One of the more challenging circumstances when filing a claim after an auto accident is when the insurance company tries to place blame on the wrong person. In an effort to avoid paying a settlement—or at least to diminish payment—insurance adjusters may say the injured person caused the accident by acting recklessly. It’s important to understand one’s rights during insurance claim disputes.
How Negligence Affects Ability to Recover Compensation
It’s not uncommon for “he said, she said” conflicts to interfere with an insurance claim. Both sides will likely try to blame the other. When there is an insurance dispute such as this, it’s usually best to seek advice from an attorney, especially if there was significant property damage and injuries are severe.
One of the things to keep in mind is that if an insurance company can prove a driver was reckless, it could prevent recovery of damages. In Pennsylvania, if the claimant’s fault reaches 51 percent in an accident, he or she cannot recover compensation. But even if degree of fault is less than 51 percent, the amount recoverable is diminished.
Defending Oneself against Allegations of Reckless Driving
Since reckless driving is especially dangerous, if it can be proven, it would likely put most (if not all) the blame on that person. So defending oneself with legal counsel is advisable.
If the insurance company claims the driver was reckless, it must substantiate those allegations. Reckless driving is different than careless driving because it means the person willfully operated a vehicle in such a manner in which it was reasonable to expect someone could be injured or killed.
One common example of reckless driving is driving while impaired. But if there is no record of driver citation for intoxication, the insurance company would have difficulty proving this was the cause of the accident.
Another common example is speeding. Generally it’s considered reckless when someone drives 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit. Again, the insurance company would likely rely on citation to establish that the individual was speeding.
Unless there is evidence to prove a driver was reckless, the insurance company is going to have a problem substantiating their accusations. Whether the aforementioned examples or other types of dangerous actions behind the wheel, the insurance company must have ample proof.
Contacting an Attorney When There is an Insurance Claim Dispute
Anytime there is an insurance dispute—such as determining fault for an accident—it’s in the person’s best interest to talk with an attorney. Accusations of reckless driving are serious. In order to refute them, it’s helpful to have strong legal representation.
Those seriously injured and confident the other driver was at fault should protect their rights and their claims by securing legal counsel as soon as possible. At Cordisco & Saile LLC we understand the many challenges that can arise in these types of cases. We know how to deal with the insurance company and can help assemble the evidence necessary to settle an insurance claim dispute.