What if my Auto Accident Claim is Denied?
If you drive a vehicle in Alabama, you should know that you have a one-in-three chance of getting into an auto accident in your lifetime.
Your chances of having a crash in your lifetime are over 90 percent. That’s one of the reasons we are required to carry auto insurance in Alabama, to cover the medical and property losses if the crash is substantial.
You pay for your auto insurance with the hopes you will never have to use it. But if you do, you want it to be there. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Insurers are profit-making entities. Therefore, insurance companies want to pay as little as possible to accident injury claimants, because this maximizes their bottom line.
So, what do you do if your claim has not been paid?
Denying An Auto Accident Claim
There may be a simple reason why your auto insurance claim was denied. For example, was your insurance current? Have you paid your insurance bill recently? Letting your insurance coverage lapse would clearly be one reason a claim could be denied.
But Alabama requires the at-fault party’s insurance company to pay a legitimate claim. There may be other reasons to deny a claim:
· Contributory Negligence – Alabama is one of a few contributory negligence states. In other words, if the insurance carrier can prove that you contributed in any way to your accident, even just one percent, they might deny your claim.
· Medical Injuries – What if you decide to go home even though you feel pain from the auto accident? To the insurance company, you didn’t seek medical help immediately after the accident because you were not really injured. It’s important to go to the emergency room or your doctor right away after the accident – even if you don’t feel like you were injured. There may be soft tissue injuries that are not immediately apparent to you but show up days later. Also, make sure the notes on your medical visit are complete and accurate.
· Pre-existing Condition – Another reason to seek medical attention immediately is to avoid being accused of using a pre-existing condition and blaming it on the recent auto accident. The insurer who wants to deny your claim likely will point out the pre-existing condition even though it may have nothing to do with your current injuries.
· Insurance Profits – Insurance companies have a strong incentive to maintain their profits by not paying your legitimate claim. Was your claim even investigated? Is the carrier acting in bad faith, as seen in the confusing language of your policy, or the interpretation of the fine print? After denial, are they just waiting for you to give up and go away?
· Failure to Report the Accident in Time – The other side may decide your delay in reporting an auto accident raises questions about your degree of injury. Check with your policy to specify how much time you have to report it.
Your Alabama Auto Accident Attorney
If you have been denied an auto accident claim, you will need the assistance of a seasoned Alabama car accident attorney.
Chip Nix has decades of experience negotiating with a carrier who has denied your auto accident claim. It is a violation of Alabama law for the insurance company to act in bad faith. If that can be determined, you can bring a civil lawsuit against the insurer.
In the case of contributory negligence, Mr. Nix can help you challenge the contention that you contributed to your accident if the evidence and eyewitness testimony support your claim. Despite what the insurance company says, the accident may have occurred through no fault of your own.
Additionally, there may be other avenues to seek compensation. For example, in many auto accidents, there can be a third party involved.
This can include a defective vehicle that contributed to the accident, road debris that caused one party to swerve into another, or a truck loaded unevenly that could cause the car to jack-knife across the road.These factors can contribute to an accident as well.
Let attorney Chip Nix examine your case and explore what legal options may be available to you if your auto accident claim has been denied. You can reach his office at 334-203-6669 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.