While being in a car accident is never a positive experience, one thing that may give you some hope and relief is knowing that you have car insurance. If you have car insurance, then you should be able to file a claim against your insurer for some of your damages; if the other driver has insurance and was at fault for the accident, you may also have grounds to file a claim against their insurance company. While you may expect that the insurance company will pay your claim in full, what happens if the insurer is unwilling to settle your claim? Here’s an overview of what you need to know when a settlement cannot be reached and how a lawyer can help—
How Does Car Insurance Work After an Accident?
In Massachusetts, all drivers are required to carry both liability insurance and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
PIP coverage pays for medical bills for the policyholder and passengers up to the policy limits, as well as a portion of lost wages. PIP coverage applies regardless of fault, which means that even if you caused the accident, you have the right to file a claim against your policy’s PIP coverage.
If you sustain injuries that total more than $2,000 in medical expenses or are considered severe, you can step outside of the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy.
Can I File a Lawsuit If My Claim Is Denied?
While you may have a reasonable expectation that your claim will be processed quickly and paid in full, this doesn’t always happen. If you file a claim against your PIP coverage and your claim is denied, you can and should challenge the claim decision by requesting a review. In some cases, you may even consider filing a complaint against your insurance company with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI). If these actions aren’t fruitful, you have the right to file a lawsuit against your insurance company alleging that the company breached the contract it has with you and violated the terms of your policy.
If it is the insurance company of the other driver who won’t settle your claim, you can file a lawsuit for damages directly against the at-fault driver. Because the at-fault driver has a contract with their insurance company (that insurance company does not have a contract with you), it will be the responsibility of the at-fault driver to ensure that its insurance company pays if your lawsuit is successful.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
At the office of Tetzel Law, our car accident attorney can help by reviewing your insurance policy, helping to gather evidence to support your claim, filing your claim on your behalf, representing you in settlement negotiations with your insurer, and appealing an insurance decision or pursuing litigation if your claim is denied. At the office of Tetzel Law, our team has years of experience and a reputation for excellence. Call us directly today at (617) 742-1700 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your legal options.