When the Insurance Company Fails You, Take These 4 Steps to Sue
by Stephanie Andre | Last Updated: August 10, 2020
After a car accident, you’re likely to feel shaken up and stressed, and you may be dealing with serious injuries requiring medical treatment. It can be a difficult time in which you’re not sure what steps to take.
Hopefully, the damage will be minimal and you’ll be able to manage everything through your insurance company. If your injury is serious, however, or if your insurance company rejects your claim, you may find yourself stuck with expenses you can’t handle. What do you do then?
This is when a car accident attorney can help.
1. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have any questions at all after a car accident, a car accident attorney can help. Typically you and the other driver(s) involved work with your auto insurance companies to recover damages, but sometimes the insurance companies leave you hanging with payments that don’t cover your bills or disagreements over who was at fault. A rejected claim or an unacceptable settlement amount can leave you facing high costs and impending debt.
Start with a free consultation with your auto accident lawyer. He or she can review the facts of your case, advise you on your state’s laws, and guide you to your next step.
2. Gather Evidence
Though your lawyer can help you in this step, you may want to do some of the legwork yourself. Gather all the information you can about your accident. This may include photos from the scene, police reports, medical records, and auto repair bills. You should also put together some of your past pay stubs to help show how much money you lost when missing work.
Your attorney will likely help you gather evidence about the location of the accident and seek any background information available on the other driver(s) involved. He or she may also interview witnesses and investigate the other party’s driving or mobile phone records.
3. Decide Whether to Sue or Settle
At this point, you and your lawyer can determine where you stand. The best option is usually to present your evidence to the insurance company and try to negotiate an appropriate settlement. This usually takes less time than going to court.
If, after all your efforts, you aren’t happy with what your insurance company offers, you have the option to go to court. In that case, your auto accident attorney can help you determine who you should sue.
Was the other driver completely or mostly at fault? Was he or she working for a company at the time of the accident—a company that may share in the liability? Were there other parties involved, such as other drivers or construction companies? These are all questions you and your attorney will answer together to determine your next step.
4. File Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Once you decide to sue, your car accident lawyer will file the complaint. Common steps after that include:
- managing any pre-trial motions (filed by the other side to challenge your position)
- setting the court date
- negotiating under the guidance of a mediator
- if negotiation fails, moving to discovery, where both sides gather evidence and share it with the other side
All of these steps can take time, so at any point, if you can settle for a fair amount, that’s often the best option. If not, your attorney can help guide you through the trial to win the compensation you deserve.