After a car accident or other personal injury incident, most people will pursue a claim against the at-fault individual who was negligent and caused your damages. There may be certain scenarios where you need to file a lawsuit against their insurance company instead. It’s important to speak with a Los Angeles car accident attorney to learn more.
During the claims process, you are negotiating with the insurance company, so why when you file a lawsuit are you filing it against the person and not the insurance company? You are required to sue the individual person who caused your injuries and physical damages, but the insurance company is still the one making the decisions if there is valid coverage.
Many people don’t realize you cannot mention insurance during the trial, which can put someone at a disadvantage since the jury will sometimes believe they are taking money out of a defendant’s bank account rather than learning that an insurance company is handling the award or judgment.
Suing Your Insurance Company
There may be certain scenarios where you have to sue your own insurance company after an accident. These situations include:
- Uninsured (UM) / Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage — When you are hit by a driver without insurance or someone who doesn’t have enough coverage to take care of your damages, and you have UM or UIM coverage on your policy, you can pursue a claim against your insurance provider.
- Suffering Loss Under Your Own Policy — If you suffer a loss under your own policy, like renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc. you may need to pursue a claim for damages.
Bad Faith / Breach of Contract
Insurance companies have a duty to handle their insureds’ claims in a good faith manner. If they fail to do so, it can potentially be a contract breach or even “insurance bad faith.” Bad faith can open the door to serious financial penalties against your insurance company. Some reasons you might sue your carrier for breach include:
- Unreasonably delaying or denying your claim or payment
- Offering an unreasonably low settlement
- Accusation of insurance fraud without any facts
- Defamation of your character during an investigation
- Not defending you in court as required under your policy
- Making a misrepresentation about matters related to a claim and/or your policy
- Insurance company trying to cancel your policy or re-underwrite your policy
Steps to Suing Your Insurance Company
An insurance company will take a hard stance when it comes to saving money and defending their business interests. In order to sue your insurance company, you need to make sure you take several steps:
- Obtain a copy of the insurance policy you signed
- Keep a second copy and store it in a safe place that you can find later
- In situations where a claim is denied, you need to send a letter that asks for a written explanation on why your claim was denied. You will want to keep copies of this response as well.
- Carefully read your policy and ensure you are complying with the necessary procedural requirements that are related to filing your claim. You also want to verify your policy covers the losses in question.
- Be sure you have copies of all evidence related to your claim, including bills, photographs, receipts, etc.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
If you have questions regarding pursuing a personal injury claim or suing your insurance company, it’s important to speak with a Los Angeles car accident attorney. Contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers at 888-333-8882 to schedule a consultation.