You’ve heard horror stories about insurance companies refusing to pay claims, and you may have experience with this situation yourself. When we’re dealing with large insurance companies sometimes it can feel like David vs. Goliath. This doesn’t always have to be the case, and if an insurance company is refusing to pay out a reasonable settlement there are options for you in order to gain recourse.
If You Have An Accident
After you’ve assured your own safety, and the safety of others, you may want to collect evidence from the accident. Call any emergency services that are required for the scene, including medical if anyone is injured. Take pictures of the damages that were done to your vehicle, as long as it is safe to do so. Get contact information from witnesses if you do not have it already, and ensure you’re getting the other drivers information as well.
If you’ve been involved in any accident, you should go to a doctor to make sure you’re in good physical health. If you have any injuries make sure you take pictures of them. It’s never a bad idea to call an attorney to help you file your claim to the insurance company, they’ll also be able to obtain police reports and walk you through the process.
They Only Give Low Offers
Keep in mind insurance companies are a business, they aren’t looking out for your best interests, they’re trying to make a profit. Insurance companies will attempt to give you low offers and see if you’ll accept them. Sometimes the offers that they give aren’t even close to the damages incurred. In these instances you’re going to especially want to employ the services of an attorney. Auto-accident laws vary from state to state and sometimes municipalities have guidelines regarding their processes, the laws in Chicago, Illinois may be different than those in another state or city. If you have a car accident in Illinois, having a car accident attorneys working with you on your claim can make an insurance company take you seriously. They likely won’t have to incur the expense of going to court and may agree to a higher payout.
They Won’t Pay At All
If the other insurance company won’t pay out at all, it may be because they’re defending their own policy holder. Some insurance companies are notorious for doing this, and it’s been well documented that they’re only looking out for their profits. Insurance companies are not your friend, so if you haven’t contacted an attorney yet you should if you’re receiving no damages.
Taking on a big insurance company without any legal assistance might not get you the farthest, so it’s best to have an attorney on your side so they know to take you seriously. An attorney can help you negotiate with an insurance company, and potentially initiate a lawsuit if they can’t come to a settlement. In many cases, simply working with an attorney is enough for an insurance company to offer you a settlement. If they’re still giving you a low offer, you may need to start a lawsuit against the insurance company. Your attorney will offer you the best form of recourse in these scenarios and if they think it will be worth it.
Your Own Policy
If the opposing insurance company is refusing to pay for your damages, you may be able to have some of the damages paid by your own insurance company. In many cases insurance companies will pay out the damages to their own policyholder if they feel it is justified. They may then take legal action against the opposing insurance company in order to reclaim damages. This is dependent on the form of insurance that you have, but it doesn’t hurt to contact your insurance company to discuss possibilities.
Small Claims Court
If the amount that your damages total is relatively small you may be able to find recourse in a small claims court. In small claims you won’t need to hire the assistance of a lawyer and you will be able to present your case. If you’re going to a small claims court to present in front of a mediator, ensure that you have all relevant evidence on your person. Some courts may only accept evidence in certain formats so make sure you’re abiding by the courts local rules.
Ultimately the decision you make will depend on your current situation. It’s always best to talk to a car accident attorney in order to find your best course of action, it can make auto insurance companies take your claim more seriously too. Insurance companies do need to make a profit, but that doesn’t mean that they should avoid paying out when you’re justified in your claim. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take in order to resolve problems with companies that refuse to agree to a settlement.