When you are injured in a car accident in Washington D.C., you have a right to be compensated for those injuries by the “at fault” driver’s insurance company. After all, you weren’t the one to blame for the accident.
The advice you’re reading here applies only if you’ve experienced minor injuries and you’re expecting a full recovery back to your normal state of health. If you’ve had more serious injuries that look like they will have a long-term impact on your life, our best advice is to hire an experienced and skilled car accident attorney as soon as you can and do NOT try to deal with theat-fault driver’s insurance company on your own.
So if you’re still reading, the rest of this piece assumes you’re in the smaller injury category. A good place to be, by the way. Getting and staying healthy has to be your Number One priority.
Immediately after your accident, there are several steps you should take to ensure that your insurance claim is approved and handled quickly.
- Seek medical attention (your first priority)
- File a police report
- Notify your own insurance company of the crash
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Provide documentation of injuries and damage.
However, even when you do everything right after a car accident, you may find that your insurance claim is still denied. When this occurs, you may be rightly frustrated and upset. After all, someone else caused your injuries and damaged your car. Why are you suddenly fighting an uphill battle to be made whole again?
When an insurance company denies your claim, do you know your legal rights? How can you obtain the money you need?
Fortunately, the very best action you can take after a serious car accident is to contact an experienced and skilled Washington D.C. car accident attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you handle insurance claim denials and evaluate the issues surrounding your case, so you can obtain the money you deserve. Your attorney will work on a contingency fee, getting paid a portion of the recovery he or she earns for you.
Determining Why Your Claim Was Denied
The first step towards achieving a successful outcome is to determine why your initial claim was denied. There are numerous reasons why the insurance company may have denied your claim. However, the most common reasons are:
- Disputed liability
- Policy exclusions
- Lapsed policy
- Failure to notify
Sometimes an insurance company denies a claim because of legitimate reasons. However, sometimes, insurance companies engage in bad faith tactics and deny claims without cause. Or, more commonly, they may try to “low ball” you by offering a small settlement that doesn’t fairly represent the magnitude of the harm you experienced. Your attorney will be able to investigate your claim denial closely to hold unscrupulous insurance companies accountable for engaging in bad faith tactics.
Reversing the Denial
Once your lawyer has identified why your claim was denied, he or she will begin building your case to overturn a denied claim. To do this, your attorney will gather all of the evidence and documents needed to address the real reason the claim was denied. Your lawyer will be able to make a case for why the initial claim should not have been denied and why payment should be made under the policy.
The process may follow these steps:
- Review the denial letter from the insurer
- Contact an attorney
- Your lawyer will begin an investigation
- Your lawyer will put together a packet with letters of support, test results, and any other evidence needed to support your claim
- Your lawyer may request an independent examination
- You and your attorney may enter into alternative dispute resolution with the insurer. This may include either mediation or arbitration. This is a voluntary step that you should undertake only with the advice of a good attorney.
Negotiating a Settlement
You have a right to be compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, future medical care costs, loss of future earnings, and property damage. Your attorney will evaluate your injuries, meet with medical experts, and review your medical history to help you obtain a fair settlement. Any settlement you receive should reflect all of your expenses – both now and in the future, as well as compensation for your lost quality of life.
Taking Your Case to Court
If the insurance company still refuses to pay your claim, you may file a formal complaint in court against the at-fault driver and his or her employer. Since litigation can become more costly and time-consuming, it is absolutely necessary to have an experienced and skilled Washington D.C. car accident attorney on your side throughout this process. You will still have an opportunity to reach a settlement during this process, which can last one year or more. It may be necessary to have a trial in front of a judge and jury, especially if you believe your injuries are much more serious than the other side’s insurer wants to acknowledge.
Contact Our Experienced Washington D.C. Car Accident Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our Washington D.C. car accident attorneys know that having your insurance claim denied is a frustrating situation. After all, you need money now to help you rebuild your life and pay for your medical care.
When an insurance company denies your claim, you need to turn to an experienced and skilled car accident lawyer immediately. Contact our law firm by calling (202) 742-1500 or (888) 625-6635 or filling out our confidential contact form. We offer a free initial consultation for all injured accident victims and can help you choose the legal path that is best for you. Call today!