You had a car accident in which you are either the at-fault driver or not. You face the prospect of a personal injury lawsuit against you and one of the options at your disposal is hiring a car accident attorney. The question is, Will Your Car Insurance Company Provide a Lawyer? what are some of the reasons your car insurance company bases itself to deny you their duty to defend as is agreed in the insurance policy contract?
This article is a bit lengthy and covers other related questions our viewers ask on this website. Feel free to go through the article contents below and look at sections that interest you. Alright, here we go!
Will Your Car Insurance Company Provide a Lawyer?
Insurance is a contract between the insurance company and the policyholder. In the contract, the insured (policyholder) agrees to pay a premium in exchange for financial protection in case the insured faces liability issues like negligently injuring another person.
The agreement (policy) you will sign will have a section where the company says it must defend you. So, your insurance basically does 2 things ie, pays damages on your behalf or if there is evidence you did not cause an accident, the company defends you by hiring a lawyer to represent you.
In brief, your insurance company must cover the insured’s financial losses and where the need is, defend you against false or unfair accusations. But, in some situations, the insurance company’s duty to defend you may be denied, wanna know the reasons why? read on.
Why would a car insurance company refuse to provide you with a lawyer?
As I said earlier, it remains the duty of the car insurance company to defend their clients or pay what is being demanded in settlement up to the limit of their policy coverages. Instances where an insurance company may refuse to hire you a lawyer include the following.
1. Failure to notify the company about the accident. If you read your policy properly, you should have seen the requirement to promptly report accidents you got involved in. Some car insurance companies want you to report the accident within 2 days up to 2 weeks. Failure to do so could cause serious repercussions like denying you a settlement, and or failure to defend you if you are faced with lawsuits.
2. You caused the accident intentionally. It’s quite clearly stated that your insurance coverage does not go beyond covering negligent or accidental events. If it is proved beyond doubt that the car accident was intentional, forget about coverage, and the duty to defend you will be voided.
3. Insurance company already paid the limit of your coverage. If you purchased a $20,000 liability coverage but a verdict against you awarded the complainant $30,000. Usually, the insurance company will decide to pay your coverage limit of $20,000 and let you pay $10,000 out of your pocket. In such instances, your insurance won’t provide you with a lawyer to defend you.
4. The accident or event is not covered. For instance, your car was vandalized yet you have no comprehensive coverage. Many people choose to buy liability coverage leaving out other coverages. If the type of loss you incurred is not covered by the insurance policy you bought, expect no help from your insurance company.
Lawyers who sue insurance companies
Dealing with any insurance company in the aftermath of a car accident is never easy. The insurance company’s claim adjuster knows the right time and tricks they use to cheat clients. They know that the accident victim is so desperate for money soon after the accident so they usually take advantage of your financial situation to cheat.
Every experienced lawyer will advise you never to accept the first and second settlements unless you are very sure it is a fair settlement depending on the damages you suffered. If the insurance company plays hard balls, it’s high time you hired lawyers who sue insurance companies.
Not every lawyer loves the idea of taking cases to courts of law. Actually, many insurance companies will want to know the lawyer you hired and find out if that attorney does not hesitate to go to court if the insurance company commits acts of bad faith. If you hired dumb lawyers who earn no respect from insurance companies, you will still get disappointingly low settlement offers.
Suing insurance company for denying a claim
Yes, you can use your auto insurance company. For instance, you may decide to sue your company if it commits acts of bad faith. 6 examples of bad faith include the following.
1. Calim denial. Your insurance company should give you sound reasons for denying your claim. For instance, you are entitled to car damage repair costs after a collision if you caries collision insurance coverage. If your insurance company does not give correct reasons for not honoring their insurance policy terms, it’s time you contacted a car accident attorney.
2. Failure to do a complete investigation. Any auto insurance company should do an investigation and make timely decisions on whether to honor the claim or not. For instance, the insurance company will have committed acts of bad faith if their claims adjuster visited the accident scene, accepts the accident occurred but then denies settling the whole or parts of the claim.
3. Disappointingly low offers. Suppose the policyholder bought $50,000 as his collision policy limits. The person incurs losses worth $30,000 but the insurance is only willing to pay $20,000 as a settlement.
4. Settlement delays. Assume your doctor recommends surgery after a car accident and you swiftly submit your settlement claim. The company will have committed acts of bad faith if 3 months later it hasn’t settled your claim.
5. Intentionally denying a valid claim. It is very common for insurance companies to deny claims earlier on. This is a tactic that insurance companies employ to force you to settle for little money.
6. Threatening statements. If the car insurance company falsely accuses you of fraud or anything else yet it is confirmed your claim is valid, it’s high time you contacted a car accident attorney.
My car was hit and their insurance won't pay
Before filing any claim to your insurance company, you are supposed to first review your policy and look out for things like coverage limits, policy exclusions, coverages you are entitled to, and many other things.
Make sure your insurance claims adjuster showed up at the accident scene or had a look and appreciated that the accident occurred and it’s true you suffered damages. I already explained everything you need to do soon after the accident in other articles. Also, make sure you reported the accident to your insurance company as is required by car accident laws in your state.
If your claim is valid, was submitted in time and the accident was well investigated by your insurance claims adjuster, you should expect a settlement payout within a couple of days or weeks thereafter. Short of that, your insurance company should be sued for having committed acts of bad faith.
Someone hit my car whose insurance do I call?
The majority of states in the USA subscribe to a fault negligence system whereby, the driver who is responsible for causing the accident usually pays, or pays through his/her insurance company. You are advised to revise again your state’s car accident laws to know how car accidents are handled in your state, or country if you live outside the USA.
If someone hit your car, you should first call your personal insurance company if you think there is a likelihood of filing your claim through them. Or once you have exchanged personal information with the other driver, call the other driver’s insurance company.
Make sure you withhold details of the accident in case you decided to inform any insurance company. Just call and tell them you were involved in a car crash and let them get details from your personal injury lawyer. You should know at the back of your mind that after an accident, insurance companies will want a way of making you settle for little money, or at worst deny your claim. What you say could be used against you later!
To avoid being falsely accused of having caused an auto accident, better install Dashcams on your car. These dashcams will capture whole accident footage and you will not find it hard to prove that you did not cause the accident. Below are Dashcams (car video cameras) you should consider installing on your car.
Being sued for a car accident what can they take?
A person who negligently or intentionally causes an accident in which other people lose property or sustain injuries will be asked to pay compensation to the affected party. This is the reason people buy insurance coverage to guard against such unpreparedness.
If you have been sued for a car accident, you should pay damages from your pocket, from your income, and or by selling your property. They will take whatever they think will help to pay damages. It could be your house, your car, or your future income or salary.
Being sued for car accident but having no assets?
If you are sued for a car accident but do not have assets, your salary or future income could be garnished. Any earnings you potentially make in the future will go directly to the person you negligently injured.
Can someone sue you for a car accident if you have insurance?
Yes, you could be sued for a car accident even though you have insurance. Take this example. 2 drivers A and B are involved in a car accident in which driver B is the at-fault for the accident.
Assume driver B purchased liability car insurance with policy limits of $30,000. Assume driver A incurred $60,000 in medical bills and other expenses. Driver B’s insurance company will pay $30,000 to driver A as damages on the behalf of driver B. The remaining balance should be paid by driver B from their own pockets, or else he will be sued.
In that situation, driver B’s insurance company will not provide a lawyer to represent driver B because the company already paid driver B’s coverage policy limits to driver A. In this scenario, driver B will be sued even though he has insurance coverage.
Can I sue my insurance company for emotional distress?
People who were involved in car accidents usually suffer from personal injuries and property damages. Examples of personal injuries include pain and suffering, emotional damage, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, anxiety disorders, and so many others.
If you were involved in a hit-and-run accident in which the at-fault driver fled the accident scene, you will probably need to file a claim through your insurance company. You should get compensated by your company only if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance policy covers both bodily injuries and property damage costs.
Should your insurance attempt to deny your claim, the only option is to sue your own insurance company for the damages you are entitled to. In hit-and-run accidents, you the accident victim will certainly go after a personal insurance agent to get financially compensated.
How much can I sue for emotional distress?
Emotional distress damages usually fall under special or general damages. Special car accident damages are those on which you can assign a dollar value like medical bills, whereas, you cannot assign a monetary value to general damages.
If the jury decides your emotional distress falls under general damages like pain and suffering, then expect 2-5 times the total cost of your medical bills. For instance, your emotional distress damages could be $50,000 if your medical costs were $10,000.
Insurance company suing me for damages
Assume the same scenario in which driver B is at-fault for the car accident in which driver A sustained personal injuries and car damages. If driver A purchases collision coverage, he/she has the option of getting compensated by own collision coverage to repair or replace his/her car.
Driver A’s car insurance after repairing or replacing driver A’s car has a right of going after driver B to recover their money, and may end up suing driver B or his insurance company. Driver B’s insurance company will pay or the driver himself pays from his own pocket.
Will my insurance company represent me?
If you are sued for an accident that was your fault, your insurance company has 2 options. Your insurance company will pay the amount the other party is demanding from you, or will hire a lawyer to represent you if a lawsuit has been filed against you.
One of the roles of buying insurance coverage is financial protection, and this service could be offered to you by offering you legal services. You should read your policy and see if that clause is included in your policy or not. Chances are that, your insurance company should hire an attorney to defend you in case there is a need.
Do insurance companies have their own lawyers?
Some insurance companies have in-house defense lawyers but a good number of them do not have their own lawyers. Most of them hire lawyers within their jurisdiction to defend their financial interests or their policyholders.
Does car insurance cover civil lawsuits?
Personal injuries fall under both civil and criminal lawsuits. For instance, you could face a criminal lawsuit if you intentionally injured another person. If you negligently or accidentally caused personal injuries, then you will most likely face civil suits.
Mostly, your car insurance covers civil lawsuits but not criminal suits. If you are found to have intentionally caused an accident, the company may decide to punish you by canceling your insurance coverage. They may also deny you a settlement and won’t hire a lawyer to defend you.
In summary. Your car insurance should provide you with a lawyer to defend you or else they should pay the asked damages on your behalf. If you act contrary to car insurance laws, the company won’t defend you and at worst could cancel your coverage.