What to Do if the At Fault Driver’s Insurance Won’t Pay?
If you are the at-fault driver and your insurance company won’t pay for the damages or injuries you caused, you may face some serious consequences. Being in a car accident that was your fault is a stressful situation and it becomes even more complicated if your insurance company refuses to settle with the other party.
Most insurance companies advertise that they’ll look out for the policyholder’s best interest. Instead, they deny and refuse valid auto insurance claims whenever they think it will save them money.
As an insurance bad faith law firm with over 40 years of experience winning cases against insurance companies, we know the dishonest tactics insurance carriers use to avoid paying claims.
Understanding the Insurance Company’s Role
To understand why insurance companies do what they do (or don’t do) it’s important to first take a closer look at the role of insurance companies in accident claims. Insurance companies serve a crucial role in evaluating the circumstances of an accident and, if necessary, providing compensation to the injured parties.
However, it’s vital to recognize that insurance companies are bound by the principle of acting in good faith when handling claims. This means they have an obligation to treat all parties fairly and honestly throughout the claims process.
Reasons for Insurance Company Refusal
Insurance companies may refuse to settle with the other party for several reasons:
- Disputed Liability: If there’s a disagreement regarding who was at fault for the accident, your insurer may be hesitant to settle. In such cases, they may need more evidence to determine liability conclusively. Of course, this can be subjective and a pretense for failing or delaying claims.
- Policy Limits: Your insurance policy comes with coverage limits that dictate the maximum amount your insurer will pay. If the damages and injuries in the accident exceed these limits, your insurer may be unable to settle the claim fully. So you may need to ask the carrier when, if ever, they offered to at least pay the policy limits.
- Coverage Issues: Sometimes, the specific circumstances of the accident may not be covered by your policy. For example, if your policy doesn’t include coverage for accidents occurring while you were driving for work purposes, it might lead to a refusal to settle. Insurance policies are notoriously long and often subject to interpretation therefore it is critical you review a copy of the full policy if you feel the carrier is not acting reasonably.
Seeking Legal Assistance
In many cases, especially when dealing with complex insurance disputes, it’s advisable to seek legal assistance from a law firm specializing in insurance disputes and bad faith claims (for example Swope, Rodante P.A.). Here’s why:
- Expertise: Insurance laws and regulations can be complex. Our insurance dispute attorneys can provide expert guidance and ensure that you’re on the right legal track.
- Protection of Rights: An attorney will work to protect your rights and interests throughout the claims process, preventing the insurance company from taking advantage of your situation.
- Negotiation Power: Lawyers are skilled negotiators and can often secure settlements on your behalf that protect you from personal liability.
Dealing with the Other Party’s Claim
If your insurance company continues to refuse to settle, you may need to address the other party’s claim directly. Keep in mind the following:
- Liability: In the absence of a settlement, you may personally be responsible for compensating the other party for their damages and injuries.
- Legal Consequences: Failing to address the other party’s claim can have legal consequences, including potential lawsuits against you personally without the protection of an insurance company.
Filing a Bad Faith Claim
If you believe that your insurance company acted in bad faith by failing to settle the claim when they reasonably could and should have, you may have grounds for a bad faith claim. Here’s what you should know:
- Evidence: To succeed in a bad faith claim, you’ll need to provide evidence that the insurer unreasonably delayed or denied the claim without a valid reason.
- Potential Outcomes: A successful bad faith claim can result in the insurer being held accountable for its actions, the insurer could be forced to pay any judgement against you which is above the policy limits.
Being at fault in a car crash is already a challenging situation. When your insurance company refuses to cooperate, it can add immense stress. However, you’re not alone in this journey. Remember that you have rights and options.
Seeking legal assistance from Swope, Rodante P.A. can make a significant difference in resolving your insurance dispute and ensuring that you are not responsible for a judgment caused by your insurance carrier. Your peace of mind matters, and we’re here to help you navigate this difficult time. Don’t hesitate to call (813) 273-0017 or contact us online for expert advice on your case.