What Do I Do If My Car Accident Claim Was Denied
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What Do I Do If My Car Accident Claim Was Denied

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Posted on September 15, 2023

The days and weeks after a car accident are chaotic and distressing, especially if you or a loved one suffered serious injuries. Sadly, sometimes the blows keep coming, especially when the insurance company of the party at fault for your accident denies your claim for compensation.

Accidents cause more than just property damage, serious injuries require expensive medical care and you may not be able to return to work due to your medical treatments and recovery time. Learning that your valid claim received a denial is overwhelming, and may leave you wondering about how to take the next step.

Common Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Deny Claims

Despite their glossy ads and sentimental commercials, insurance companies exist to make profits, and protecting that profit margin is their priority. Insurance adjusters use many recognized methods to deny claims including the following:

  • Calling on a recorded line after the accident and then using your words out of context against you—a simple, “I’m sorry it happened,” or “I’m feeling better today” gives them cause to assign you fault for the accident and deny that your medical treatment is necessary
  • Deciding that your injuries can’t be as serious as you claim based on the fact that there’s only minor damage to your vehicle
  • Asking for medical authority to review your injury and then looking back through your medical history to find a previous injury or condition to blame as the cause of your symptoms
  • Following you on social media and claiming you aren’t truly injured because you went on vacation or smiled at your child’s soccer game

Many of these unfair tactics give the insurance companies reasons to deny or undervalue claims, but sometimes an insurance adjuster’s denial rises to the level of bad faith practices that are actionable.

Filing a Lawsuit After an Insurance Claim Denial

It’s always the best practice to hire a car accident attorney in Kent before filing an insurance claim after a car accident. Your attorney can investigate the accident, demonstrate liability on the part of the person at fault, and craft a compelling case to the insurance company for a settlement.

However, even if you filed your own claim and received a denial, it’s not too late to hire an attorney. Washington allows injury victims up to three years after a car accident to file a lawsuit.

When an insurance company denies a valid claim or uses bad faith practices to avoid paying out on a claim, you have the right to take them to court and let a jury decide whether or not to award damages as long as you petition the court within the state’s 3-year statute of limitations.

A lawsuit may take longer than a settlement, but jury awards for damages tend to be significantly higher than a settlement.

Filing a Lawsuit for Bad Faith Insurance Practices

If the insurance company fails to live up to its contractual agreement with a client, it’s bad faith insurance practices. Washington considers this an unreasonable denial of your claim.

You can file an additional lawsuit against the insurance company and receive a significant sum as compensation for the company’s bad faith practices as long as the amount doesn’t exceed 3 times the value of your claim. If the jury rules in your favor, the insurance company must pay your court costs as well.