4 Common Reasons Car Accident Settlement Demands Are Denied
Most car accidents are caused by negligent driver errors like speeding, ignoring traffic lights, or driving while intoxicated. If you were injured in a crash or collision that was caused by the other driver’s negligence, his or her insurance company may be liable for your medical expenses and other costs. Unfortunately, there are many reasons your claim could be denied – but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. With over 75 years of combined experience handling complex and contentious insurance claims, the experienced Oklahoma City car accident lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have obtained favorable settlements for numerous injury victims whose settlement demands were initially rejected.
What is the Difference Between a First-Party Claim and a Third-Party Claim?
It’s very important to understand the difference between a first-party claim and a third-party claim after you have been injured in a car accident in Oklahoma. The simple explanation is that a first-party claim is a claim you file with your insurance company, while a third-party claim is a claim you make with the other driver’s insurer.
Oklahoma is a fault state, which means accident victims must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident in order to recover any compensation. By comparison, accident victims in no-fault states are required to exhaust their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage limits, or to sustain specific serious injuries, prior to making a third-party claim. While fault states like Oklahoma do not enforce these requirements, there are still various reasons your claim might be denied.
It’s always stressful and frustrating when your initial settlement demand is refused, but try not to feel too discouraged. With patience, persistence, and skilled representation by an aggressive car accident lawyer in Oklahoma City, it is often possible to obtain a better offer. Insurance companies intentionally make low offers hoping that claimants will simply concede instead of pushing for a higher amount. In some cases, insurers outright deny perfectly valid claims, or refuse to settle (which is a form of bad faith insurance). For these reasons, it’s very important not to accept a personal injury settlement offer before reviewing your claim with an auto accident attorney.
Why an Auto Insurance Company Might Deny Liability for Your Car Accident Injury
At the end of the day, insurance companies are in the insurance business to make a profit. In order to protect their profits, insurers look for any excuse they can to make inadequate settlement offers, or to deny claims altogether. The insurance company might argue that:
- There’s a dispute over liability. The insurer is only responsible for covering accidents in which the policyholder was actually at fault. They may try to escape their obligation by disputing that the insured was to blame for the crash.
- The policyholder let their coverage lapse. Oklahoma requires all drivers to carry at least $25,000 for injury (per person), $50,000 for injury (per accident), and $25,000 for property damage (“25/50/25”). Unfortunately, a huge number of Oklahomans don’t meet these requirements and eventually get into an accident with no insurance. UM/UIM insurance coverage (Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist) is designed to cover these situations.
- They weren’t informed of the accident. Regardless of fault, you must disclose all car accidents to your insurer. Failure to report an accident to an insurance company within a reasonable time period can result in denial of coverage as the insurer claims they didn’t have a chance to investigate the accident when it occurred.
- The type of accident that occurred, or the treatment you are seeking, isn’t covered. Insurance policies can be highly specific and often exclude numerous scenarios. For instance, the insurer will refuse to cover an accident it asserts you intentionally caused (even if that claim could not be farther from the truth). Additionally, insurance companies will pay only for “reasonable and necessary” medical bills. If you’re seeking coverage for a treatment which the insurer claims isn’t reasonable and necessary, your demands may be refused and met with a substantially lower offer.
Again, it’s important to persist with the negotiations process even if you are initially disappointed. Unfortunately, it’s uncommon for insurers to make fair and reasonable offers right away, because they want to cut their costs as much as possible. Regardless of why your demand was refused, you should consider talking to an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer about how to proceed. You may have been the victim of bad faith insurance tactics.
Let an Experience Oklahoma City Personal Injury Attorney Fight For You
If you or one of your family members was hurt in a car crash in Oklahoma City or the surrounding area, call the Oklahoma bad faith insurance lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 right away to schedule a free legal consultation regarding your claim. Our attorneys handle accident claims in Norman, Edmond, Moore, Bethany, Tuttle, McLoud, El Reno, Guthrie, Okarche, Mustang, and more.