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What Can I Do if an Insurance Company Denies My Car Accident Claim?

Insurance companies make a car accident far more stressful, confusing, and overwhelming than necessary. While insurance provides a safety net for unforeseen circumstances, receiving a denial on your car accident claim can throw you into a spiral of uncertainty.

A denial isn’t the end of the road. You may not realize you have multiple avenues to contest the denial and get compensation. Arming yourself with the required knowledge and with the help of a Denver car accident lawyer to navigate the tricky terrain of insurance claim disputes can help you get the support and compensation you deserve.

Understanding the Basics of Car Accident Claims

Car accident claims are formal demands you make to an insurance company for compensation following a vehicle collision. This claim should cover the costs related to the accident, such as vehicle repairs and medical expenses. What your claim will cover typically depends on your insurance plan and the specifics of the accident.

What Can I Do if an Insurance Company Denies My Car Accident Claim?

Insurance companies act as intermediaries between the claimant (the person filing the claim) and the coverage (the funds available to cover accident-related costs).

Your insurance company assesses your claim to determine how much (if any) compensation you deserve based on your policy and the specifics of your accident. This process often involves an investigation of evidence, such as accident reports and medical bills, and a review of policy specifics.

Common Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Claims

There are several reasons an insurance company might deny your claim.

Common reasons include:

  • Lack of coverage: Your policy might not cover the damage or specific situation that resulted from the accident.
  • Late filing: If you file your claim after your policy’s specified deadline, the company may deny it.
  • Disputed liability: The insurance company might argue its policyholder wasn’t at fault, shifting the blame and financial responsibility to you or another party.
  • Policy exclusions: The company may deny your claim if the accident occurred under circumstances your policy excludes, such as while driving under the influence or using your personal vehicle for business.

Although an initial denial can be disheartening, it’s not always the end. By understanding the reasons behind the denial, you can often find effective ways to contest it and get the compensation you need.

Steps to Take After a Claim Denial

Upon receiving notification that the insurance company denied your car accident claim, how you react can improve your chances of achieving a successful appeal.

While it’s natural to feel disappointed or angry, remain calm and composed, as emotional reactions could cloud your judgment and impair your decisions.

Rushing into decisions or arguing with your insurer could harm your case. Take time to compose yourself and approach the situation with a clear mind. Even if it feels unfair, you should view the claim denial as an initial judgment that, in most cases, you can challenge.

Reviewing the Denial Letter and Understanding the Reasons for Denial

Before taking steps to contest the denial, you’ll need to take time to thoroughly understand the reasons behind it. Carefully review the denial letter the insurance company sent, which should provide detailed reasons for the claim rejection.

Knowing the reasons, be it a lack of coverage, late filing, disputed liability, or policy exclusions, will guide you on the appropriate next steps. Misunderstanding the reasons could lead to a fruitless contestation and prolong the stressful situation.

Documenting All Communication With the Insurance Company

Keeping a record of every conversation, email, and correspondence you’ve had with your insurance company is immensely useful when contesting a claim denial. This can serve as evidence if discrepancies arise or you need to prove the company misled you or didn’t give you complete information.

Record dates, times, names of people you spoke with, and details of conversations. It may seem tedious, but this could significantly improve your chances of a successful appeal.

Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

Before you start the official process of contesting a claim denial, review your insurance policy. You may feel overwhelmed by the jargon-laden document. While it may be tempting to overlook certain sections, a comprehensive understanding of your policy can be instrumental in contesting your claim denial.

Your policy details the type of coverage you have, its limit, and under what circumstances your insurance company will pay. Understanding what your policy includes and excludes will allow you to determine whether your claim denial aligns with the policy’s terms or if there are grounds to challenge the decision.

Identifying Possible Areas of Contention in Your Policy

Scrutinizing your policy can reveal potential areas of contention. These could be situations where the policy’s wording is ambiguous or unclear, instances where the insurance company has incorrectly interpreted the policy terms, or conditions where the company has failed to fulfill the obligations of the policy.

Once you’ve understood your policy and identified potential areas of contention, it’s time to compare the reasons for denial with the policy’s terms. You potentially have a strong foundation to contest the denial if it seems to contradict the terms of your policy or is based on an incorrect interpretation of these terms.

The review process might be complicated and time-consuming, but it’s vital to your dispute. At this point, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer to get the assistance you need with your car accident claim.

Filing an Appeal

An appeal is a formal request you make to the insurance company asking it to reconsider its decision to deny your claim. The appeal process can be complex and requires careful planning, attention to detail, and patience.

Filing an appeal involves drafting a detailed and persuasive letter to the insurance company. Your insurance company may have specific procedures for filing an appeal, so it’s wise to familiarize yourself with its guidelines before you proceed.

This letter should clearly state the reasons you disagree with the denial and support your arguments with evidence, such as documents related to the accident, photographs, and other relevant information. Ensure you back up all your points with clauses and terms from your insurance policy.

Be clear and concise in your letter. Aggression or overly impassioned pleas are less effective than fact-based evidence and sound reasoning. Once the letter is ready, send it through certified mail with a receipt request so you have proof the insurance company received your appeal.

Necessary Documents and Evidence for an Appeal

The success of your appeal can significantly depend on the strength of your evidence. Collect all relevant documents, including the accident report, photographs of the accident scene, medical reports, repair estimates for your vehicle, bills, and any other documentation that supports your claim.

If you had medical issues after the accident, such as a spinal cord injury or migraines, keep track of all the documentation relating to your treatment. Car accidents can cause post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety concerns. If you experienced any of these, save all the associated medical documentation.

Your appeal letter should effectively tie these documents to your argument. If the insurance company denied your claim due to disputed liability, for instance, you can present pictures of the accident scene, witness statements, or the police report as evidence the other party was at fault.

Possible Outcomes of an Appeal

Once the insurance company has received your appeal, it will review your letter, the accompanying evidence, and generally come to one of three possible conclusions:

  • The insurance company may accept your appeal and choose to pay your claim.
  • It may agree to pay partially, revisiting the scope of your coverage or the extent of your damages.
  • It may uphold its initial decision and deny your claim again.

Appealing a denial doesn’t guarantee the insurance company will reverse the decision, but presenting a strong, factually supported case can increase your chances of success. If the company denies your appeal, you still have other options, including seeking legal guidance and filing a complaint with your state’s insurance department.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Enlisting the help of a professional can improve your chances of success. This is especially true if your claim involves a significant sum of money, serious injuries, or complex legal issues.

Determining whether to hire a lawyer is a crucial decision that can significantly alter the outcome of your case.

You should seek legal advice if:

  • You believe your claim is valid, but the insurance company continues to refuse payment.
  • You’re dealing with a claim that’s complex or involves a substantial amount of money.
  • The appeal process is overwhelming, and you’re uncertain how to proceed.
  • The insurance company is engaging in bad faith practices, such as delaying your claim without reason or refusing to provide a detailed explanation of the denial.

Having the assistance of a lawyer can simplify the claim process easier and make it more successful. With a lawyer on your side, you can count on a greater chance of success.

How a Lawyer Can Assist in the Process

A lawyer can provide invaluable assistance by navigating the complex legal landscape, including interpreting insurance policy language, understanding state-specific insurance laws, and determining the best strategy for your case.

A lawyer can also advocate for you. This can involve gathering additional evidence, communicating with the insurance company, and persuading it to reconsider the denial.

If your appeal does not succeed, your lawyer can guide you as you prepare for further legal steps, such as filing a complaint with the state insurance department or pursuing a lawsuit.

Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Case

Not all lawyers are equal when it comes to handling insurance claim disputes. Choose an attorney with a proven track record in dealing with car accident claims. Look at their reputation and past successes before deciding. The right legal partner won’t just represent you; they’ll strive to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

As daunting as the process may seem, a denial of your car insurance claim is not the end of the road. Legal assistance can provide a valuable edge in understanding and effectively challenging the denial, aiming to secure the compensation you deserve.

Filing a Complaint With the State Insurance Department

If your appeal with the insurance company doesn’t end in your favor or you believe the insurance company isn’t treating you fairly, you can file a complaint with the state insurance department.

The process of filing a complaint varies from state to state, but generally, you’ll need to fill out a complaint form and submit it online or by mail. This form will require you to provide details such as your contact information, a description of your dispute, and any actions you’ve taken to resolve it. Be thorough and accurate in your complaint, as the state insurance department will review it.

State insurance departments can take administrative, civil, and criminal action against insurance companies that violate insurance laws or regulations. By filing a complaint, you ask the state to investigate your claim and determine if your insurance company acted improperly.

How Filing a Complaint With the State Department Can Assist in Your Claim Dispute

If the state insurance department rules in your favor, it can pressure the insurance company to resolve your dispute. Filing a complaint also starts a paper trail that can be beneficial if you file a lawsuit.

Insurance companies aim to avoid attracting negative attention or action from regulators, so even if the department doesn’t rule in your favor, filing a complaint can prompt the insurance company to review your claim more carefully.

While seeking regulatory intervention can be beneficial in your battle against a denied car accident claim, it’s no substitute for legal advice. Hiring a lawyer when dealing with insurance disputes is always a good idea.

Filing a Lawsuit

If the insurance company denies your claim after you’ve appealed and filed a complaint with the state insurance department, it may be time to file a lawsuit. While this should be a last resort, sometimes it may be the only way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

File a lawsuit when you’ve exhausted all other options and have compelling evidence demonstrating an unjust denial of your claim, when you and the insurance company dispute the amount of damages, or if you suffered serious injuries due to the accident.

Seek legal advice before proceeding.

Process of Filing a Lawsuit

The process starts with your lawyer drafting a complaint detailing your dispute with the insurance company and why you believe the denial was improper.

After you file the complaint with the court, the insurance company will receive a copy and have a chance to respond. If it chooses to contest your lawsuit, both sides will exchange information and evidence during a process known as discovery.

In some cases, the dispute may settle before the case goes to trial via negotiations between your lawyer and the insurance company’s legal team. The case may proceed to trial if you can’t reach a settlement.

Having a lawyer on your side during this process can boost your chances of success, as they know the legal process and can present a compelling case.

Possible Outcomes of a Lawsuit

There are three primary possible outcomes of a lawsuit: You may win, resulting in the court ordering the insurance company to pay your claim; the insurance company may win, meaning the denial of your claim stands; or the case may settle outside court for an amount both parties agree upon.

Sometimes filing a lawsuit is the best or only way to secure the compensation you deserve for your car accident. With a strong case and the right legal guidance, you stand a good chance of overturning your claim denial.

A lawsuit is a significant, expensive undertaking. Never embark upon one lightly. Talk to your attorney to explore all your options and decide the best course of action.

Get Assistance With Your Car Accident Claim

The complexities of dealing with a denied car accident claim can be overwhelming, but understanding your rights and knowing what to do can make a significant difference. Calmly review the denial letter, hire a lawyer, understand the reasons for the denial, file an appeal, complain to the state insurance department, or sue.

Seeking the advice of an attorney could improve your chances of successfully contesting a claim denial. A lawyer can make the entire process less stressful and handle every step meticulously to increase your chances of a favorable result. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Denver today if you’re dealing with a car accident claim.

Lauren Varner, Personal Injury Attorney

Lauren is a Personal Injury Attorney. She is Colorado native who became involved with the field of personal injury long before she became an attorney. Lauren’s professional philosophy centers around good old fashioned hard work, producing quality work product, and treating others professionally, with dignity and respect at all times.

Awards and as featured on

National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Included in TOP 40 Under 40 by The National TRIAL Lawyers in Centennial CO Varner Faddis Top Lawyers Denver Badge – 5280 Magazine American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorney Top 40 Under 40 5280 Denver Top Lawyers