- $15 Billion+ Won
- 800+ Lawyers Nationwide
- The Fee is FreeTM, Only Pay If We Win
- America’s Largest Injury Law Firm
- Protecting Families Since 1988
Car Insurance Attorney in Palm Harbor, FL
Car insurance is a contract. You agree to pay your bill on time, and the car insurance company agrees to pay you money in specific circumstances (primarily accidents). As long as everyone fulfills their part of the agreement, it is a rather simple deal.
Unfortunately, sometimes car insurance companies refuse to live up to their side of the bargain.
You expect to receive appropriate compensation promptly after a car accident or other covered situation. But your insurance company can deny your claim or underpay what you are owed. This usually isn’t legal, but that doesn’t stop the company from doing it. What are your legal options when this happens?
The best option is to hire a car insurance attorney in Palm Harbor, FL. Morgan and Morgan lawyers will work to get your car insurance company to pay what you are due. If you have been denied fair compensation from a car insurance company, contact us immediately to get a free evaluation of your case.
How Insurance Companies Avoid Paying What They Owe
Unfortunately, in most insurance contracts, insurance companies hold most of the power. They can decide whether to deny your claim or not and how much to pay you if your claim is accepted.
Underpaying you or denying your claim for invalid reasons violates the contract. But insurance companies often do it anyway because they know they can get away with it.
Bad Faith Claims Denials
Your claim has been denied in bad faith when the insurance company is aware that you have a legitimate claim but still denies your claim. The decision to deny your claim can be made by any of several people at the insurance company, so it is often hard to determine exactly why your claim is denied.
Insurance companies are required to inform you about why your claim was denied. One method that insurance companies will use to deny your right to compensation is to make it hard for you to find out why your claim was denied.
Many claimants will simply give up on a claim when given the run-around long enough. They simply don’t have the time to waste on getting answers.
Even if you can get an answer from the insurance company, another tactic insurance companies employ is to give you conflicting answers. This makes it harder for you to debate their reasons for denying you. You either have to continue to search for a definitive answer or fight against all of the reasons they give.
These delays and conflicting answers serve another purpose as well. You have the right to appeal a denied claim. But there are time limits on that appeal, and the longer it takes for you to get an answer, the less time you have to appeal. Also, the less information you have, the weaker your appeal will be.
Biased or Sham Investigations
Another way the insurance companies can get away with denying your claim is by pointing to the results of a claim investigator. A claim investigator is supposed to investigate the details of the claim and make a fair and unbiased analysis of whether the claim is valid.
Unfortunately, some claim investigators have already decided against you before even doing the investigation.
Having already decided that the claim is invalid, they will either ignore evidence supporting your claim or fake the investigation. They may even try to trick you into making statements that can be used against you in deciding the claim.
Unless you know what to look for, it can seem like the investigator is doing their job, even while they aren’t. A car insurance attorney in Palm Harbor, FL, knows what to look for and can prove that an investigator is creating a biased report.
The insurance company can then use the reports provided by these investigators to deny your claim. Even if you can prove that the investigator acted fraudulently, the insurance company can claim innocence, and at best, you are back to square one in the claims process.
Undervaluing a Claim
Denying your claim isn’t the only tool available to the insurance companies. Insurance companies can also offer compensation well below what you deserve. A low payout can clear the claim at minimal cost to the insurance company.
There are several tactics that insurance companies can use to undervalue your claim, including:
- Claiming that you are at fault in an accident
- Undervaluing your automobile
- Claiming medical expenses aren’t due to an accident
- Ignoring evidence in your claim
- Arguing that another insurance company should cover a cost
Fighting against an undervaluation may require even more effort than fighting against a claim denial. And if you have already accepted any amount of money, you could have put yourself in a difficult position when trying to get more.
Before you accept any money from an insurance company, you should retain a Morgan and Morgan car insurance attorney in Palm Harbor, FL, to represent you.
Delaying the Claims Process
Another thing you should know before you start the claims process is that insurance companies are required to complete the process in a reasonable amount of time. Investigation and claim determination take time. But if the insurance company is artificially inflating that time, you can sue them for additional damages.
Insurance companies can delay the process in almost endless ways. They can:
- Make it almost impossible to contact the correct people in their company
- Continually require you to provide additional information
- Make it difficult to properly file paperwork or provide evidence
- Schedule appointments at inconvenient times
- Delay communications
- Put a hold on payments
- “Lose” evidence or claims information
- Reset timetables with every communication
With each day that passes, you are more likely to give up your claim or accept a lower offer. Few claimants have the resources to wait almost indefinitely for compensation or to file a lawsuit. Thus, even though this behavior is illegal, insurance companies are rarely punished for it.
How a Car Insurance Attorney in Palm Harbor, FL, Can Get You Money
As a rule of thumb, if you are in a car accident or your car is damaged, you should contact a Morgan and Morgan car insurance attorney before you contact your insurance company. Our attorneys can greatly improve the odds that you will get fair and timely compensation from the insurance company.
Insurance companies are looking for any excuse they can use to deny your claim or pay you less. Your lawyer will speak to the insurance company for you. This prevents you from accidentally saying something that the insurance company will use to underpay your claim.
Also, when insurance companies know you have legal representation from the very start of the process, they are much less likely to play games.
Having a lawyer means that you are willing to go to trial if necessary. And insurance companies know that trials are expensive and can end in large judgments against the company. It is much easier to make a fair offer and simply get your claim out of the way.
At Morgan and Morgan, we aren’t willing to take the insurance company’s word for what is a fair offer. We do our own investigations into the details of your claim. We also fight for compensation for lost wages and other easily ignored expenses that arise from your claim.
If the insurance company doesn’t make an offer that we consider fair, we will advise you to refuse the offer and fight the insurance company in court.
We can do this because we are confident in the quality of our lawyers and our ability to win trials. Our decades of experience and record of success support this confidence. If an unreasonable insurance company forces you to take your case to trial, our lawyers will do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve.
Morgan & Morgan
Can I File a Claim With Another Insurance Company?
If another party is at fault, their insurance company may be responsible for paying you compensation. This is most common in car accidents when the other driver is at fault.
To be safe, you should file your claim with your insurance company as well, even if you can file a claim with another insurance company. This ensures that all of your expenses are covered, regardless of who is eventually determined to be at fault.
Can I Sue Another Insurance Company?
Just because another insurance company is paying you rather than your own, that doesn’t mean you give up your rights. That insurance company must act in good faith in the same way that your insurance company is. The fact that you aren’t paying them money doesn’t change that.
And if the insurance company is treating you unfairly, you can sue them the same way you can sue your insurance company.
Can I File Criminal Charges Against My Insurance Company if They Are Acting Fraudulently?
You could file fraud charges against your insurance company, but it won’t get you the money you need. You are better off letting a Morgan and Morgan car insurance attorney in Palm Harbor, FL, file a lawsuit on your behalf.
After the lawsuit is complete, we can contact appropriate criminal authorities if you still wish. And the evidence used during your lawsuit can potentially help authorities with a criminal case.
Do I Need a Car Insurance Lawyer if My Insurance Company Makes a Fair Offer?
Insurance companies have every advantage when it comes to claims. For the most part, they set the rules, and they make all of the decisions. They also have a team of lawyers working for them at all times. Just to balance that out, you should get a lawyer involved from the very start.
Additionally, while an offer may seem fair, it could actually be a very low offer in disguise. Car insurance lawyers have the experience to identify these disguised lowball offers before you accept them.
Is It Better to Accept a Settlement or Go to Court?
A settlement is usually better if the insurance company is making a reasonably fair offer. The main advantages of a settlement are that they usually take less time than a trial, and you know exactly what you are going to get. A trial is longer and much less certain.
However, there are two times you may want to go to court instead. First, if the insurance company makes such a low offer that it doesn’t meaningfully help, you might as well take your chances in court.
Second, the longer the insurance company takes to make a settlement offer, the less value you gain from accepting a settlement. For example, if a trial would take two years to finish, and the insurance company offers to settle after a year and a half, you might just want to wait the extra months for the chance at more money.
Why Choose Morgan and Morgan?
The top priority of Morgan and Morgan lawyers is helping you recover after your car is stolen or damaged. We don’t just get you money so we can get paid. We get you money so you can recover a sense of normalcy after your claim. If you need a car insurance lawyer in Palm Harbor, FL, use our contact form today to schedule your free evaluation.