Insurance: Legal Rights Of The Consumer In Personal Injury Cases
When you file a claim with your own insurance company as well as with another person’s insurance company, you have certain legal rights. Whether you are dealing with your own insurance company or someone else’s insurance company, neither one is likely to help you with your rights. It is only a personal injury attorney that will stand up for your interests.
In addition, the regulations for insurance companies are mostly made at the state level. Having an attorney that understands the specific laws that apply to your situation, and state statutes is very important to your success in getting the compensation that you are entitled to. However, there are rights that consumers have in most of the states that is also mandated by Federal Law. Any qualified personal injury attorney will know the compensatory damages statutes by Federal law as well.
The General Requirements of an Insurance Company
Your insurance company has an obligation to investigate the incident that you are filing a claim on as well as process your claim. They must also do this in good faith and show fairness to the policy holder.
The Specifics of your Rights
These will vary for each state, but you have the right to certain time limits for how long an insurance company has to respond to your letters and phone calls. Insurance companies are well known for their stall tactics. This is why there are time limits for correspondence. Without these laws, insurance companies would take such a long time that many people would simply quit trying to get money for their claim. There are deadlines for how long an insurance company has to deny or pay your claim.
As a policy holder, you must be told what deadlines exist for information the insurance company needs to process your claim. There is often a requirement for certain records and documents, and you must be informed of how much time you have to gather this information and submit it. They must also specify exactly what information they need. This is all a part of being fair. Insurance companies do not like to pay out any claims, and when they do, they try to pay as little as possible. They are in business to make as much profit as possible, but they are not allowed to deceive you to achieve their profit goals.
When to Seek Legal Help
If you are working to get compensation from your own insurance company and the claim is being processed, the best you can do is get advice from an attorney. They will not step in to fight for your rights until they have been violated. If after your claim has been denied or the insurance company is attempting to compensate you with an amount that is less than you need to fix your car or home, then this will be the time to contact an attorney.
Filing a Claim with another Person’s Insurance Company
In a situation where you have been injured by another driver or injured on someone else’s property, then the time to get an attorney is right away. Of course, this is secondary to your well being, so the first thing to do is seek medical attention. After this has been done, you need to call a lawyer. You may not have a case, but it is only a personal injury attorney who will be honest with you about this.
When you attempt to get money from another person or company for your injuries and other forms of compensation, they will turn the issue over to their insurance company. At this point, one of two things will happen. The insurance company will explain to you that you have no case and should drop the issue, or they will offer you money to compensate you for your expenses. Either way, the insurance company cannot be trusted to be honest about your case. If you have a case, they will not tell you that, and if they offer you money, it will assuredly be for a smaller amount than you are entitled to.
Perhaps you were in a car accident, and they have decided to reimburse you for damages to your car. The check looks to be a fair amount, but they neglect to reimburse you for the time you missed from work or deductibles and co-pays for your medical costs. There may be additional medical costs that you will have in the future that you are not aware of at the present time. A personal injury attorney will have the experience to know what your situation will involve with expenses, both now and in the future. In order to get the full compensation you are entitled to under the law, you will need to have an attorney. There is no substitute for this.
If you don’t believe you can afford an attorney, don’t panic. Most personal injury attorneys will offer a free initial consultation, and many of them will work on a contingency fee. If you don’t get paid, then they will not either.