California law requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance – and for good reason. When a car accident occurs, victims can incur substantial losses for medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. California is a fault-based insurance state, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance should cover the losses of all victims. However, what happens when the insurance process doesn’t work as it should?
Many accident victims file insurance claims and naturally expect to receive payment for their losses. However, insurance companies are shrewd businesses that will do what it takes to preserve their bottom lines, which often means limiting payments to claimants in any way possible. You should always have an experienced car accident lawyer representing you from the start of your insurance claim.
Insurance adjusters are trained to limit settlement offers for any reason they can find. They have many tactics they use to reduce settlements, including the following:
- Getting you to make a recorded statement that goes against your interests (whether you realize it or not)
- Claiming you were partially liable for the accident
- Challenging the severity of your injuries and the amount of losses claimed
When an adjuster makes an extremely low offer, they are hoping you will simply accept it. Too many people think that accepting the first offer is their only option, and they end up facing a lot of out-of-pocket costs. You should have a lawyer review every settlement offer before you ever sing anything.
Not only will insurers try to short-change claimants, but they may also deny valid claims outright. Many people are shocked to learn that their claim was denied, and they may not receive a sufficient justification for the denial. California has strict laws that require insurance companies to act in good faith when reviewing claims, though companies regularly violate these laws and deny claimants the payment they deserve.
Know Your Rights
If the auto insurance process doesn’t work for you, it is important to remember that you have additional legal rights and options, which you should discuss with a car accident law firm as soon as you can. The right lawyer can help you pursue your two main legal options in this situation:
- File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court: You can take legal action against negligent parties that caused the crash to seek compensation for your losses.
- File an insurance bad faith claim: You can take action against the insurance company if it denied your claim without justification.
These civil cases can be surprisingly complex, so you want to have an experienced personal injury litigator on your side throughout the process.
Consult with a San Francisco Car Accident Attorney for Free Today
The legal team at the Cartwright Law Firm, Inc. assists car accident victims with insurance claims and injury lawsuits in and around San Francisco, Vacaville, Discovery Bay, and Santa Rosa, CA. Call (415) 433-0444 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation or case evaluation.