An insurance policy is a legal contract between an insurance company and its policyholder. This contract contains specific terms for both parties. If you believe that your insurer is in violation of the terms within your policy, such as failure to pay valid claims, you have a right to sue for damages. But do you need a lawyer to sue the insurance company?
Bringing a lawsuit against your insurance company is a complicated process that should not be undertaken without the help of skilled legal counsel by your side. Each state has a complex set of laws regulating the insurance industry, and in-depth knowledge of these laws and statutes is critical to know which type of lawsuit to file and what process to follow.
In Tennessee, an injury victim is generally not permitted to sue their insurance company directly, except in extreme situations. Violations of contract terms, acting in bad faith, and failure to pay valid claims are examples of situations in which you may have cause to sue your insurance company.
But proving that your insurance company acted in bad faith or breached contract terms can be quite challenging. An experienced TN insurance lawyer will evaluate your case, determine fault, and gather the evidence needed to substantiate your claim. When you sue the insurance company for these violations, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and even emotional pain and suffering. Contact our insurance lawyers today for assistance.
Suing Your Own Car Insurance Company After a Car Wreck
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of accidental injury and death in Tennessee, and nationwide. We carry auto insurance so that, in the event of an accident, we will be covered for any damages incurred. But that doesn’t mean that insurance companies are happy to write a big check every time one of their policyholders files a claim. Quite the opposite, in fact. Insurance companies are notorious for denying initial claims and low-balling claimants, especially those who come to the table without legal representation.
Car accident injury victims are usually in an extremely vulnerable state; missing work while medical bills pile up, they are often eager to take the insurance company’s first offer so that they can pay their bills and move on with their lives. Unfortunately, this first offer may be thousands less than the injury victim actually deserves. A Chattanooga car accident attorney understands how the big insurance companies think and will negotiate for the maximum settlement possible.
Sometimes the insurance company’s actions are more than just unfair, however. If your insurance company violated the terms of your contract, you may be able to sue for damages. To give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome in a lawsuit against your own car insurance company, it is critical to gather as much information and evidence as possible.
It is your responsibility to notify the insurance company that you plan to bring a lawsuit against them. Once this has been done, the next steps are to:
- Obtain a detailed insurance policy from the insurer;
- Send a letter to the insurance company requesting a written explanation as to why your claim was denied;
- Send a payment demand letter to the insurance company, giving them a reasonable timeframe within which to respond to the demand; and
- File a civil lawsuit against the insurer if they fail to properly respond to the demand for payment.
Your attorney can help you to sue your insurance company, as well as negotiate for the maximum settlement, and/or fight tirelessly to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve in court.
The Settlement Process
If you have been injured due to the negligent, reckless, or careless actions of another, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages suffered. In many cases, your attorney can help you obtain a pre-trial settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The settlement process typically involves the following steps:
- The accident victim obtains medical treatment for any injuries suffered;
- The victim receives a letter from the at-fault party’s insurance company, stating that they are investigating the claim, and requesting your statement and medical records. Do not comply with this request before speaking with your lawyer;
- The victim or the victim’s loved one hires a car wreck lawyer;
- The attorney reviews the victim’s case, determines fault, gathers important evidence and documents to substantiate the victim’s claim, calculates damages, and negotiates with the insurance company for the maximum settlement.
This process requires your strict compliance with the insurance company’s rules, such as notifying them of an accident and responding to requests in a timely manner. If you fail to adhere to any part of this process, the insurance company will likely deny your claim. Shouldn’t you be able to hold the insurance company accountable in the same way if they don’t follow the rules? A Chattanooga personal injury lawyer with specific experience handling motor vehicle accident claims and lawsuits can help you determine how to proceed.
Suing The At-Fault Driver After a Car Accident
Auto insurance is designed to cover damages in an auto accident, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely offer you a settlement in exchange for you not suing their policyholder. But if you cannot reach a reasonable settlement in a car accident case, you will sue the at-fault driver, whose insurance company’s lawyer will defend their insured.
By settling, the insurance company avoids the cost and time of defending their insured at trial. Because settling is typically in the best interest of all involved parties, the need to sue the at-fault driver directly is rare.
If the other driver isn’t insured, you can sue them directly—in theory—but keep in mind that someone who is driving without auto insurance isn’t likely to have the money needed to resolve a lawsuit. In cases of uninsured or underinsured drivers, you may have to file a claim under your own auto insurance policy.
Contact Dennis and King Today
If you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle accident, the skilled legal team at Dennis and King can help. We will review your case to determine the best legal strategy and ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward. If necessary, we will assist you to sue the insurance company. Our experienced, knowledgeable injury lawyers have successfully represented countless clients in auto accident cases, including those involving lawsuits against the insurance company. If your insurer has violated the terms of your policy in any way, we can help. Call Dennis and King today at (423) 892-5533 for a free and confidential strategy session regarding your case.