When you are in a car accident, the initial aftermath is chaotic. You are uncertain about your physical condition and your car is destroyed. Once law enforcement has been notified, you learn the person who is responsible for the accident is uninsured which leaves you with more questions than answers. Fortunately, you have taken uninsured motorist coverage meaning you feel confident your financial losses will be covered.
Insurance Company Response to Uninsured Motorist Claims
Once you have had medical treatment for your injuries, your next step is to obtain a copy of the accident report, gather your medical bills, and file a claim with your insurer. What you probably are not prepared for is the insurance company to deny your claim. There may be legitimate reasons for the denial, but in some cases, you may receive requests for additional information including:
- Updating information on the other driver
- Proof the other driver had no coverage
- Proof from your doctor stating what injuries you received
- Proof of income losses if your claim includes lost wages
These may appear to be legitimate questions unless you have already addressed them. If these concerns have been addressed, your insurance company may not be acting in good faith if they have denied your claim. If you are injured, a personal injury law firm in Central Oregon may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries.
Common Tactics Used by Insurance Companies
Anyone who is injured or suffers a loss in an accident must keep in mind how insurers make money. Premiums are paid by you, the consumer to the company. This improves their bottom line. When you file a claim, the insurance company has one interest: To make sure they pay as little as possible on the claim to preserve their income.
There are several ways an insurer may use to preserve their bottom line including:
- Claim Denials — the claim is denied outright. The company may give you a seemingly vague reason for the denial or tell you that your policy does not have the specific type of coverage you need.
- Slow-Walking Claim — insurance companies have an obligation to address claims in a timely manner. Most consumers are unaware of this obligation and often believe it is because the insurer is too busy. However, the fact is a delay is probably a sign the insurer is acting in bad faith.
- Low-Ball Offer — you have lost time from work, your car is wrecked, and your medical bills are piling up. The insurance company may offer you a settlement which does not accurately reflect your losses, nor does it come close to being near the limit of your policy. This may be a sign of bad faith as well.
Keep in mind, both Washington and Oregon have specific guidelines which insurance companies must act. In Washington the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) governs insurance company behavior. Lawmakers in Oregon codify insurance company behavior into law, part of which governs the handling of claims which can be found in Oregon Revised Statutes ORS 746.230 Unfair claim settlement practices. When an insurer has violated these established procedures, then you have the right to fight back.
If you are considering holding an insurer responsible for their lack of action, or their unfair practices, a personal injury lawyer can help you hold them accountable and provide you the information you need to make sure you are being treated fairly
Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
We know the idea of filing a lawsuit against your insurance company may feel like a major undertaking. After all, insurers have a team of attorneys who are there to represent them and you are merely a consumer. This should not deter you from taking action to have your legitimate insurance claim handled fairly.
When you want to hold your insurer accountable for an unfair denial, a claim which is being ignored, or if your insurance company is offering you far less than you believe you may be entitled to collect, contact Attorney Nathan Steele. Attorney Steele is a personal injury lawyer in Bend and has experience dealing with insurance companies, with adjusters, and with the attorneys who normally represent insurance companies.
Why Hire The Steele Law Firm?
When you are going up against an insurance company, you need a strong advocate on your side. That is why Attorney Nathan Steele is the right person to hire. Attorney Steele was an insider at an insurance company prior to his practice as a personal injury attorney. He understands the tactics they use and the methods they use to slow walk claims, deny claims, and undervalue claims.
Victims of bad faith insurance need someone with this level of experience. You want someone who has been working shoulder to shoulder with the attorneys and adjusters who handle insurance claims because they are in a better position to understand what questions to ask, and how to evaluate the problem you are having. Nathan Steele has the experience you need to make sure you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Insurance disputes can go on for a long time. The more time that passes, the harder it is to hold them accountable. If you have received a denial of your claim, or you feel your insurance company is not acting in good faith, you have the right to seek assistance. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible, especially if your claim has been denied. There may be a limited time to appeal this decision which means you could forfeit your right to appeal if you wait too long.
When you are involved in an insurance dispute in Oregon or Washington and you feel uncertain about what steps you should be taking, contact The Steele Law Firm at 541-647-1812 or contact us online to schedule a free, no strings attached consultation. We can help you understand your legal options and help you determine whether you should consider filing a lawsuit against your insurer.