Insurance companies are often unwilling to pay collision claims without a fight. In fact, SC Times recently reported one woman's year-long battle with an insurance company to get the fair market value of a family car after her son was involved in an accident. When someone else causes your crash, you deserve to be compensated in full for damages. An attorney can help with car insurance issues that arise and can stand up to the insurance company when the insurer proves reluctant to pay what is deserved.
Insurers Often Refuse to Reasonably Compensate Crash Victims
The yearlong battle for fair compensation from a car insurer began for one mother when her son was driving a family Buick with 147,000 miles on it. The car was hit by a driver in a vehicle he had rented from National Car Rental. Because it was clear the driver of the rental car was at fault, the insurer representing National Car Rental accepted responsibility for paying the damage claim for the Buick.
The insurer initially offered just $1,300 to settle the claim with the family of the Buick driver. The car, however, was worth between $3,500 and $5,000. The family had also spend $1,200 to store the car and to tow the vehicle after the accident. The mother of the young man in the crash provided information to the insurance company showing the car's value. Because there was no collision coverage on the Buick, no attorneys or insurers were helping the family who owned the Buick and the mother was forced to represent her family's interests on her own.
The insurance company for National Car Rental made several additional offers, but refused to go above $2,882 for the car. The mother continued to try to communicate with the insurer, providing information and details about the car and disputing claims the insurer made about being unable to verify the car mileage because the Buick would not start. When she was not able to get the claim to move forward, she also contacted the Insurance Commissioner for help.
The insurance company still refused to increase the $2,882 offer and told the Insurance Commissioner they were just going back and forth with the mother. The insurer also said the family had assumed the risk of not having a carrier to help mitigate their losses when they went without insurance coverage. While it is true the driver assumed the risk he would not be compensated for his car if he caused an accident, this was not the case in this situation because it was the driver of the rental car who was to blame. The insurer for the rental car company had an obligation to fully compensate crash victims who were harmed.
Over a year, the mother battled with the insurer and amassed a stack of paperwork four inches thick. Finally, the insurer raised the settlement offer to $3,522 and the family accepted. The insurer, however, made the family fight to get this small amount of money.
Insurers who engage in such hardball tactics over small amounts of money are also likely to do everything possible to avoid paying larger damages when serious injuries occur. The more severe your losses, the more essential it is for victims to get help with car insurance issues from a legal advocate.