What Happens If Another Driver or Insurance Company Denies Liability?
Posted in Car Accidents on February 12, 2019.
A Birmingham car accident can leave you with medical bills, property damage, and other expenses. Ideally, you will file a claim with an at-fault driver’s insurance policy and they will compensate you for the full extent of your losses. Unfortunately, the process is not always so simple.
An insurance company has a duty to pay for the medical expenses, property damage, and other damages that their insureds’ cause, up to the policy limits. When an insurance company denies responsibility for their driver’s actions, an attorney is often necessary to negotiate the claim and hold the responsible party accountable for wrongdoing.
A Denial of Liability in Alabama
Following a car accident, you call the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Typically, the company conducts an independent investigation into the car accident by reviewing police reports and having their own claims adjusters look into the circumstances surrounding the crash. It can be shocking to learn that an insurance company denies responsibility for an accident, but it happens more frequently than it should.
When you receive a claim denial, the first thing you should do is ask why. Proof of their denial in writing will give you a tangible place to work from and starts a paper trail. Insurance companies must abide by state law and provide proof of liability. Once you receive this information, you can start the process of an appeal.
One of the most common grounds for denying liability is that the officers on the scene did not make a designation of fault at the accident. If the police report does not say that the other driver was at fault for an accident, they are more likely to say that they do not owe anything. Establishing liability in an accident now becomes someone else’s responsibility, which means hiring a personal injury attorney to examine your case and demand compensation from an at-fault driver may become necessary.
What to Do After an Insurance Company Denies Responsibility
Learning of a claim denial can be concerning, but you can take steps to protect your claim.
- Call your own insurance company. Many policies will agree to pay your repair bills or other expenses and take on the other insurer for reimbursement. You will be responsible for paying the deductible, but it may be more cost-effective than paying the repairs on your own.
- Contact an attorney, especially if you sustained an injury in the car accident. Medical bills can rise quickly, and many victims in car accidents can experience significant financial hardship between repair bills and other expenses. An attorney will examine all the evidence from the accident, make a determination of fault, and fight for maximum compensation from the insurance company who denies liability.
When an insurance company fails to act in good faith and exercise fair dealing, it is a violation of state law. Getting an attorney involved can provide the push they require to accept liability and give you compensation for your injuries.
In some cases, an attorney may have to take the insurance company to court and a judge and jury will make a final ruling over who is responsible and how much money you should receive for your injuries and other losses. Since litigation proves to be timely and expensive, most insurance companies will offer a settlement before the matter goes to trial.
Receiving a claim denial can be frustrating, but it does not mean that you will not receive compensation for your injuries. Contact your own insurance company to cover your immediate expenses, and then contact an attorney to examine your case and see if you have grounds for a viable personal injury claim. A lawyer can help you get compensation for the full extent of your losses from a liable insurance company.