When you present your auto accident claim to the responsible party, your only hope is to get compensated for your damages as soon as possible. However, know that there is no guarantee that your claim will be accepted; a denial is also an option. Here are some steps you should try if your initial claim is denied outright:
Understand Why Your Claim Was Denied
The first thing you should do is understand why your claim was denied in the first place. This is because the reason for denial will determine your course of action thereafter. Here are some of the reasons auto accident claims get denied:
· The insurance company believes there was an alternative cause of the accident
· The victim was late in reporting the accident
· The accident was caused by an excluded risk
· The victim didn't provide required paperwork
Sometimes the reason for the denial may seem reasonable, while at other times it may be unreasonable. Just ask the insurance company to explain itself; you have the right to this information.
See If You Can Lodge an Appeal
Depending on the reason given for the denial, it may be possible to lodge an appeal against the denial. Understand that insurance companies have specific processes that you must follow when disputing a claim, and there may also be specific timelines to follow. Get the guideline directly from the company and ensure you follow it to the letter.
Auto insurance companies are obligated to allow such appeals, but they aren't obligated to rule in your favor. Therefore, you may or may not succeed with your appeal process.
Consider a Bad Faith Claim
If your appeal is denied and you still believe that the insurance company is not treating you right, then you can lodge a bad faith claim. This is basically a claim that alleges that the insurance company is denying your claim even though it should honor it as per your contractual agreement. The types of denials that can trigger these claims depend on your jurisdiction, so you should understand the insurance laws in your state first. If you succeed, you may be compensated for other damages (such as punitive damages and legal fees) in addition to the original claim.
As you can see, your claim being denied doesn't mean that you won't receive any compensation. Consult a car accident lawyer to evaluate your case and provide you with further options you can take.