It’s frustrating when you’ve been in an accident caused by someone else and the insurance company denies your claim because they “don’t have enough information”. The system is far from perfect and sometimes drivers who are wronged can’t recover for their damages because the insurance company claims there isn’t enough evidence to support the driver’s claims. The good news is that the attorneys at McKinney Vos have seen it all before and there are a number of things we can do to avoid that outcome.
When a claim is opened, the insurance adjusters will conduct an investigation of the facts surrounding the accident. The investigation typically includes reviewing photographs of the property damage of both vehicles, statements from both parties involved, statements from any witnesses, and a scene inspection. After the investigation is complete, the adjuster will make a decision regarding it. Keep in mind. the insurance company will not pay any of your claims unless they agree that there is applicable insurance coverage at the time of the accident and that their driver caused the crash.
Insurance adjusters can deny liability for several reasons. Often, it is because they believe that their driver didn’t do anything wrong. In order to fight that decision, you and your attorney need to gather as much evidence as possible. This means reaching out to anyone that saw the accident, taking photographs of where the accident took place and reviewing all emails, text messages, or voicemails that you may have from the other driver – especially if they admit they caused the crash.
If there are no witnesses and no surveillance videos, the adjuster is going to believe their driver’s story of what happened over yours because that is the story that lets them keep their money and deny your claim. Sometimes the other driver’s story simply doesn’t make sense with the photos of the property damage or the scene of the accident and without those photographs you wouldn’t be able to prove to the adjuster that their driver is lying.
When you’re in an accident, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to document everything! Take pictures of both cars where the accident took place, the license plates of all drivers involved, etc. It’s also helpful to take notes of what the other driver told you. Something as simple as notating where they said they were coming from and where they’re going to can be important if they try to change their story at a later time.
If someone pulls over to help, make sure to ask for their information in case you need to verify what they saw and heard later. If they’re pulling over, they’re usually the kind of people that want to help. Even if they’re no witnesses, it’s still possible for the insurance company to accept liability. Keep in mind that the insurance company usually won’t consider someone who was in your vehicle as a nonpartial witness. They’re going to assume they’ll say anything to support your story.
If the other driver fled the scene without stopping to give you their information, you still have options. If you were able to get a license plate or a description of the car, sometimes the police can locate them at a later date. If the police are able to identify the driver and/or the owner of the vehicle, then an attorney can investigate whether or not there is insurance coverage and if so, can still pursue a claim on your behalf.
If you can’t locate the other driver or if they don’t have car insurance, then we can look into recovery under your Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. This coverage will be listed on your personal auto insurance and is there to use for times like this. If you have UM coverage, you are entitled to compensation for injuries sustained in an auto accident caused by someone else. In Texas, you have to sign a form to waive the UM coverage. If the insurance company cannot produce the signed waiver document, then they have to provide the coverage. It’s also possible that you qualify for this coverage under someone else’s policy. If you have any questions about whether or not this coverage applies to you, give us a call and we can talk through your options!
In order to recover from an insurance company, the adjuster needs to establish that there was an open active insurance policy (insurance coverage) and the other driver is at fault (liability). If someone caused the accident but they weren’t up to date on their insurance payments or they weren’t listed on the policy, then the insurance company will deny your claims because there wasn’t any coverage on the day of the crash.
Even if the other driver has active coverage on the day of the crash, coverage might still be denied if they don’t cooperate with their insurance company’s investigation. Most, if not all, insurance policies require that their insureds cooperate in the event that a claim is opened. The policy says that if their insured does not cooperate – i.e. return their calls and provide statements/photographs – then the insurance company is well within their right to deny coverage. It’s as if the other driver didn’t have insurance coverage at all!
If coverage is denied, you have the option to go through your insurance policy if you have UM coverage – just like with a hit-and-run accident. When making a UM claim, your insurance company will also conduct an investigation of the other driver to see if they can find any other insurance coverage as well. Even though they’re your insurance company, they still don’t want to pay out a claim if they don’t have to!
An auto accident is understandably stressful. The entire situation becomes even more overwhelming with the other driver lies about the events or the insurance company denies coverage or liability. We can help! Call us today to discuss your legal options.