Just about any car insurance company will deny a claim so long as it has a viable basis for doing so. That’s how insurers make money. They collect premiums, and they pay as little as possible or nothing on claims. That denial doesn’t have to end the process for you though. It might just be supported by the facts and evidence surrounding the accident.
The denial of a claim can occur for any number of legitimate reasons. One of the most common is that the insured person got cancelled as a result of not paying the premium. Another reason is that the insured person might have a valid liability policy in effect, but he or she had no coverage for the claim being made. This issue is often seen in the context of those who are driving on bare minimum statutory liability coverage with no collision, comprehensive or uninsured motorist coverage.
Delay, deny and defend
When you enter into a contract of insurance, it’s perfectly reasonable that you’ll expect to be treated fairly. After all, you’ve been loyal, and you paid your insurance premiums for many years. Finally you have a claim through no fault of your own. The guy that hit you was drunk, didn’t have a driver’s license or insurance, and then he ran off. He probably never would have been caught if he hadn’t been in another crash about a minute down the road.
Your uninsured motorist claim
Fortunately you had collision coverage and uninsured motorist insurance, but you’re not necessarily in good hands now, and you’re not with a good neighbor either. It’s likely that your perfectly valid claim with your own insurance company that you’ve paid premiums to for the last 10 years is going to be delayed and denied, and then when you file litigation, it’s going to be vigorously defended.
The other driver’s story
The person who caused your crash might be mistaken on the facts, or his or her rendition of the facts of the crash are utterly false. Your insurer doesn’t care, so long as the version of the facts saves it money. Under your contract of insurance, it has stepped into the shoes of the uninsured driver, and now it’s going to defend your claims against it. So now you’re going to need to show that the crash was the result of the carelessness and negligence of the other driver.
In order to show that the drunk driver was negligent, you’ll need to prove the elements of negligence. Those are that:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care
- He breached that duty
- The breach of that duty caused the accident
- The accident was the proximate cause of your injuries
- You suffered legally recognized damages
Evidence supporting negligence
Your insurance company is going to look at all of the evidence that you present, and it’s going to make a decision on the respective degrees of fault of the parties. The fact that the other driver was intoxicated is prejudicial and irrelevant unless his intoxication can be tied into the cause of the crash. Evidence that you can use to show fault includes:
- The police report
- The statements of any independent witnesses
- Traffic or security camera footage showing the crash
- Any pleas of guilty to traffic offenses involving the crash
Proving the elements of negligence through supporting evidence is a complicated task, especially when the rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence must be followed. If you’re without an attorney, your insurer has you right where it wants you. Contact us right away after being injured in any accident for a free consultation and case evaluation. We want to maximize any compensation that we obtain for you.