Should I Trust an Insurance Company to Handle My Motorcycle Accident Case?
It’s common knowledge that one of the first steps a person must take after any vehicle accident is to file an insurance claim. California is a fault-based state when it comes to auto accidents, meaning that every licensed driver must purchase auto insurance that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements. Failure to maintain adequate insurance can lead to serious problems in the event the underinsured driver causes an accident. However, even drivers who do have acceptable insurance policies run into problems when they must file insurance claims following accidents.
If you were recently involved in a motorcycle accident in California that another driver caused, call our firm. You have the right to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. It is crucial that you do not make the mistake of assuming the insurance carrier is there to help you. Insurance companies are profit-driven companies, and they lose money when they must pay out on claims. Ultimately, you cannot trust any insurance company to handle your motorcycle accident claim entirely in good faith.
Understanding Insurance Claim Adjusters
Every insurance company in the US has a legal duty to investigate and process claims in good faith. This means interpreting policies and assessing information related to a claim honestly and accurately. Most insurance companies will assign claim adjusters to handle these requirements, and claim adjusters complete extensive training at the behest of their employers to ensure they know how to minimize their employers’ financial liabilities.
Claim adjusters may contact claimants via phone or even meet with them in person to discuss and investigate their claims. These interactions can be difficult to navigate, especially if you have never dealt with an insurance company directly in the past. For example, one tactic many claim adjusters use to try and compel a claimant into divulging too much information or information that would release the insurer from liability is to ask a question, wait for the claimant to answer then remain silent as if expecting the claimant to say more. This creates an uncomfortable silence, and some claimants will keep talking to avoid it to their own detriment. This is just one of the psychological tactics many claim adjusters employ to help their employers avoid liability for legitimate claims or to reduce a claim payout.
Insurance Bad Faith
Every insurance company must handle legitimate claims in good faith. They have the right to investigate claims to determine liability and qualification for coverage, but they must do so honestly. Insurance bad faith applies to situations in which an insurance company fails in its legal duties to a claimant or a policyholder. Some common examples of insurance bad faith include:
- Rescission of a policy. While this may seem extreme, some insurance companies will outright cancel an insurance policy by citing a technical error with the policyholder’s initial application for coverage to avoid paying out on a claim against the policy.
- Unreasonable delays in handling a claim. An insurance company may delay a claim payout to cause the claimant to panic and accept a lowball settlement as their economic situation worsens.
- Unjust claim denial. If an insurance carrier outright denies a claim for coverage without suitable justification, this typically constitutes insurance bad faith.
- Lying or misrepresenting elements of a policy. Insurance claim adjusters may not falsify information or intentionally misconstrue policy terms to avoid paying out on claims.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways an insurance company may intentionally mishandle your auto insurance claim after a motorcycle accident. If you need to file an insurance claim following a motorcycle accident that someone else caused, it’s best to hire an attorney as soon as possible to assist you.
Why You Need Legal Counsel
One of the best things you can do to avoid difficulties with insurance companies and their employees is to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to assist with your claim. Hiring an attorney is one of the best things you can do to ensure the insurance company you must contact handles your claim in good faith. For example, simply having your attorney draft your initial claim for coverage may be enough to discourage the insurance adjuster from attempting any unethical actions or deceptive coercion while handling your claim.
Your attorney will review the policy in question and check the facts of your claim to ensure you can expect a recovery from the insurance company. In the event the driver responsible for your motorcycle accident does not have auto insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate your losses, your attorney can help you explore additional legal remedies such as a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Contact the Law Offices of Susan Handel today if you need assistance filing an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident in California. Our team will ensure your claim receives appropriate attention and that the insurance company handles it properly and legally.