Four Reasons an Insurance Company Rejects Your Maryland Car Accident Claim
If you are hurt in a car accident, you may typically file a claim for your losses with the responsible motorist’s insurance company. This is because, in an “at-fault” or “tort” state like Maryland, you can seek compensation from the driver whose negligence led to the auto collision. The process for recovering for such losses as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and others seems relatively straightforward: You fill out the forms, send them to the insurance company, and wait for a check.
Or so you would think.
In reality, getting the compensation you deserve is much more complex. Insurance companies are businesses that seek to make money, not lose it by paying out claims to victims like you. They train their employees to look for weaknesses in your claim and any reason that justifies rejecting it. Knowledgeable Maryland car accident attorneys know their tricks, but you should also become familiar with the excuses insurance companies use to deny your claim or offer a low-ball amount that is not sufficient to cover your losses. A few to keep an eye out for include:
You Delayed in Filing Your Claim
Insurance companies have time-limit policies on claims, so you may encounter some resistance from an insurance agent if you do not file as soon as possible after your car accident. The representative may attempt to deny your claim or reduce the amount of compensation on the grounds that there was not enough time to gather evidence related to the incident. Insurers may also contest that the accident was not the cause of your injuries, as intervening events may have been the reason you were hurt, not the actions of their own policyholders.
Still, you should note that Maryland has a statute of limitations that applies to personal injury cases. This is the only time period that is relevant for a car accident claim, regardless of what you may hear from an insurance company representative. The operation of the statute of limitations is serious, however, because it acts as a complete bar to your cause of action if you do not file a lawsuit in court before it expires. The clock starts to run the date of your auto collision, so time is of the essence in seeking legal remedies.
You Did Not Seek Medical Treatment Right Away
Insurance companies are always looking out for ways to deny or reduce your claim, so the failure to obtain proper medical care immediately can give them the fodder they need. There is some logic to this point: If you did not make it a priority to go to the emergency room, visit an urgent care center, or make an appointment with your own physician, your injuries could not be that bad. This is all the reason an insurance representative needs to reject your claim or offer a low-ball amount to settle it. You preserve your legal rights if you visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible, or at most within 72 hours after the car accident.
In addition, seeking proper medical care right away is critical for protecting your own health. Minor injuries, such as lacerations and bruises, will heal in time. However, more serious medical conditions require immediate attention. Delays could mean:
- It will take longer to recover from your injuries;
- You could aggravate the injury;
- You may suffer reinjury because you are not restricting your daily activities or workload based upon a doctor’s orders;
- You may not get proper care for conditions you do not realize you have suffered, such as concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other head injuries; and,
- Delays in obtaining referrals to medical specialists necessary to treat your injuries.
You Were Not Able to Establish Fault
If you do not submit solid documentary and other evidence demonstrating that the other driver was negligent in causing your car accident, an insurance company representative will reject your claim. As part of the claims process, an insurance company employee will discuss the crash with the policyholder and get a statement regarding the facts surrounding the incident. If that version of events differs from yours, the adjuster will most definitely deny your claim.
You can establish credibility and present a more convincing position when you take photos, document all circumstances surrounding the car accident, talk to witnesses, and gather other types of proof to support your claim. This is why car accident attorneys maintain professional relationships with private investigators, accident reconstruction experts, and other specialists. The input of these individuals helps avoid a “he-said/she-said” situation in which the insurance company representative is more likely to side with its own policyholder.
The Policyholder’s Coverage is Not Enough to Cover Your Claim
By law, Maryland motorists are required to carry minimum coverage amounts of auto insurance. They include:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage of at least $30,000 per person;
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage minimum of $60,000 per accident; and,
- Other types of coverage.
In a car accident that involves serious injuries, your medical expenses and economic losses alone may exceed $30,000; this amount would do nothing to cover your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic losses. This basis for an insurance company to deny your claim for any amount above the minimum is legitimate, since you can only recover the policy limit.
Still, you do have options to seek additional compensation above the negligent driver’s policy amount. You may file a claim with your own insurance company because Maryland law also requires motorists to carry Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage minimums of $30,000 minimum per person and $60,000 per accident.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Maryland Auto Accident Lawyer
There are many more reasons why an insurance company might reject or dispute your claim. Therefore, depending on the facts of your case, it might be critical to retain a dedicated car accident attorney to represent your interests. Insurance company employees know they cannot get away with the same attempts to vitiate your legal rights, when you are represented by experienced counsel.
For more information on how we can help you with your auto collision matter or other personal injury cases, please contact the Baltimore office of Bob Katz Law. We can schedule a free, no-obligations consultation to review your circumstances and explain your legal remedies. We assist hundreds of clients every year in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.