Should I Speak With an Insurance Company After My Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident has the potential to be one of the damaging experiences of your life. Motorcycles offer little to no protection to riders from crash impact forces. Motorcyclists are much more likely to suffer serious injuries or die in accidents than drivers of enclosed passenger vehicles. If you have recently been in a motorcycle accident, it’s natural to assume you can file an insurance claim to recover your property losses, pay for the medical treatment you require, and cover the income you are likely to lose while you recover. However, things are rarely this simple, and it’s vital to approach any insurance claim with the utmost caution.
Important Things to Remember About Auto Insurance Companies
It’s a mistake to believe that an insurance company is on your side after a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies operate for profit. They increase profits by collecting premiums from policyholders and lose money when they must pay out on claims. Federal and state laws require insurance carriers to process all claims in good faith, meaning they must handle them honestly and interpret policies fairly. Unfortunately, some insurance companies engage in unethical and unscrupulous tactics to avoid paying out on claims or to coerce policyholders into accepting lowball settlement offers out of desperation.
If you must file an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident, carefully review your auto insurance policy to determine the breadth of your coverage and how much you can expect from your claim. Correspondence with an insurance carrier typically begins when you file a claim for coverage. Your claim letter should include the full scope of the damages you intend to claim and your reasoning as to why you believe these damages are coverable under the terms of your policy.
Insurance companies have the right (and, in fact, the legal obligation) to investigate claims to ensure they are filed in good faith and legitimate. When an insurance company violates its legal duties to a policyholder or engaged in any unethical tactics to avoid paying out on the policy, this may constitute bad faith.
How an Attorney Can Help
It’s generally best to secure legal counsel before interacting with any insurance company, even your own. Hiring an attorney and having them draft your initial claim letter on your behalf is one of the best ways to minimize any potential pushback you might face against your claim. However, having an attorney help you is not a guarantee that the insurance company will not attempt bad faith tactics to try and compel you to accept a much lower settlement than you deserve.
Your attorney can carefully review your insurance policy and check the elements of your policy against the conditions of your recent accident. While some elements of an auto insurance policy may be open to interpretation, they are typically quite clear, and an experienced attorney will be able to quickly identify any cause for concern they detect within your policy.
What to Do If You Encounter Bad Faith Insurance Practices
When your attorney handles your correspondence with the insurance company, they will help you understand what to expect when you must interact with an insurance company’s personnel, such as the claim adjuster assigned to review and verify your claim for coverage. If your attorney believes that the insurance company has engaged in any form of bad faith, they can help you address the situation succinctly by reporting the bad faith practices to the insurer and demanding fair treatment. Some of the most common bad faith tactics seen in the US from auto insurance carriers include:
- Lying about the elements of a policy.
- Misrepresenting or obfuscating key policy terms.
- Unreasonably delays of processing your claim. Insurance companies often attempt this to compel the claimant into accepting a lower settlement than they deserve out of desperation.
- Denial of the claim without justification.
- Threatening the claimant.
- Rescission of the claimant’s policy citing a technical issue with their initial application for coverage.
If you encounter any such behavior from an insurance company, it’s vital to consult your attorney immediately to determine the best possible remedy to the situation. If your attorney believes that bad faith has indeed occurred, they can help you hold the insurance company accountable and secure the compensation you deserve. In the event the insurance company’s bad faith actions caused additional losses, your attorney can potentially help you recover these damages as well.
Find Your Attorney Today
One of the most important things to do after any motorcycle accident is to seek legal representation from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Susan Handel has the experience and resources you need to navigate difficult insurance issues more easily. If you are ready to discuss your recent interactions with an auto insurance carrier with a compassionate and skilled attorney, contact us today for more information about how our firm can help you.