When you get in a car accident, nobody ever prepares you for how stressful the whole experience will be. You have to deal with choosing a body shop, possible injuries, and the inconveniences that come when you’re without your vehicle. The last thing you’d ever expect is the other driver and insurance company denying liability. As if things couldn’t get any worse, it feels like it just did.
What do you do when this situation happens? Is there anything you can do?
You’ve reported the accident to the insurance company of the driver who hit you and provided them more than what they would need to satisfy the claim. You did everything right following the accident: took photos, possibly filed a police report, and gathered detailed notes of the accident. Rather than waiting for time to pass and you wonder what the outcome is or for the other insurance company to call you when it’s convenient for them, you decide to give them a call yourself. As soon as you do, that’s when you discover the other driver denied responsibility and your claim was denied by their insurance.
Why Your Claim Was Denied
Even if it’s evident that the other driver was at fault, there are a few reasons why your claim was denied. One of the most commonly used excuses insurance companies use for denying the claim is the police officers who were present at the scene of the accident didn’t actually say their client was the one at fault. Other reasons you might hear are:
- Lapsed Policy: If the other driver failed to pay their premiums, this would cause their policy to lapse. As a result, their insurance company might claim that the driver had no coverage at the time of the accident. If this happens, you’ll need to rely on something known as “uninsured motorist coverage.” For more information on what to do in this situation, click here.
- Time is up: Insurance policies will also deny responsibility if an accident wasn’t reported in the allotted time. If it wasn’t major damage and the other driver doesn’t care much about getting their car fixed, they’re willing to let the time slip by. Depending on where you are located, you have 2-6 years to file a claim after an accident. Here in Pennsylvania, you have 2 years to file an accident claim and 5 days to report an accident. This is why it’s critical you not only inform your insurance company as soon as possible but the other driver’s insurance company as well so they don’t take their time in filing a claim.
- Policy exclusions: Insurance companies might deny your claim if they believe specific policy exclusions were the cause of the accident and not the driver. Sudden weather, such as a freak hail storm, is a widespread “act” that the other policy might consider an exclusion. As a result, your policy would be denied.
What To Do Next
You might be thinking that you need to hire a lawyer and while you’re justified for feeling that way, there’s something else you can try first. The very first thing you should do is ask the other driver’s insurance company for immediate proof.
Here’s how you can attain that proof: as the driver who was hit, you deserve to know why they (other driver’s insurance company) feel you’re not owed anything. This is why you should demand it sooner than later. Insurance companies are required to provide you with the documentation of the incident you need. Once that is in your possession, you can do whatever you want to argue your stance.
Next, you will probably want to call your own insurance company. Ask them what they think you should do. Your insurance company will pay for your repairs, and you’ll pay your deductible (per usual) on the repairs, so you can at least begin the process of getting your car repaired. Make sure you go to a collision repair shop that you prefer and trust, and not somewhere that your insurance company is saying will be the “fastest repair for your car.” Faster does not mean better when it comes to car repair, especially with how complex cars are manufactured nowadays. Plain and simple: take your car to an auto body shop that will repair your vehicle precisely as the manufacturer instructs, commonly known as OEM repairs. (For tips on finding the best and most trusted local auto body repair shops, click here.)
Another thing to keep in mind is while your insurance company is fighting on your behalf to get reimbursement on the repairs, they’ll probably also tell you to file a complaint with the other insurer. There’s no promise on what this will do, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Contact An Attorney
If none of that works, the next step would be to contact an attorney. It’s not always necessary, but an attorney can assist you with several things regarding the accident. Plus, if you were injured, hiring an attorney would be a wise step to take so that you can collect the damages that will cover your medical bills and repair costs.
Regardless of whether or not you have injuries from the accident, here’s what one website states an attorney can do for you in the event your claim is denied:
“An attorney can look at all the evidence from the accident, recreate the scene of the crime, and they can determine who is at fault.”
Since most insurance companies are not willing to go to the extent of a judge getting involved, a settlement will more than likely be offered.
No-Fault Insurance States
At this time, there are only 18 states that are considered “no-fault insurance” states. This type of insurance coverage “helps pay for your and your passengers’ medical bills if you’re injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident” (Allstate).
Here in Pennsylvania, we are considered a “choice no-fault” state. This means that drivers get to choose if they’ll be held to a no-fault system (Nationwide). This will save you a lot of aggravation if both you and the other party follow the laws for being a no-fault insurance state. They wouldn’t owe you anything, and you’d be able to get back to normal life before you know it.
Where In Pennsylvania Can I Get My Car Repaired?
Here at 3D Collision Centers, we know how stressful this time is for you. We have seen every possible scenario following an accident, and we are here to ease some of that anxiety. Our team of highly skilled auto repair technicians knows the importance of following OEM repair procedures, which have your safety as the top priority. Our technicians are all I-CAR Gold Class trained, which is the highest level of certification an auto repair technician can receive.
We have 7 different locations located across Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery counties. Feel free to give us a call at anytime at (877)-692-7776. For a list of the phone numbers for each of our locations or to schedule an estimate, click here.
We look forward to showing you the 3D Difference!