Liability Auto Insurance is Refusing to Pay Claim
Contact the Law Office of Doug Goyen at (972) 599 4100 to discuss your insurance issues regarding your personal injury claim. Our injury lawyer can determine how we can help in your situation.
Liability Insurance Issues:
Often, people who have been involved in an accident have problems getting their liability insurance to do what they are supposed to do in the automobile accident. The following are common problems people have with their automobile liability insurance adjuster or adjusters:
1) I have a judgment against me from an automobile accident. What can I do? (If you had insurance - or - if you didn't have insurance):
-If you had insurance, but your insurance company didn't defend you at all, you may actually be able to sue the insurance company to cover the cost of the judgment, AND get additional damages for what they did to you (in causing a judgment to be obtained against you).
-If you didn't have liability insurance that would cover you, then you can do one of two things. 1) You can hire someone to try and negotiate a payment arrangement that will allow you to get your license back. 2) You can file bankruptcy. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate a settlement or payment plan can often get your license back faster, and cheaper than bankruptcy.
2) I had insurance, but my insurance company messed up and caused a large judgment against me, what can I do?
-If you had insurance, but your insurance company handled your claim negligently, and caused a judgment to be taken against you, you have a claim against your liability insurance company. You need to talk to a lawyer with experience handling these types of cases. You may be entitled to damages for the way your insurance company handled your case.
3) I admitted fault, told the insurance company to take care of the accident, but now I'm being sued. What went wrong? What can I do to protect my interests?
-Here is what likely happened. Your insurance company took a hard line against the person who you had the accident with. Often, the problem starts with the car of the other person. The insurance company low-balls the other driver on the damage to their car. This drives the other driver to a lawyer. If the other driver has gone to the doctor at all, or is feeling any injury, the lawyer tells the other driver that they better get it checked out to verify what injury, if any, they may have. If a real injury exists, your insurance company just drew an injury claim against you because they were playing hard-ball on the property damage. The insurance company then plays hard-ball on the injury claim. This forces the lawyer for the injured person to file a lawsuit. You ask, "Why against me?" "The dispute is between the other driver and my insurance company". "Why has he sued me?" Its because the law in Texas forbids an injured person from suing another person's liability insurance company directly. Lawyers are forced to sue the other driver, and then the insurance company is forced to defend their driver by hiring a lawyer and "indemnifying" in their driver (meaning pay for whatever their insured driver ends up owing in the lawsuit) up to the policy limits.
This is a gamble on the part of your insurance company. They are gambling that the judgment will not be above your policy limits. The good part for the insurance company is that the gamble they are taking is not with their own money, but with yours. You see, if you have a $30,000.00 liability policy, but the lawyer on the other side gets a jury to award $250,000.00, your liability insurance only has to pay the $30,000.00 under your liability policy. YOU have to pay the other $220,000.00.
The lawyers that the insurance company hire are typically what they call "in-house" lawyers. Meaning they are on the insurance company's staff, on payroll. So they will tell you that they are "your" lawyers, but they are drawing a paycheck and answering to a boss at the insurance company. Who do you think they really are working for? You? Or the insurance company that is paying their paycheck, giving them health insurance, giving them retirement benefits? It is obvious that you need your own lawyer to protect YOUR interests. Your interest is to ensure that the insurance company does not put YOU at risk. If they do put you at risk, and put your personal assets in jeopardy, or you feel like that might happen, you need your own legal protection. We can help protect you for a small retainer, and if your insurance company slips up and puts you in legal jeopardy, we may even be able to force them to pay your damages and any additional damage for what injury they have caused you by not protecting your interests.
4) I thought the insurance company had taken care of the accident, but now I've been sued. What do I need to do?
- Contact us to protect your rights under your policy. Insurance companies look for 1) Coverage, 2) Liability, 3) Damages. If you noticed, coverage is the first thing they evaluate. What does that mean? Looking for coverage means that they are looking for ANY way that they can get out of coverage (payments, inconsistencies on your applications, exclusions, endorsements, situations that are not covered such as intentional acts or on the job at the time of the accident, etc. They look for anything and everything they possibly can to say "there is no coverage for your accident". They can come back at any time during the claim and deny coverage. You may think they are covering the accident, but if they discover information later, during the investigation of the case, they can always go back and deny coverage. You likely need your own lawyer to review the facts with you, and verify that the insurance company or their lawyer does not use leading questions to attempt to lead you into saying something that causes there to be no coverage. You need a lawyer to help you protect your rights under your insurance policy.
5) My automobile liability insurance is saying they wont cover my accident because they say I didn't report the accident to them. What can I do?
- You know you called in the claim. You assumed they took care of the claim. Some time later, you have been sued, or had a judgment taken against you, and you call the insurance company to ask "what happened?" They claim you "didn't cooperate" with their investigation and decided to not cover the accident. You know this is a lie. You told them from the beginning what happened, and they ensured you they would take care of the other person's claim. Now you have a judgment against you, or a lawsuit pending against you, and your insurance company is not helping you. You need a lawyer to help you secure your rights against the insurance company.
6) The insurance company says I didn't report the lawsuit to them, but I did. Now they have denied coverage and aren't paying the claim. What can I do?
- You got your lawsuit paperwork. You contacted the insurance people and told them and asked them to take care of it. Now some months later, you learned you have a default against you. The insurance company is denying that you ever told them anything. But you KNOW that is not true. You spoke to them and told them, but they dropped the ball and did nothing. Now you have a judgment against your record and they are refusing to make it right. You have rights. Contact us to help you navigate your rights against your insurance company. We can help to ensure you are not taken advantage of by your insurance company.
7) The insurance company says I missed a payment, but I have proof that I didn't miss the payment - I have a returned check showing my payment went through. What can I do?
- Obtain copies of all payments, and of all paperwork you have saved from the insurance company. Obtain all letters from the insurance company, including the one where they canceled your policy some time AFTER your accident happened. We can possibly help you with your insurance coverage issue, and help you ensure your insurance company does not cheat you out of what you have paid for . . . coverage.
8) My liability insurance company is forcing me to go to depositions, and answer discovery. I think this is a waste of my time. Why do I need to do this? Is there anything I can do? I don't have time for this.
- You had an accident. You caused it. It wasn't like you meant to do it. It was an accident. You called your insurance company and assumed they would take care of it and that would be the end of it. Isn't that why you paid for insurance in the first place? So you wouldn't have to spend your time and money on an accident you caused. That's why you purchased the policy in the first place, right? Now, somehow the insurance company has messed the whole claim up and caused the other person to file a lawsuit against you. The insurance company is now forcing you to answer written "discovery" (written questions), and asking you to get copies of your license to them, and other documents. They are asking you to take off from work for depositions. They are telling you that you may have to take off several days from work for a trial some day in the future. What is happening? Why haven't they just settled this and gotten this case off my back? I have to work, and can't afford to take all this time off to take care of this claim that the insurance company should have paid for a year ago.
You can call a lawyer to represent your interests. The insurance company's lawyer likely is an "in-house" lawyer. He is on the payroll of the insurance company. He gets benefits, health and retirement, directly from the insurance company. He has pressure to do what they want, not what you want. You need to hire someone to protect your rights, and force the insurance company to quit causing headaches in your life, and quit drawing out this lawsuit and forcing you to miss more time from work and more time from your personal life. Hire your own lawyer to direct the insurance company to do what YOU want them to do, and to ensure your rights are protected.
9) My liability insurance company is pressuring me into denying I was at fault, but I know I was at fault. They just don't want to pay, and are now making my life miserable by making me defend this lawsuit unnecessarily. Is there anything I can do?
- Yes. This is called "witness tampering" and is a felony. We can help you report this abusive behavior to the proper authorities. We can also bring an action on your behalf against the insurance company for their abusive behavior, and force them to pay for any damage they have caused to you or your rights in trying to force you into perjury. You need to hire a lawyer to protect your rights and protect you from the insurance company's unscrupulous behavior.
The Law Office of Doug Goyen - (972) 599 4100 - our business is handling personal injury claims against insurance companies. Call to discuss your claim with our Dallas injury lawyer.
By Doug Goyen, firstname.lastname@example.org