance company’s clientele largely does not affect you, their attempts to make money can.
Ideally, the other driver’s insurance company will continue to collect premiums from its clients while paying the lowest settlement amounts possible for any claims made. If the company can deny their client’s liability in your accident, it does not need to provide any compensation for your damages. The company may hope that by disputing liability, you will give up and stop pursuing compensation. There are many reasons that liability could be denied.
- The police report did not state the other driver was at fault. If the police report did not state fault, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident. Proof can include photos from the scene, witness testimony, and your recollection of the events of the accident.
- Your damages were pre-existing. If the insurance company claims your damages resulted from a previous accident or act of God, you must prove the accident at the heart of the claim caused your damages.
- The other driver’s policy was invalid. If the other driver did not maintain coverage with the insurance company, you may need to rely on your uninsured motorist coverage to receive compensation for your damages.
- You did not notify the insurer in a timely manner. You must notify the insurance company of your claim within a set period determined by the state or the company itself. If you failed to do so, the company may escape liability.
Steps to Take After Liability Denial
If an insurance company denies liability and refuses your claim, you may still pursue compensation. Follow these steps for your best chance at receiving compensation for your damages.
- Speak with an attorney. The insurance company has attorneys on its side. Hiring your own Phoenix car accident attorney keeps you on equal footing with the insurance company and gives your next steps more weight when it comes to pursuing compensation. In addition, an experienced attorney can offer insight and best practices for dealing with your unique situation.
- Draft a demand letter. A good demand letter asks the insurance company for proof and reasoning behind the denial of liability. Outline your recollection of the accident, physical and medical damages, and the way in which the other driver caused the accident. The insurance company may respond with reasoning for their decision, which you can then refute. Alternatively, the company may offer you a settlement. Speak with your attorney regarding the next step.
- Engage in formal appeals. Check to see if the insurance company offers a formal appeals process. If so, your attorney may negotiate a settlement with the insurance company’s attorney during formal arbitration.
- File a lawsuit. If your claim amount is of a certain value higher than the cost of filing a lawsuit, and if your attorney believes he or she can win a settlement during a legal proceeding, you may want to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. However, be aware that the cost of your lawsuit may exceed your settlement.
Regardless of the reason the insurance company has for denying your claim, you should consult an attorney to determine your ability to pursue compensation. In the event your Arizona personal injury attorney believes you can win your case, expert legal assistance increases the likelihood you will achieve a favorable result.
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