Consumers have rights. Parents have rights. So do patients and prisoners. And if you happen to be involved in a car accident, you have certain rights, too. If you suffer injuries or property damage as a result of someone else’s carelessness, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses.
The process typically involves filing an insurance claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. In many instances, that claim can be settled without having to file a lawsuit or go to court. But regardless of how it’s resolved, here’s some information you should know in order to protect your rights.
What is an Auto Insurance Claim?
An insurance claim is a demand for compensation for damages sustained as the result of a car accident. The insured person may file a claim with his or her own insurance company, or others affected by the accident may seek compensation from the responsible party’s insurance carrier. In either instance, the policy will contain certain conditions and limits on the amount of compensation available.
What are my rights for an insurance claim?
Although it can sometimes feel like you’re jumping through hoops when you try to get an insurance claim resolved, understanding how the process works can make it a little easier.
The insurance company has to respond in a reasonable amount of time to claims and to explain why it’s denying a claim or if it’s requiring more information. You are under no obligation to have your car repaired at a place the insurance company designates — but you may be in for some back-and-forth negotiations if your repair shop and the insurance company disagree about the cost of repairs.
You are also not required to accept a settlement offer that you consider to be unfair. If you believe the insurance company is deliberately trying to avoid paying a legitimate claim or is otherwise acting unethically, you can file a complaint with the state insurance commission or consider pursuing a bad faith claim in court.
Even if the case seems minor, it makes sense to consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney early in the process. The attorney can advise you about the claims process and ways to expedite your payment. If the case involves serious injuries, the prospect of long-term medical expenses and care, disputes over who was at fault in the accident and other complexities, an attorney can draw on extensive resources, including medical and accident reconstruction experts, to help navigate a way to a more equitable settlement.
What steps can I take to help my claim?
The best way to strengthen your claim is to document it. That means taking the steps we’ve advocated in other posts immediately after an accident: check for injuries, call police, file an accident report, collect contact information from the other driver and any witnesses. If possible, take photographs to document the scene.
You can also help your case by familiarizing yourself with the claims procedure and the policy conditions.
Most of all, though, you should be prepared for a process that requires patience and determination.
Contact a Car Insurance Lawyer at Franklin D. Azar & Associates
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation.