It is a common mistake to assume that because you have car insurance, you will be covered in the event of an accident. Car insurance is important, but that doesn’t mean that your insurance provider is on your side. Insurance companies make their money by collecting premiums and denying or minimizing claims. If you live in Florida and have recently been in a wreck, an Orlando car accident lawyer can help you navigate the difficult situation ahead. Especially if your car insurance claim has been denied.
Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You Overcome a Denied Claim?
Yes. Insurance providers often split hairs and err on the side of denial when it comes to honoring claims from car accidents. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you revisit the claim. If your claim was wrongfully denied and/or your case was mishandled, a lawyer can help you. Your options include forcing the claim to re-open or even suing your insurance company for the settlement they initially denied you.
With the help of a car accident lawyer, you can seek justice even after your insurance claim is denied. If you have recently seen your car insurance claim denied in Florida, Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson is here to help. Get in touch through the online form or call 407-422-4529 to discuss the details of your situation.
Denial and Minimization: How Insurance Companies Make Money
The most important thing to remember is that insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and denying claims. If they paid every claim, they wouldn’t make enough money. But they often go overboard, seeking to deny more claims than are appropriate for spurious or inflated reasons. This causes them to make even more money and, because having car insurance is necessary, they can’t lose too many clients over denied claims to put their business in jeopardy.
Where insurance companies can’t deny a claim outright, they often will minimize a claim instead. Claim minimization is when they try to justify giving you the smallest settlement possible by downplaying the severity of your injuries or the cost of repairs. They may also try to exclude certain aspects of the accident costs, whether or not you have the appropriate coverage.
Common Reasons Why Insurance Claims Get Denied
Insurance companies leave a lot of loopholes so they can deny claims on a regular basis. It’s how they make money. This is why your car insurance policy is so confusing and has so many different parts. If even one aspect of your car insurance policy doesn’t match the situation, your insuance company may have left itself an “out” to deny your claim and avoid paying your expenses after an accident.
There are several common reasons why insurance claims get denied.
Your Coverage is Incomplete
Insurance coverage is complicated. Should you have “Collision” or “Comprehensive”? If you have “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) do you need “Personal Damage Liability” too? Insurance agents also rarely explain the policies you need or make it easy to secure complete and practical coverage for all likely types of accidents.
If any of the details of your accident don’t match your coverage, your claim may be denied.
You Were Found “At Fault”
Florida is officially a no-fault car insurance state. This means that your insurance should pay for personal injury (PIP) expenses no matter who caused the accident. However, no-fault rules only cover personal injury. If you file a claim for anything other than personal injury coverage and the insurance investigation decides you were responsible for the crash, your “at fault” status might cause your insurer to refuse to pay for damages.
The Other Driver is Not Insured
If you are in an accident with another driver, and that driver does not have insurance, you will need to have Uninsured Motorist coverage. This adds a premium amount to your coverage and, in return, your insurance will take on the burden of being the insurance of the other person when they are responsible for the crash. If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, your claim might be denied when you are not at fault.
Your Statements Didn’t Match the Evidence
Right after an accident, you may have told a version of events that does not, later line up with all the evidence. This might be because you were shaken up and missed some details, because you didn’t know what the other driver was doing, or problems became evident after the accident. However, if the insurance company decides you were trying to mislead them, they may deny the claim.
Your Policy Was In Default
It is possible that your policy had lapsed at the exact moment of the accident. For example, if you had missed a premium payment by even a day or forgot to renew. You might have also missed a reporting deadline by taking a few extra days after the accident to report the accident or to provide some critical detail requested by the insurance company.
The Police Report Was Incorrect
Sometimes, the police at the scene of an accident draw false conclusions due to hasty investigation and even on-site bias. Your insurance company relies on the police report, and may convey those mistakes in their ruling of your claim approval.
Your Injuries Developed After the Accident
Lastly, sometimes a claim will be denied if your “story changes”. This is most likely to happen if your injuries turn out to be worse than you initially thought. The soft tissue damage that can occur due to a car accident sometimes does not show the full damage in the first few days after the crash as swelling develops and further problems emerge.
Illegal Reasons Why Claims Are Denied
There are cases where you can fight against the common reasons why a claim is denied. But there are also overtly illegal methods used by some insurance companies, or specific agents, investigators, or review boards inside an insurance company may use to deny claims. If any of these methods are evident, you can take your insurance company to court for falsely denying or minimizing your claim.
The Insurance Company Uses Delaying Tactics
Filing an insurance claim requires that you hit certain deadlines. You rely on your insurance agent to tell you what those deadlines are and walk you through the claim process. However, your agent also has the ability to delay you, saying it’s safe to wait while you heal or asking for hard-to-find paperwork in order to cause you to miss deadlines and make your claim easy to deny.
The Case Was Improperly Investigated
Insurance claim approval relies on evidence from an investigation. This includes both the police report and an investigation by the insuance company. However, if either investigation was done improperly, the “facts” may misrepresent your situation or even present your story as false when you told the whole truth as you experienced it. Poor investigation can be reversed with the help of a skilled car accident lawyer.
They Think You Don’t Know Your Policy
In some cases, an insurance company will deny your claim just because they think you won’t know any better. They may throw a wall of jargon at you after improperly explaining your policy in order to avoid paying out after an accident.
They Think You Won’t Fight Back
Lastly, some claims are denied because the insurance company thinks that you won’t or can’t fight back. People who are badly injured are at the most risk of delaying, missed deadlines, and frivolous denials because they are assumed to be unable to properly represent themselves. But others may also be targeted as meek, ignorant, or too busy to fight back.
Claim Minimization – Not Quite Denial
Even if your claim is not denied, you might find the settlement your insurance company offers to be much lower than the amount of your coverage or costs after the accident. This is a method known as minimization. Your insurance company may justify this by low-balling the estimate of your medical bills or repair costs so that they can pay less on a claim that they clearly must honor.
You do not have to accept the first settlement offer, and can fight back with the help of an Orlando car accident lawyer to get a fair settlement using real medical and repair estimates. Minimizing can be appealed by providing further evidence and cost assessments.
Was Your Insurance Claim Falsely Denied or Minimized?
If you have recently been in a car accident, Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson is on your side. Whether your claim was denied under false pretenses or minimized below your covered expenses, you do not have to accept the insurance company’s decision against you. If you want to fight back, you don’t have to face them down alone to get the settlement that your situation and policy deserves. Call us at 407-422-4529 or contact us through the website form for your legal consultation.