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Did insurance deny your car accident claim? What to do next

One minute you were driving, and the next you were in an accident. You were injured and your car was wrecked, and you have lost wages from missing work. It wasn't your fault. You did everything you were supposed to do, from filing a police report, snapping pictures of evidence and damage, getting medical treatment right away and filing a claim with your insurance company. But now in your hands is a denial letter, and you are angry and confused. You feel wronged by the insurance company. You were paying the insurance company to protect you in case of an accident, and now that you need them to hold up their end of the deal and pay damages, they refuse.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious about how you will pay for the damages and medical expenses. You wonder how you will get your finances and life back on track after missing work. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit, and the way they can profit is to collect premiums while minimizing payments for accidents. You feel this is wrong, the accident was not your fault and you deserve compensation from the insurance company.

Why was my claim denied?

There are many reasons an insurance company denies claims. They may decide you took too long to file a claim, or say that you failed to submit documents or proof. They may say they are not liable and claim the accident didn't really cause the injuries you reported. They may claim the type of accident you were in is not covered by your policy. Don't fret - there are steps you can take if your claim was denied.

Have your claim evaluated by an attorney

The first thing many people do is have their claim reviewed by an attorney experienced in insurance disputes, motor vehicle accidents and personal injury. An attorney can help you better understand why your claim was denied, and how you can show the insurance company they are responsible for paying your damages, lost wages and medical expenses.

You can appeal the decision

Appeals procedures differ for each insurance company. The denial letter may give you specific instructions on how to appeal the claim decision. Your insurance policy can also provide guidelines for appeal and next steps. An insurance attorney can help you make sure you are following the appeals process appropriately.

You can file a lawsuit

If the insurance company will not pay for your vehicle damage or injuries, you can file a lawsuit. For a severe car accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Here, you are able to sue other parties such as the negligent driver who caused the accident, and their insurance company. You also have the choice of suing your own car insurance company if they denied your claim in bad faith.

If your car accident was not severe, you have the option of filing a suit in small claims court. These courts generally take cases involving damages $5,000 or less. Some small claims courts resolve matters through mediation, rather than litigation.

If you are interested in taking any of these routes, or are unsure which option is best for you, an attorney can help you evaluate your options and decide the best legal path for you to take. Getting justice is possible with the help of someone familiar with these situations, and whose job is to hold insurance companies accountable when they act in bad faith.

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Stephanie Bowers Legal Staff
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