There are many different types of car insurance settlement disputes. The insurance adjuster may dispute the validity of an element of the claim such as damages or the extent of fault for its insured if filing a third-party liability claim.
Disputes can also arise in settlement negotiations where the two parties try to come to a reasonable figure they can both agree to and avoid a trail. Additionally, minor disputes about requests for information can arise between insurance companies and claimants.
One option claimants have to settle a dispute is to negotiate with the insurance company. This usually begins by sending a demand letter to the insurer detailing the damages claimed in the accident and the settlement amount the claimant will accept.
Generally, these demand letters begin with settlement offers two to three times greater than what the claimant will actually accept. Along with the actual letter itemizing the damages, the claimant can include evidence of the damages and negligence in the accident. After sending this letter, the claimant and insurer can also engage in negotiations to come to a reasonable agreement.
If the negotiations don’t go well, the insurer doesn’t respond to the original demand letter, or the damages are significant, the claimant can hire an attorney to represent their interests. An attorney will also attempt to negotiate with the insurer. If the attorney doesn’t have success with the insurer, he or she can help the claimant file a lawsuit to compel the insurer to pay out reasonable damages for the accident.
Victims can prove either damages or a party’s negligence with:
- witness statements;
- accident reports;
- photos from the scene;
- medical records;
- repair estimates; and
- employer letters.
What challenges are there to resolving a car accident settlement dispute?
There’s a two-year statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits that plaintiffs must meet to avoid being barred from recovery. Sometimes insurance companies will try to delay a claim with frivolous requests for information until the time limit expires.
Both in the settlement negotiations with the insurer and in court, the concept of comparative negligence governs the amount of compensation a party receives. Generally, a party will receive compensation according to his or her degree of fault in the accident.
For example, if a plaintiff is five percent at fault and has $50,000 in damages, he or she would receive $47,500 in compensation. There’s also a rule in Pennsylvania that bars plaintiffs who are greater than 50 percent at fault in the accident from recovering any damages.
If you have a dispute with your insurer, it might be best to hire an attorney. By speaking with an attorney early, you may put yourself in a good position to protect your rights in a car accident settlement dispute. Cordisco & Saile LLC is prepared to handle your car insurance claim dispute. Contact our office at 215-642-2335 to schedule a consultation, or contact us online to set up your appointment.