What to Do if the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Refuses to Settle Your Car Accident Claim
According to government statistics, more than 150,000 people were involved in Oklahoma car accidents in 2014. That’s about one out of every 25 Oklahoma residents. Unfortunately, figures like these mean it’s fairly likely you will be involved in a car accident at some time in your life. If the other driver is responsible for causing the crash, his or her insurance company should pay for your medical expenses and property damage up to the limits of the policy. However, insurance companies sometimes refuse to settle car accident claims. If you ever find yourself in a situation where a negligent driver’s insurance carrier refuses to compensate you for your injuries or property damage, you should contact our skilled Oklahoma City auto accident lawyers right away for help. We can evaluate your situation and determine what other options might be available to pursue.
Common Reasons Auto Insurance Companies Deny Accident Claims
There are many reasons a car insurance company might refuse to settle an accident claim in Oklahoma, such as:
- Delays in medical treatment, which is part of why it’s so important to see a physician right away. We elaborated on this topic in our article about how long you have to see a doctor after a car accident.
- Lapses in the policyholder’s coverage, a situation you can prepare for by purchasing UM/UIM insurance coverage.
- Denial of the policyholder’s fault for causing the crash. Determining fault in a multi-vehicle accident is a complex process that involves reviewing physical evidence, medical records, and police reports while comparing each driver’s actions against Oklahoma’s traffic laws.
If you’d like to read more about this topic in detail, please see our article on common reasons car accident claims get denied. In this article, we’ll be focusing on what to do (and what not to do) if the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier denies your claim.
Refusal to Settle Your Third Party Claim Could Be Bad Faith Insurance
First and foremost, you should avoid signing any paperwork unless you have actually read, understood, and agreed to every word of the fine print. If you have the slightest doubt about the consequences of signing a document, it is in your best interests to avoid signing until you have had a chance to review the forms carefully with a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney. In this type of situation, signing off on certain insurance paperwork can seriously impede your ability to recover adequate compensation for your costs and injuries.
However, avoiding mistakes on your paperwork isn’t the only reason to contact a lawyer after your third-party claim is denied by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the other driver was genuinely at fault for the accident, and there were no legitimate issues such as coverage lapses that would affect liability, an insurance company that refuses to settle a perfectly valid claim could be acting in bad faith. Some other examples of bad faith insurance include making unreasonable delays in payment, deliberately using inaccurate interpretations of the policy’s language, and failing to investigate a claim.
Insurance companies are expected to act in good faith, which means operating transparently and honestly while upholding their end of the contract with the policyholder. Insurance companies are not exempt from the power of contracts, and an unjustified breach of contract may be grounds for legal action. Unless the policyholder broke their end of the contract — for instance, by failing to pay the premium, leading to a lapse in coverage — the insurer should cover non-fraudulent claims that fall within the bounds of the policy. The entire purpose of mandatory liability insurance is to help pay for the injury victim’s expenses after the policyholder negligently causes an accident or collision.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Oklahoma City Car Crash Attorneys
During our many decades of experience, the skilled personal injury attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have encountered numerous situations where an auto accident victim was distraught because the at-fault driver’s insurance company refused to settle a valid claim. It’s never easy to hear that your claim has been rejected, but rest assured that our aggressive Norman car accident lawyers know how to handle these difficult situations. We are masterful negotiators with a nuanced understanding of the tactics claims adjusters use to unfairly deny coverage to crash victims. We have successfully resolved numerous bad faith insurance cases because our opponents know we are serious about protecting our clients’ legal rights.
If you were injured in a car accident in Oklahoma, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 to learn about how we may be able to help in a free and confidential legal consultation. We handle car accident claims in Edmond, Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City, Guthrie, El Reno, and many other locations throughout the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.