Under Arizona’s traditional fault-based car insurance system, the driver or party guilty of causing your vehicle collision will be financially responsible for related damages. After a crash, you will call the insurance company of the at-fault party to file a claim and request compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies treat claimants fairly. Find out how to proceed if the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to pay.
Why Might an Insurance Company Not Pay?
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim, it must list its reason for doing so in the denial letter you receive. You may then ask the insurance company for more details, file an appeal on the insurer’s decision or hire an auto accident attorney to help you proceed with a civil claim. An insurance company could give many reasons for refusing to pay for damages.
- A missed deadline
- Lack of information or evidence
- Misinterpretation of the policy’s terms
- Disputing fault
- Comparative negligence
- Insurance bad faith
Although many valid reasons exist for an insurance company to deny a claim and refuse to pay, many insurers engage in unlawful bad faith practices to avoid payouts. Bad faith means the insurance company is not handling your claim as the law instructs it should. Denying a claim without a valid reason is an example of insurance bad faith. If you suspect bad faith, contact a lawyer for assistance with your case right away.
What to Do If the Insurance Company Won’t Pay
Be careful what you say to an insurance company’s agents from the beginning. The company might record your statements and use them against you later. If a claims adjuster asks you to issue a statement during claim proceedings, politely decline to do so. An adjuster may want to catch you in a lie – or trip you up if you learn something new about your crash and your story changes later. The law in Arizona does not require you to give a recorded statement to an insurance company.
State only the facts; do not speculate about who or what caused your accident before an investigation determines fault. Do not say you caused the crash, even if you fear you were at fault. Be careful what you sign as well. You could unintentionally permit the insurance company to access your full medical records or accept a low settlement offer and give up your right to take additional legal redress. If the insurance company refuses to pay for your damages, consult with a lawyer about your rights. A personal injury lawyer could help you take the next steps if he or she believes the insurer is acting in bad faith.
How a Lawyer Can Help
An attorney can help you negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider for fair and full compensation for your losses. An attorney negotiating for you could lead to better financial relief for your economic and noneconomic damages. If the insurance company was previously refusing to pay or refuting your claim, your lawyer can help you gather additional evidence to bring a stronger claim to damages. Signs of insurance bad faith practices could lead to your lawyer bringing an additional bad faith lawsuit against the provider.
A bad faith insurance lawsuit could not only lead to payment for your original damages but also compensation to punish the insurance company for breaking the law. You could receive back pay, interest and restitution from the insurance company in addition to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and property damages. If you do not qualify for a bad faith lawsuit, your attorney may be able to appeal the insurer’s decision or proceed with a civil trial. Speak to a lawyer as soon as the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim to hear your legal options.