Last month we took a look at five things everyone should know about dealing with insurance companies following a car accident or other personal injury. This may or may not surprise you, but it turns out there are still more important things you should know before attempting to settle your claim with an insurance company or take them to court. Let’s take a look:
When Insurance Companies “Lowball” You, They’re Breaking the Law
Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith, and if they employ certain bad faith negotiation tactics, such as unreasonably delaying a settlement or ignoring your attempts to contact them, then they may be liable for a claim of bad faith. Kentucky courts have found that insurers who make an unreasonably low initial offer to settle your claim may be in violation of the law.
Your Recovery Will Be Reduced by the Amount to Which You Were Deemed at Fault
Kentucky tort law employs a “comparative fault” theory of liability. This means that, if a court could find that you were partially to blame for an accident, then you will be responsible for the percentage of your damages for which you’ve been deemed at fault. During claim negotiations, an insurer could try to convince you that you were responsible to a greater degree than may be accurate, in order to reduce their own responsibility. Having an attorney investigate your claim and make a determination of fault could ensure that you don’t settle your insurance claim under the misguided belief that you bore a greater responsibility for your damages than you really did.
If your Insurance company refuses to settle when their liability is basically clear, they’re acting contrary to the law
Kentucky insurers are obligated to attempt to reach a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims when liability is reasonably clear. If an insurer continues to try to litigate claims after this stage, then they are violating the law by acting in bad faith.
You May Need to File a First Party Claim or a Third Party Claim For Your Injuries
When you’re at fault for an accident, you would normally file a first party claim with your own insurer for your injuries, depending on your insurance policy. When another person or business is at fault for your injuries, say after you slip and fall in a store, you would file a third party claim with the store’s insurer. The determination of fault is a legal decision that you may not be qualified to make on your own, and taking the word of the insurance company may not be the best choice either.
Obtaining all Your Medical Bills is an Expensive, Time Consuming Process
You may assume it’s safe to allow your insurance company to obtain medical bills on your behalf, and to trust their statement as to what the records say and what the sum of your bills is. However, this gives up a great deal of control to the insurers. Obtaining your own bills might involve contacting numerous doctors’ offices, hospitals, and ambulance companies, as well as paying fees to each company for the cost of duplicating the records. Getting help from a Kentucky personal injury attorney can eliminate this hassle and up-front expense.
We could go on with more things you need to know, but all you really need to know is, Don’t try to negotiate your claims alone; contact the knowledgeable and compassionate Lexington attorneys at Todd W. Burris, PSC, for a no-cost consultation to make sure your rights are protected. Our attorneys can help you obtain your best possible recovery for claims against insurers in Frankfort, Shelbyville, Louisville, Lawrenceburg, and throughout Fayette County.