Jill Kolodner | August 26, 2020 | Personal Injury
You have the right to appeal the insurance decision if your insurance claim is denied. However, you also have the right to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver under Maryland’s personal injury laws. The course of action you decide to take depends on several factors.
It can be beneficial to talk with a car accident lawyer to learn about your legal rights. Acting out of frustration without a plan or a clear understanding of personal injury laws could hurt your chance of recovering full compensation for your injury claim.
Maryland Car Insurance Requirements
Each driver in Maryland is required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Liability insurance compensates victims for injuries, losses, and damages caused by the insured driver.
The minimum liability insurance for bodily damage in Maryland is $30,000 per person. If more than one person was injured, the minimum coverage is $60,000 per incident. Also, drivers must carry at least $15,000 in liability insurance to cover damage to property caused by an accident.
In addition to liability insurance, insurance companies must offer drivers PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. PIP is no-fault insurance. It pays for medical expenses and covered claims, regardless of who caused the car accident.
PIP insurance does not compensate victims for all damages caused by a car accident. Accident victims need to file an insurance claim with the company that provides liability insurance for the driver who caused the crash.
Maryland is an At-Fault State for Car Insurance Claims
If a driver causes an accident, the victim may file an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider. Damages that the victim might be entitled to recover compensation for includes:
- Medical bills
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disabilities and impairments
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Property damage
To receive compensation for damages, the victim must prove that the other driver caused the car wreck. The insurance company generally performs an investigation to determine fault.
Even when the insurance company agrees that its insured driver was at-fault for the accident, the insurance company may deny the claim. Insurance companies are for-profit enterprises. They do not make money by paying insurance claims.
Therefore, most insurance companies actively search for ways to deny claims or undervalue claims. Companies train their claims adjusters to use any legal means available to avoid paying a valid claim. Unfortunately, some companies may act in bad faith by using illegal or unethical methods of avoiding paying a valid car accident insurance claim.
Reasons the Car Insurance Company May Give for Denying Your Insurance Claim
The reasons that the car insurance provider may give you for denying your injury claim include, but are not limited to:
- Its insured driver did not cause the accident
- The policy did not cover the cause of the car crash
- The insurance policy had lapsed
- The insurance policy did not cover the driver or the vehicle
- You were partially to blame for the case of the accident
- You failed to file a timely claim
- There is insufficient proof that the car accident caused your injuries
- You did not provide the required documentation and information to file the claim
In some cases, an insurance company may have a valid reason for denying a claim. However, in most cases, the insurance company is trying to avoid paying the claim.
A personal injury attorney investigates accident claims to determine how the accident occurred. The lawyer gathers evidence that proves who was at fault for the cause of the collision. The attorney uses that evidence to establish fault and liability.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay an Insurance Claim?
Experienced injury lawyers can generally negotiate a fair settlement for motorcycle crashes, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, car crashes, and pedestrian accidents. Using the evidence gathered during the investigation, statutes, and case law, an attorney builds a strong case for paying the insurance claim.
The lawyer submits a settlement package to the insurance provider and waits. If the insurance provider makes a counteroffer, the attorney begins negotiations. In many cases, the parties can arrive at an amount to settle the insurance claim.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith or flatly refuses to pay a valid insurance claim, your attorney may advise you that it is time to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The lawsuit is filed against the driver or other party responsible for causing the crash. The insurance company is not named. If you have a bad faith insurance claim, that is a separate lawsuit.
Most insurance companies hire lawyers to represent their insured drivers. The lawsuit may settle before a trial, or it could go to a trial. A jury decides whether the victim is entitled to compensation and the value of the claim based on the evidence presented during the trial.
Because there are never any guarantees about the outcome of a trial, your lawyer carefully analyzes all options and presents you with options. You can discuss the pros and cons of each option with your lawyer to decide what you want to do.
Time is Not on Your Side When Fighting an Insurance Company
The Statute of Limitations for most car accidents is three years from the date of the crash. However, the deadline for filing a lawsuit could be shorter under certain circumstances. Also, a lawyer needs time to investigate and prepare a case for filing a lawsuit.
It is best to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible when an insurance company denies your claim. You do not want to wait too long and risk losing your right to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident.