How to Appeal a Car Insurance Claim Decision in Burlington, Vermont47 Maple Street, Suite 104D
Burlington, VT 05401
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Burlington, VT Car Insurance Claim Lawyer
In Vermont, the at-fault driver is generally responsible for reimbursing you for damage and expenses from a car accident. Typically, you would receive a settlement from their car insurer. However, the process of getting what you deserve is rarely straightforward. Insurance companies often minimize, delay, or deny claims hoping victims will go away or settle for a lowball offer.
Don’t let an insurance company shortchange you. If you suffered injuries and financial losses due to another’s fault, you are entitled to adequate compensation. Morgan & Morgan has your back if you can’t get a fair settlement from an unscrupulous insurer. Our determined car accident attorneys want nothing more than to help victims to get the full value of their claim so they can put their lives back together. If you want to know how to appeal a car insurance claim decision in Burlington, contact us for a free consultation today.
Appealing Against an Insurer’s Decision
If your insurer denies your claim, you have the right to challenge the decision. You can do so in several ways, including:
Most insurance companies allow you to file an internal appeal against their claim decision. However, it is critical that you understand the reason for the insurance’s decision and can argue against it with proof. You should contact the insurance in writing, explaining why you believe their decision was wrong, and include relevant evidence to back up your claim, such as:
- Medical reports
- Receipts of expenses
- Photographs of your injuries and damages
- Eyewitness statements
- Police report
The insurer should then review its decision and inform you of the outcome. However, insurance companies may try to drag the process out, and you should follow up regularly regarding your appeal. Keep a record of all the times you contacted the insurance, including the person you spoke with, and the topic and outcome of the conversation. These details can be critical evidence if you later need to file a lawsuit.
Filing a Complaint
You can file an official complaint against the insurance company with the State of Vermont Insurance Division online, by mail, email, or fax. Your complaint should be accompanied by the relevant documents.
Contact an Insurance Attorney for Help and Advice
Consider contacting an attorney from Morgan & Morgan as soon as you receive the letter denying or reducing your claim. Our qualified Vermont insurance dispute attorneys can assess your claim, review the insurance policy, and determine your next best steps. If an insurer acted in bad faith, you may be able to sue and recover your initial damages and others.
Legitimate Reasons Why Insurers Deny or Underpay Claims
In some cases, a claim denial could be valid. Car insurance companies in Vermont may deny or underpay claims due to:
The driver who caused your accident may have stopped paying premiums or failed to renew their car insurance. However, if you got hurt in an accident with an uninsured driver, you could file a claim with your own insurer. Drivers in Vermont must carry a minimum of $10,000 in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Limits in Coverage
Coverage limits generally apply, whether you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer or your own insurance company. If you suffered a severe injury, coverage limits might mean that your insurance settlement will be too small to cover all your damages.
Driver Not Named on Policy
If the driver causing the accident is not named on the car insurance policy, the insurer may deny the claim. This can happen when someone borrows the car from the vehicle owner, or a teenager drives their parent’s car without permission.
If the driver causing the accident was using their personal vehicle for business activity, they may not have insurance coverage. As a claimant, you would be left empty-handed as the insurer would most likely deny your claim.
Even if your claim is legitimately denied, you could have options for recovery, such as suing the at-fault driver personally. A car accident attorney from our firm can help you understand your legal rights and move forward with a lawsuit if you are unable to receive a settlement.
Bad Faith Insurance in Burlington, Vermont
Sometimes, an insurer does not have a legitimate reason for refusing a payout and acts in “bad faith.” You could have legal recourse if an insurance company unfairly denies or underpays a settlement. Vermont’s Insurance Trade Practices Act 8 V.S.A. § 4724(9) prohibits insurance companies from engaging in unfair practices. When liability has been established in a car accident, an insurer must not withhold payment. Examples of bad faith insurance include:
- Trying to settle for an unfairly low amount
- Failing to respond to you
- Wrongfully denying a valid claim
- Unreasonably delaying your claim
- Failing to investigate your claim
- Misrepresentation of policy terms
However, not all claim denials occur in bad faith. For example, it is not bad faith if your opinion clashes with an adjuster regarding the loss amount. It is common for insurance adjusters to start negotiations at the lower end. Likewise, an insurance company making a mistake does not count as bad faith.
If an insurance company unlawfully denies your claim, one of our knowledgeable insurance attorneys can step in and fight for your rights to a full and fair settlement.
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How Do I Know Whether the Other Driver Is Liable for My Damages?
If another driver acted negligently or recklessly in causing your accident, they are generally liable for your damages in Burlington. All drivers have a duty of care towards other road users. Dangerous driving and violating road laws breach this duty of care. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), risky driving behaviors include but are not limited to:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
If you were involved in an accident with a negligent driver and they are at fault for the crash, their insurance company should reimburse you for damages. Morgan & Morgan understands how difficult it can be for some victims to get what they deserve and need to rebuild their lives after suffering an injury. Our car accident lawyers can assess your claim, determine liability, and appeal a car insurance claim decision in Burlington.
Which Damages Could I Receive With a Car Insurance Claim of Lawsuit?
If another caused your accident, injuries, and damages, you could be entitled to a comprehensive insurance settlement, including the following:
If you were injured in an accident in Vermont, a settlement should reimburse you for all medical costs, including future estimated expenses. You could receive awards for:
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Medical devices
- Specialist appointments
- Diagnostic tests
- A home health aide
Loss of Wages
If you were severely injured, you might be off work for some time during recovery. Those suffering catastrophic or disabling injuries may never be able to return to their career and make a living. Therefore, victims may be entitled to a settlement amount for loss of wages and loss of future earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Accidents do not only cause physical injuries but can also lead to great suffering and anguish. Individuals may suffer from chronic pain, emotional trauma, and other consequences. Injured car accident victims could qualify for the following so-called “non-economic” damages and others:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of a limb or a sense
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Reduced quality of life
If you suffered a significant injury, you could be entitled to a comprehensive settlement for your monetary damages and suffering. Our experienced insurance attorneys can fight tirelessly for what you deserve when an insurer denies fair compensation.
What Can I Do to Maximize an Insurance Settlement?
There are some crucial steps you can take after the accident that can help protect your legal rights to a fair settlement, including:
- Staying at the accident scene until law enforcement arrives
- Taking photographs of the crash scene and vehicles
- Calling 911 for medical help if anyone is injured
- Gathering insurance and contact information from other parties
- Collecting eyewitness contact information
- Seeing a doctor and getting a medical report detailing your injuries
- Contacting a car accident lawyer for help and advice
However, it is crucial to know what could reduce your chances of receiving a settlement. Leaving the scene of a car accident, for whatever reason, can qualify as a “hit and run” under the law and could be damaging to your claim. Although emotions can run high in car accidents, refrain from apologizing or arguing with other drivers.
Moreover, you should not speak about your accident and insurance claim with anyone other than your attorney and avoid posting any details on social media channels. The insurance company will look for reasons to minimize or deny your claim. If you are seeking damages such as pain and suffering or income losses and post pictures on vacation or playing sports, you may have trouble recovering what you deserve.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against the Insurance Company?
If an insurer keeps denying or minimizing your claim, you may be able to take them to court and recover damages. You could have a legal case if the insurer:
- Failed to investigate your claim or significantly delayed investigating your claim
- Refuses to pay a settlement despite liability being clear
- Fails to issue your payout within a reasonable time
- Denies a claim without explaining why
If you cannot get what you deserve after a car accident, consult with an attorney as soon as possible to clarify your options. Morgan & Morgan’s dedicated car accident lawyers can help you file a lawsuit to get what you deserve.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Have Some Fault for the Crash?
Car accidents can be complicated. It is not unusual for several parties to share responsibility for a crash. While this can complicate your recovery, having some fault does not necessarily bar you from pursuing compensation. The state of Vermont follows an amended doctrine of comparative negligence, which means that anyone hurt in a collision could seek damages, providing they are no more than 50 percent responsible for the crash.
However, your percentage of fault will reduce the amount you can claim from an insurer. For example, if you are 40 percent responsible for causing the accident, you can generally only recover 60 percent of your losses. Cases, where the fault is shared, can be tricky to resolve. Consider hiring a lawyer to protect your rights and ensure the insurance company does not assign you an unfairly high degree of fault.
Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney to Fight the Insurance Company?
Results of a lawsuit are never guaranteed. However, when we take your case, you do not have to pay anything unless we win and recover a settlement for you. In most car accidents with injuries, getting legal advice and hiring an attorney can be beneficial, particularly if an insurance company refuses to pay you. Going it alone could mean you are up against an insurance company with unlimited resources and lawyers who fight claims like yours every day.
If you suffered significant injuries or liability for the accident is unclear, hiring a skilled attorney can be critical for your case. Morgan & Morgan’s experienced car accident lawyers can take the burden off your shoulders and appeal a car insurance claim decision in Burlington. We never settle for less because we know that victims need a settlement to pay for their bills and move forward. If an insurer is dragging its heels, we can take them to court to fight for your right to adequate compensation.
Morgan & Morgan Is on Your Side
If you got hurt in a car accident, Morgan & Morgan is here to fight for what you deserve. As America’s largest personal injury firm, we have helped thousands of injured individuals and recovered over $15 billion in damages. Don’t let an insurance company get away with underpaying or denying your claim in Burlington. Contact us now for a free consultation to find out how we can help.