In Virginia, all drivers need to carry liability car insurance. The coverage exempts the insured from paying damages for accidents they cause. The law imposes the following minimum amounts:
- $25,000/person for injuries
- $50,000/event for injuries
- $20,000/event for property damage
Theoretically, an accident victim only has to claim damages from the party at fault’s insurer. Practically, not all drivers carry insurance and not all insurers pay. In Virginia Beach, for example, many tourists are uninsured or underinsured. Others carry insurance, but their insurer uses all kinds of excuses to avoid paying.
If you were injured in a car accident, you should consult a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer. They will analyze your case details, the available insurance coverage, and advise you accordingly.
At Commonwealth Accident Injury Law (CAIL), we have handled all kinds of cases. We know how to deal with uninsured or underinsured motorists. We also know how to fight claim denials and force insurers to pay. Here is a brief review of the most common scenarios when insurers refuse to pay.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists and the Need to Work with a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
As mentioned above, some drivers neglect their legal obligations and do not acquire insurance. Others flee the accident scene and remain unidentified. Their victims have only one option: seeking compensation from their own insurer.
The coverage accessed in such cases is the one for uninsured/underinsured motorists. It covers events where the party at fault flees the scene, has no insurance, or has insufficient coverage. It is usually equal to the affected driver’s liability coverage. In case of underinsured motorists, this policy will step in once the driver’s is exhausted.
Let’s say you incurred injuries of $50,000 in an accident. The driver at fault only carries coverage of $15,000/event for personal injury. You will get the $15,000 from their insurer, and claim the rest from your own insurer.
Of course, all claims need supporting evidence. The claimant has to prove liability for the accident and the value of the losses the accident caused. Their claim documentation should be flawless. The insurer will check it carefully, looking for reasons to justify a denial.
The best way to avoid a claim denial is to work with a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer. They will prepare a thorough, impossible-to-deny claim. The attorney can help if the insurer has already denied the claim as well. The law allows several ways to fight claim denials, and attorneys know them by heart.
How a Virginia Beach Car Accident Attorney Can Fight a Car Insurance Claim Denial
Let’s say the worst has already happened and the insurer denied your claim. Virginia law requires insurers to clearly explain their decision. The denial letter is the first thing a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer will want to see. Once they know what is wrong with your claim, they can fix it.
Here are the main reasons why insurers deny car insurance claims:
- Delays in filing the compensation claim. The law allows two years for claims relating to injuries and five for property damage. Going beyond the deadline is never a good idea.
- Providing false information on the car insurance form. If you lied, they will use those lies against you.
- Exaggerating injuries to get a higher compensation. Insurance adjusters know enough about injuries to catch any exaggerations.
- Not following medical treatment. Claimants who do not follow treatment can lose their right to compensation. The insurer may argue that the injuries occurred or were aggravated due to their negligence.
- Lack of coverage. Sometimes, the insurance policy expires and the owner forgets to renew it. Other times, the coverage simply does not cover a certain type of injuries.
- Insufficient evidence. As mentioned above the claimant needs to prove accident liability and resulting damages. If they fail, the insurer may deny their claim.
- Contributory negligence. Virginia is one of the states where contributory negligence costs money. Claimants who share fault for their accident will not receive compensation.
At CAIL, we are familiar with all justifications car insurance providers use to avoid paying. To avoid denials, we document car insurance claims as if we were preparing a court trial. Also, we never take a “no” for an answer.
The steps our Virginia Beach accident attorney may take to fight a car insurance claim denial:
1. Identify the cause of the denial. Insurers have to justify their decision. If they do not, we ask them for explanations. Their answer will determine our next step.
2. Revise the claim according to the insurer’s comments and resubmit it. This is possible when the insurer asks for additional documents or clarifications. They may also pick on small issues we can correct.
3. Appeal the insurer’s decision. The first line of appeal is the company’s claims inspector. We ask them to reconsider, underlining that we corrected any flaws or their denial was unjustified.
4. Complain with the Virginia Bureau of Insurance. If the insurer insists on denying a claim, we can ask the Bureau to review their action. Of course, requests to the Bureau need to follow certain procedures and rules as well. We prepare them carefully and support them with evidence to secure the desired verdict.
5. File a civil court trial. If the above steps do not pay off, we take matters to court. Depending on the case specifics, we may even sue the insurer for bad faith. It means proving that they violated Virginia Code § 38.2-510. The section refers to unfair claim settlement practices. It even makes it possible for the claimant to request additional compensation.
Obviously, the outcome depends on the Virginia car accident lawyer’s experience and dedication.
Consult an Experienced and Dedicated Virginia Beach Car Accident Attorney Now!
If the insurer denied your claim or you are worried they might, we can help. Call 1-800-HURT-123, send an email or use the Contact form to schedule a consultation! Our Virginia Beach car accident lawyer will review your case and guide your steps. We will not rest until we get you a fair compensation for your car insurance claim!