Virginia Beach car accident victims do not seek compensation for their damages directly from the driver responsible for their accident. The first step in pursuing monetary losses is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Although this process sounds straightforward, a lot of injured victims are shocked when their claim is denied. Claims, even those that are valid, can be denied for a litany of reasons. If your claim was denied by the insurance carrier, make sure you carefully read the reasons stated in the denial letter and analyze your insurance policy. Claims can sometimes be denied by mistake, or because you did not provide enough evidence to substantiate the claim. If you feel your claim was wrongfully denied, you can dispute the insurer’s denial. Virginia law states that your insurance company has a duty to settle your claim in good faith. If you feel your car accident claim was unfairly rejected, speak with an experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp about your legal options.
Listed below are some of the most common reasons that insurance companies deny car accident claims.
You Waited Too Long to File Your Claim
Although Virginia’s statute of limitations is two years from the day your accident took place, you should never wait that long to file. In these cases, timing is everything. Firstly, you only have a few days to inform the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once that is done, you need to work on collecting medical records, a copy of your police report, and other vital information that supports your claim for compensation.
You Failed to Establish Fault
While multiple elements must be proven in order to substantiate your claim, the most important is fault; namely the other driver’s. Insurers frequently deny financial compensation to claimants who have not presented strong, verifiable proof that their policyholder was to blame. If you fail to provide sufficient evidence of the other driver’s negligence, or you provide evidence that indicates you share fault, you can expect your claim to be denied.
You Failed to Document Your Injuries
Since they are the cornerstone of your recoverable damages, establishing the nature and scope of your injuries is also a vital element of your injury claim. Your medical records serve as formal documentation of your diagnosis and treatment plan. Keeping a personal diary of how your injuries are impacting your home and work life is essential when it comes to verifying your pain and suffering, and many other non-economic damages.
You Postponed Medical Attention
Almost no insurance company is going to look twice at your claim if you waited an unreasonable amount of time to visit your primary care physician, urgent care center, or hospital emergency room. They will use this delay in seeking medical care to claim that your injuries are clearly not that serious or that they were caused by something other than the accident. Most claims adjusters will reject a claim on these grounds.
Your Claim Exceeds Your Policy Limit
By law, Virginia drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. If you are badly injured, your claim could easily surpass this amount. Under these circumstances, the insurer’s denial of your claim is rightful. You may, however, have other options for recovery available to you.
Other reasons your claim may be denied are:
- You are not named on the policy. This often happens in claims involving teenage drivers. If their parents forgot to add them to the policy, and they are in an accident, the claim could be denied.
- You filed an uninsured motorist claim but the insurance company found out that the other driver was insured when the accident took place.
- Your policy lapsed due to non-payment.
- You failed to switch your insurance to your new car
Disputing a Denied Claim
If your car accident claim is initially denied, you do have the right to dispute the denial. To begin the appeal process, you will have to write a letter to the insurance carrier and specify where you feel an error was made. Be sure to include strong, supporting documentation. If the insurer refuses to cooperate, you can appeal to the Virginia Commissioner of Insurance
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, contact an experienced Virginia Beach personal injury attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp who knows how to work with insurance companies and can discuss the oversight with your insurer. If necessary, we can also fight for you in court as we did for this client, securing her a $3.5 million jury verdict. Insurance companies are not immune to the law and can be sued for things such as breach of contract, bad faith, and other violations of state law. Contact us by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our contact form to schedule your free consultation today. Our offices are located in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Hampton.