Car Insurance Claims: When to Consult an Attorney

June 25, 2013

Nobody enjoys making car insurance claims; dealing with insurance companies is a hassle at best and sometimes can be downright frustrating. There may come a time when an insurance company refuses to pay a claim or makes a settlement offer that is considerably lower than you feel is fair or sufficient to cover losses or expenses you have incurred.

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You should always try to work things out with your insurance company directly, before you seek outside help. You should make sure that you communicate your concerns effectively in written letters to the insurance company to let them know why you feel you are being treated unfairly or you feel that an offer they have made is inadequate or too low.

Furthermore, before seeking the advice of an attorney, you may wish to consult your states Department of Insurance to see if they may be able to intervene on your behalf. In many states, insurance companies are required to address complaints and grievances within a specified period of time and attempt to settle disputes at the earliest time possible.

Consulting an Attorney

However, there may be times that regardless of what you do--you and the car insurance company simply can't come to an agreement. They want to pay a certain amount, and you may feel that it's too little or feel that it doesn't address particular parts of your claim that deserve coverage as well. Whatever the case, you should seek the advice of a qualified insurance attorney.

When you visit the attorney's office, make sure to take copies of everything related to your car insurance claim. If you're involved in an accident, make sure to take copies of all police reports as well as witness statements or witness information. Furthermore, always make sure to keep copies of any letters of correspondence that you have sent to or received from the insurance company. This includes written letters, emails and any faxes or other type of correspondence that may have been sent.

Also, make sure to keep detailed phone records of any conversations with the insurance company. All of these will be helpful to the attorney when considering if you have grounds for a civil suit or not.

Lawsuit Considerations

You should be aware that suing an insurance company can take a long time. In fact, it is not uncommon for some civil suits to last for several years; therefore, you should always weigh the benefits of reaching a quick settlement with the insurance company versus a long drawn-out court battle. A good attorney will be able to give you advice as to whether you should accept a offer or not from the insurance company.

No matter how you choose to proceed, you should always be willing to accept a reasonable offer. Also, make sure that you know how the attorney's fee will be structured up front. If you choose to sue an insurance company, be aware that the attorney may take as much as a third of any potential settlement--plus the cost and fees he/she incurs in the attempt to get the insurance company to pay. In short, weigh how much you expect to receive with the time involved and the potential cost of an attorney and court costs.

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Related Questions and Answers

What is the Average Hourly Rate of an Insurance Claim Attorney?

Getting involved in a car accident is a very scary ordeal to experience, especially when the accident causes injuries to you or loved ones, and you need to deal with an insurance claim attorney. Dealing with an attorney, of any practice, can be an expensive venture. An insurance claim attorney can cost anywhere from $90 to $200 per hour based on their legal experience, the firm they work with, and the depth of their involvement in the case. If you are the one who was injured, you can sue for lawyer's fees as well as medical fees, not having to pay for representation out of pocket.

What is Bad Faith Insurance?

Bad faith insurance occurs each year in the United States, affecting millions of people, and causing hundreds of bad faith insurance lawsuits. Bad faith insurance occurs when an insurance company denies benefits unfairly, short changes benefits unfairly, deceptive sales and marketing practices, and illegal practices involving the claims of policy holders. Fighting bad faith insurance practices can be done by reporting the insurance agency to the state commission of insurance and taking legal action. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners will be able to provide you with the name of your state's insurance commission and the proper steps needed to report an insurance company.

Is Getting a Speeding Ticket Lawyer Worth the Cost?

So you have been issued a speeding ticket by your local police or your state police and are considering hiring a speeding ticket lawyer to fight your case. A speeding ticket lawyer will cost a pretty penny. $300 to show up in court with you the day of your court appearance, but it could be worth the cost. Most lawyers will not tell you of the local or state laws unless you hire them to fight your case. They will plead a lesser charge for you, ultimately preventing you from accumulating points on your driving record, which keeps your insurance rates from rising.