Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident that wasn't your fault can be aggravating enough, and the situation only gets worse if the other driver's insurance carrier refuses to pay. Fortunately, you don't have to take the insurer's refusal at face value, as a number of remedies may be available. It's always a good idea to get as much information as you can at the accident scene and notify your own insurance carrier as soon as possible.
Ask for an Explanation
According to Insure.com, many auto insurance companies are quick to support their own policyholder and support his version of the events. If the company denies your claim and you believe you were not at fault, contact the insurer and provide it with any evidence, such as a police report or eyewitness accounts that support your position. If you don't make any headway, ask the insurer to provide an explanation as to how it believes the accident occurred.
Use Your Policy
You may be able to recover damages under your own policy if the other carrier doesn't cooperate. If your vehicle sustained damage, your company should be able to pay the claim under your collision coverage, assuming you have this coverage on your policy. If your company believes that the other driver was at fault, it can then pursue a process known as subrogation, where it attempts to recover some or all of the claim expense from the other company. In the meantime, you'll be able to get your car repaired and back on the road.
Small Claims Court and Mediation
Depending on your state of residence, if the amount of the claim is relatively small, you may be able to turn to small claims court for a remedy. You can seek a resolution without the need and additional expense of an attorney. You may also have access to the process of mediation where an impartial third party hears both sides of the case and makes a legally binding decision.
For more extensive damage or injuries, you may need to resort to filing suit in an effort to receive compensation. While this typically will require that you hire an attorney, you may be able to receive a settlement or judgment in your favor if you can present a valid case. However, the process can be time-consuming and cost you a significant amount in attorney and court fees. Be sure you file any suit within the period that your state requires.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images
- How to Settle Your Own Insurance Claim Without a Lawyer
- What to Do When You Don't Have Collision Insurance?
- How to Handle Homeowner's Insurance Claims
- What if My Car Got Hit When I Valet Parked?
- What Does Your Insurance Company Do When Your Car Is Stolen?
- New York State No-Fault Car Insurance Rules
- How Long Does Auto Insurance Subrogation Take?
- How to Dispute an Auto Insurance Settlement Amount