If you filed an insurance claim and did not get the money you deserve, you might not know what to do next. Fortunately, these are the kinds of issues our South Carolina car accident lawyers deal with all the time.
Getting your damages paid at their full value through an insurance claim is not always possible or likely. If an insurance company denies your injury claim, you could be entitled to a few options. If you are trying to get damages from your own insurance company, you could be entitled to sue them for breach of contract or insurance bad faith. More likely, you’ll be trying to get money from the at-fault driver’s insurance, in which case you can sue the driver directly.
For help with a car accident claim, call the South Carolina car accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers for a free case review. Our phone number is (803) 451-4000.
When You Can Sue for a Car Insurance Denial in South Carolina
Generally speaking, you do not have to use insurance after a car crash in South Carolina, and you usually have the right to sue. South Carolina is not a no-fault state and instead uses an at-fault or “tort” system for car insurance claims. In a no-fault state, every driver relies on their own insurance to pay their damages after an injury in a car accident, but in at-fault states, the at-fault driver’s insurance pays for the victim’s damages. While no-fault states might limit drivers regarding when they can sue, at-fault states like South Carolina do not do this.
This means that if your insurance claim is denied, you can turn to a lawsuit against the at-fault driver right away. However, this could be a bit more complex if you are trying to get money from your own insurance company.
Your own insurance might be the one to pay damages if you have some first-party benefits such as MedPay or uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM). These are not required insurance policies, so you would only have them if you elected to pay extra in premiums for these additional policies and points of coverage. If you file one of these claims with your own insurance and they deny your claim, that might entitle you to a lawsuit – but there are some important elements to meet. Additionally, before you do that, you might be able to simply appeal the claim and get damages paid without setting foot in court.
However, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers can often help you skip lawsuits like this by going straight to the source and suing the at-fault driver. We discuss this in more detail below.
Appealing and Suing for Denied Car Insurance Claims in South Carolina
As discussed above, you would only be filing an insurance claim with your own car insurance in limited situations. Because South Carolina is an at-fault insurance state, you would typically be able to file an insurance claim and a lawsuit against the at-fault driver at the same time. If you are using your own insurance to cover medical bills or you have to use your UM/UIM insurance because the other driver did not have insurance, then you might be in need of the payments from your insurance company. If they refuse to pay, these are typically your three routes to appealing and suing:
Filing an Appeal
Insurance companies have systems for appeals. These systems allow claimants to file their appeals with the insurance company and potentially get the denial overturned.
Most insurance denials come down to a good-faith misunderstanding or disagreement. For instance, the insurance company might not have enough information to prove that the claim existed or to understand what damages you need paid. Often, having your Columbia car accident lawyer provide them additional details and evidence can be enough to get the denial overturned and the claim paid.
Talk to our attorneys about sending demand letters and fighting to get the insurance denial overturned and paid without entering a courtroom.
Suing to Enforce Your Policy
Insurance policies are, at the end of the day, an agreement between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay them premiums, and they agree to pay out damages for covered injuries and events. If the insurance company has breached the terms of this agreement, our South Carolina car accident lawyers can take them to court to have the claim paid.
Suing for Insurance Bad Faith
If your insurance company never intended to pay the claim in the first place, we can take them to court for insurance bad faith. Bad faith cases involve a breach of the insurance company’s duty of good faith, which goes beyond a mere breach of contract.
For this kind of claim to be successful, you need to prove that they acted in bad faith rather than relying on the terms of the insurance policy to deny a claim that simply might not fit your coverage. Many bad-faith insurance claims deal with the following issues:
- Policies canceled after the claim is filed
- Intentionally lost or destroyed paperwork
- Unreasonable delays in communication
- Denials for reasons that do not apply to the facts
- Claims of unpaid premiums that were indeed paid
- Other flagrant errors or lies
Talk to our Sumter car accident lawyers right away if you believe you’ve been subjected to bad faith by your car insurance provider.
Suing the Other Driver’s Insurance for a Car Accident in South Carolina
If the other driver’s insurance is the one that denied your claim, that is a common part of getting damages for a car accident. Our Columbia personal injury lawyers often deal with insurance companies that seek to deny claims from injured drivers and drive down the costs with low-dollar settlements.
Our lawyers can take your case to court by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver while we continue to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If a settlement can be reached before the case goes to trial, that can get your damages paid more quickly. However, if the insurance company refuses to admit their driver was at fault, we can fight the case at trial to get you the damages you need.
Call Our South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys Today
For a free review of your potential car accident case, call our Lexington car accident lawyers at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers right away. Our number is (803) 451-4000.