Missouri is an at-fault state. This means that if you are involved in a car crash in Missouri and another driver is responsible for causing the crash, they are obligated to pay for your car repairs and medical bills.

However, sometimes, things don’t happen this way in practice. The other driver’s insurance can deny payment for a number of reasons, everything from denying liability to disputing your medical bills or your preferred repair shop.

What happens if the other driver’s insurance company won’t pay?

Things can get complicated quickly. If you’re dealing with unhelpful or unresponsive insurance companies, the St. Louis car accident attorneys at Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse are here to help.

Why Do Insurance Companies Reject Claims?

When the dust settles after a car collision, and you’ve filed your claim, there’s an unsettling possibility that the other driver’s insurance company refuses to pay your request for compensation. Let’s delve into why this might happen, starting with the tangled web of liability disputes.

Car insurance companies often engage in a game of hot potato with fault, each looking to pass the blame to avoid footing the bill.

Liability Disputes

Imagine you’re certain that the other party caused the accident, but their insurance company is denying liability, casting doubt on your car insurance claim. It’s a scenario as common as it is aggravating, with insurance claims often hinging on this point of contention.

Evidence is your best ally here, and collecting every shred from the accident scene is crucial.

It’s often not possible to stick around and take photos of the scene after an accident, particularly if you were injured in the collision. In this case, it’s important to obtain the police report and vigorously dispute any inaccuracies you find. As well, if you work with a car accident lawyer, your lawyer can collect evidence on your behalf, requesting traffic camera and CCTV footage.

Policy Exclusions and Limitations

Even if you don’t run into any issues with liability, your claim might run into issues with policy exclusions.

Insurance companies notoriously look for any exclusion, like damages from a storm or intentional acts, to dismiss claims. As well, if they find a case where they could claim an injury is pre-existing, it’s possible they could reject your claim.

Insufficient Coverage

One of the most frustrating scenarios after a car accident is discovering that the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages.

This can happen if the other driver is underinsured. In Missouri, every driver is required to carry the following levels of auto insurance coverage:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

If your damages exceed this amount, it’s not uncommon to see insurance companies refusing to pay.

Navigating the Claims Process When Facing Denial

When you’re up against an insurance company that denies all or part of your claim, it’s critical to understand their reasons for denial.

The insurance company will typically send you a formal letter, including the reasons for the rejection. Depending on the nature of rejection, your next step is appealing the insurance company’s decision.

Communication with the Insurance Company

When reaching out to the insurance company, think of it as walking a tightrope. You’ll want to provide just the essential facts – names, dates, locations. But beware of their tactics; they may delay or dodge your calls, especially if you’re doing this by yourself, without a lawyer.

Remember, time is of the essence, and you must submit your claim within their “reasonable” time frame, or risk it being rejected entirely.

If you’re contemplating giving more than just the bare facts, pause and seek legal advice. This way, you ensure that nothing you say negatively affects your claim.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Of course, nobody ever wants to have to hire a lawyer, but if the insurance company denies your claim, working with a car accident attorney can be incredibly helpful.

Legal experts can provide guidance, gather crucial evidence, and represent your interests. An attorney can also help you understand the complex legal terms and conditions of your insurance policy and the denial letter.

Finding the Right Attorney

Look for an attorney with extensive experience in car accident cases and a proven track record. Check online reviews and ask for referrals from friends or family. Schedule consultations to discuss your case.

Inquire about their success rate and whether they work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.

How an Attorney Can Help

An attorney will handle all communications with the insurance company, ensuring that your rights are protected. They will gather necessary evidence, such as medical records and accident reports, and build a strong case on your behalf.

Additionally, they can negotiate settlements and, if necessary, represent you in court to secure the compensation you deserve.

An attorney can provide peace of mind, handling the heavy lifting in your case while allowing you to focus on healing up and getting back to life.

Alternative Options for Compensation

If the at-fault driver’s insurance is insufficient, your attorney can explore other options. This might include your own underinsured motorist coverage or pursuing compensation from other liable parties, such as vehicle manufacturers for defects or governmental bodies for hazardous road conditions.

Missouri law also allows for the possibility of recovering damages from your own insurer under certain circumstances.

Filing a Lawsuit

If negotiations fail, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This legal action aims to secure the compensation you deserve through the court system. Filing a lawsuit includes preparing and submitting all necessary legal documents, presenting evidence and arguing your case before a judge or jury.

The statute of limitations in Missouri for filing a car accident lawsuit is generally five years from the date of the accident.

Negotiating a Settlement

Many cases settle out of court. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement that covers your damages, including medical bills, lost wages and property damage.

They will leverage evidence and legal expertise to counter lowball offers and ensure you receive adequate compensation for your injuries and losses.

Get Legal Help Today

Don’t navigate the claims process alone. Contact the St. Louis car accident attorneys at Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse for a consultation. They are ready to fight for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call 314-241-1919 today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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