Any time a driver gets into a car accident, it can be a traumatic experience. When it happens, most drivers will depend on their insurance company to timely pay their claim so they can have the funds to put their lives back together; however, some insurance companies may wrongfully deny a claim leaving the policyholder, now victim, responsible. In this article, we will look at some of the most common reasons why your insurer could deny your claim and help you learn some of the things you should keep in mind to keep it from happening when you are involved in a car accident.
Many states, including Oklahoma, are considered “at-fault” states. This means that there are no restrictions on lawsuits, and the driver that caused the accident is responsible for all damages that arise from the accident.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean claim denials aren’t still possible.
Some specific things could contribute to the insurance company’s decision.
Many drivers choose to invest only in state law mandated liability coverage. While this is required, liability coverage only pays for damages that the driver is responsible for.
There are many different facets to choosing the appropriate coverages for your car insurance policy. Opting for full coverage insurance that includes collision, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist is recommended to avoid potential insurance claim denial.
If a driver is at fault and does not have collision coverage, they will likely receive no help from an insurance company to fix their own car. This means that only the damage to the victim’s car will be covered under the insurance policy through the liability coverage of the policy. Some other things that can affect whether or not a claim will be denied include:
Full Cooperation in the investigation
Oklahoma auto insurance policies have a cooperation clause. This clause makes it mandatory for the insured and driver to fully cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. In the absence of what the insurance company determines to be full cooperation, the company can deny your claim.
The Claim Wasn’t Reported Soon Enough
Some insurance providers require a claim to be submitted within a specific time frame. For this reason, it is essential to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible following an auto accident. Otherwise, they will claim they didn’t have time to research the claim or gather the evidence they needed to make a decision.
The Driver Was Under the Influence
Although it may seem like reasonably obvious criteria, many insurance providers will deny a claim if either driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If either driver were under the influence at the time of the accident, it could lead to complications that lead an insurance company to deny a claim.
Any driver that was involved in an accident that was not their fault and their insurance company denied their claim should request a letter from their insurance provider detailing why their claim was denied. In some cases, the insurance company may wrongfully deny a claim. If the insurance company acted unreasonably, there may be the opportunity for a bad-faith claim to be made against the insurance company. Examples of bad faith on the part of an insurance provider include a low ball evaluation, a lack of reasonable basis for the denial, attempts to determine policy eligibility after a claim is filed, or having no valid basis for denial.
If a driver has paid the premium for their policy and was denied due to facts that don’t align with the incident, they have a right to dispute the denial and attempt to obtain a favorable decision. Although, it is crucial to make sure that you have the proper documentation to back up your side of the case.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve when leveraging your insurance policy.
For drivers injured in a car wreck that was not their fault, it can be hard to determine which steps to take next. Call Graves McLain right away at 918-359-6600. When an injured driver calls one of our attorneys, we will speak with them for FREE and determine the best course of action. A client will never pay an attorney’s fee up front. At Graves McLain, we do not get paid until our client gets paid.
Graves McLain, Serious Lawyers for Serious Injuries