Car accidents are costly, and it’s not just because of the cost of car repairs. Anyone who has been in an accident, even a minor one, can tell you that the car repairs are just one part of what you pay as a consequence. Injuries, lost work, lost time, stress, and distress are all par for the course when trying to get your life back on track after a car accident takes place. Whether you are suing or dealing with the adjuster making insurance claims pay can be a difficult process.
Who is Responsible?
In an ideal situation, the person who was at fault in the accident will have insurance, and that insurance will pay to cover most reasonable expenses that were incurred as a result of the accident. But situations are rarely ideal.
If you find yourself in a situation where you weren’t at fault, you suffered losses in a car accident, and the other person’s insurance just won’t pay up, you do have options. It’s your goal in this situation to prove, possibly in court, that the other person (and thus the insurance company) is responsible for your expenses. It’s up to you to build a factual case that proves it.
This might sound like an overwhelming task, but you should just start at the beginning. What is the insurance company using as a basis for denial of payment? If they don’t believe that their client was at fault in the accident, you should gather the police/ accident reports, reports of witnesses, statements made to police, and any other evidence that indicates the other person’s responsibility.
Dealing with Gray Areas
Of course, sometimes the case isn’t very clear-cut, and it isn’t particularly obvious who was at fault: many insurance companies will use this as an excuse to withhold payment for months, even years.
- If this is the case, your goal is going to be proving fault in the accident as quickly as you can so that you’re then clear to pursue payment.
- Doing so is probably going to require the help of a lawyer if the case is complex in the least, simply because, if the police are unable to prove fault, you likely can’t do it on your own.
The Key May Be Compromise
Remember that if the case is difficult, you may find yourself having to bend to a compromise. Don’t rule out this alternative if you’ve exhausted other options. If you can’t prove who is responsible, you may be asked by the insurance company to accept payment for half of your costs, or some other percentage less than 100%; such a compromise isn’t ideal, but it may be worth it to keep the case from dragging on and to allow you to pay up on your repairs and move on with your life.
Finally, whether you end up in court or not, it’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company’s reluctance or refusal to pay doesn’t mean they’re out to get you, but rather to protect themselves as well as their own client – much as you would want your insurance to do if you were in the opposite position.
If you are involved in a car accident and you are concerned about whether you will get an appropriate insurance payment, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your lawyer can help you begin building your case and can assist you in making sure the responsible party covers your damages in full.