If you have car insurance, you may feel confident that you’re covered in the event of an accident. But what if your insurer refuses to pay a claim?
New York's state law requires that drivers carry liability insurance of at least $25,000 for injury to one person, $50,000 for bodily injury to everyone involved, and $10,000 for property damage in a single accident. Motorists also are required to have $50,000 of “no-fault” coverage.
Additionally, all auto policies in New York must include uninsured motorist coverage with the same minimum amounts. Many drivers carry additional protection for personal injury and for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
With your insurance policy in place, why might your insurer deny a claim? What can you do to recover compensation?
Filing a Claim
Following an accident, you should file a claim to ensure that you receive all compensation to which you are entitled. Economic harm from an accident may include damage to your vehicle, medical expenses for any injuries, and time lost from work.
To be sure you are compensated, file a claim that includes a copy of the police report, photos from the accident, and your medical records or other evidence of injuries. Also, include the contact information of any witnesses to the wreck. Including information from your employer about any wages you’ve lost as a result of the accident is a must as well.
Why Are Claims Rejected?
Although you may have submitted all the proper documentation, your insurer may try to avoid paying your claim. One reason may be exclusions in your policy, such as intentionally causing damage. Damage caused while racing or driving off-road, along with damage caused by wear and tear, also are among the types of claims your insurer may reject.
The insurance company may refuse to pay a claim if your insurance broker, agent or adjuster think you’re making money by providing rides with your personal vehicle.
Determining Responsibility for an Accident
Determining fault in your accident may also play a role in whether your insurer attempts to reject your claim. Law enforcement officers who respond to the scene of an accident make an initial determination of fault.
However, for the purposes of a claim, an insurance company may follow the opinion of its adjusters rather than the police. If your insurance company disagrees with the findings of police and is refusing to pay you, you should work with an experienced attorney that can guarantee your rightful compensation.
If you or any occupants of your vehicle are injured due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver, you are entitled to file a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage.
Working with Insurance Adjusters
Many people feel intimidated by insurance adjusters and will not act assertively to ensure that they receive fair treatment. If you feel unsure about communicating with an adjuster, your attorney can do so for you.
You should call your insurance company as soon as possible, following an accident. An adjuster will review the circumstances of the accident and make a determination about fault.
If the accident was not your fault but the insurance company of the other driver disagrees, your attorney can assist you in determining where to file the claim. Whether you file with your own insurer or the other driver’s insurer, you likely will need an attorney’s assistance to receive your full and fair correct compensation.
Which Type of Coverage Applies?
Your attorney can work with you to determine which type of coverage applies to your accident. Generally, accidents that involve only property damage are filed under collision policies. For example, if your car is hit from behind and sustains serious damage to the bumper, it would filed under a collision policy.
Any accidents that fall outside the collision guidelines are filed under the comprehensive portion of your policy. Theft or damage from vandalism or flooding may fall under a comprehensive claim. Your attorney can assist you in filing claims properly with your insurer.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve
Accidents are extremely stressful events, and you may need time to recover both physically and emotionally. An insurance company’s refusal to pay a claim can increase your stress level as repair bills and medical expenses mount.
By working with an experienced auto accident attorney, you can feel confident that a knowledgeable advocate is on your side. To schedule a free consultation, please contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond.