After dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, including paying for medical treatment and repairs to your car, you might believe you are entitled to be compensated by an insurance company. If another motorist was at fault, you might anticipate being offered a lucrative settlement that will cover your financial losses and more. Unfortunately, an insurance company could deny your claim for a variety of valid reasons. However, you have the right to challenge or sue an insurer who refuses to settle an accident claim.
It is important to note that Arkansas is a hybrid no-fault/fault state for car insurance purposes. In fault jurisdictions, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will typically compensate an accident victim. However, under Arkansas law, insurers are required to provide their policyholders a “no-fault” alternative. Arkansas drivers could opt for Personal Injury Protect. In this case, the initial claims after an accident could be made against your own insurance company up to your policy limit. A claim against your insurance company could be refused for a number of reasons.
If you are facing mounting medical bills and lost time at work following a car accident, you need our experienced Fayetteville, AR car accident lawyers on your side. Whether our office is negotiating with an insurance company or preparing a personal injury lawsuit, our goal is to maximize your compensation. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438.
Arkansas’ Modified Comparative Negligence Law and Insurance Settlements
While the reckless conduct of one driver causes some car accidents, many others result from a combination of factors – including the behavior of two or more drivers. Under Arkansas law, personal injury claims are decided using a modified comparative negligence method. Under this legal doctrine, a judge or jury will determine what level of blame each party contributed to the accident. If the plaintiff is also found at fault, their damages will be reduced by their percentage of the blame. Should the plaintiff be found to have contributed 50% or more to the accident, they will be prohibited from recovering monetary compensation from the defendant.
This legal doctrine will have an important impact on an insurance claim as well. One of the factors an insurance company considers when determining a settlement amount is the likely outcome if the case goes to court. When the available evidence indicates that the injured accident victim was close to 50% to blame, it is likely an insurance adjuster will decide to deny or greatly reduce a settlement. If the conduct of the potential plaintiff was especially egregious, such as driving drunk at the time of the crash, an insurance company would likely refuse to pay anything.
Arkansas Insurance Providers Acting in Bad Faith
Insurance companies are supposed to investigate an accident and offer a reasonable settlement. However, insurance companies are concerned about their profits and make decisions based on their financial interests – not those of innocent accident victims. When an insurer looks to limit their liability through dishonest or deceptive practices, they are acting in “bad faith” according to Arkansas law. Bad faith is grounds to recover damages from an insurance provider.
Bad faith can occur in many different ways. For instance, if an insurance adjuster pays only a portion of a valid claim, it could constitute bad faith under the law. Denying a valid claim also is a sign of dishonest conduct. Often, an insurance company will employ stalling tactics to avoid paying a claim, including refusing to investigate an accident, failing to communicate, or even delaying approved payments. Many accident victims in this position feel frustrated while trying to deal with their medical care and other financial issues.
In some cases, these tactics work by compelling the injured victim to accept an unreasonably low settlement amount. If you believe that an insurance company is engaging in unfair and deceitful practices, you should immediately contact our Arkansas car accident attorney. In many cases, you can avoid these issues by having legal representation from the start. Even if you are not considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, a knowledgeable attorney will professionally handle the negotiations.
Steps to Take if an Insurance Claim is Denied
If an insurer denied your car accident claim, it is critical to retain our Rogers personal injury lawyers. Our office will work to protect your rights and strengthen your claim. The first thing to understand is why your claim was denied. In some cases, it could be a clerical error, a processing mistake, or the insurer might believe that your claim is weak. By gathering additional evidence and investigating the accident, our experienced attorneys will help you fight the denial and file an appeal.
Because an insurance company will base their settlement decision on what would likely occur if you filed a claim in court, it is vital to build a strong legal case. This includes collecting evidence that points to the at-fault driver’s negligence. It is also important to have clear and convincing medical documentation related to the injuries that you suffered.
While we assemble your medical evidence, you must continue with your medical treatment, ensuring you do not miss any appointments. Additionally, you should continue to document any medical expenses and lost wages. It is also important not to communicate with the insurance company. You should concentrate on your health while our office deals with the insurer.
Contact Our Arkansas Personal Injury Attorneys if Your Car Accident Insurance Claim Was Denied
Dealing with an insurance company can quickly become frustrating. These companies are not working for you. They employ professionals to represent their interests. You need our qualified Bentonville car accident lawyers to advocate for your rights. Car accidents often result in severe injuries and costly medical treatment. Call our law offices at (479) 316-0438 if you are having problems with an insurance provider.