Because they are disputing who was at fault in the accident, whether your injuries were actually caused by the accident, or whether the requested damages are excessive.
One of the biggest frustrations that people involved in Illinois vehicle accidents face is when an auto insurance company delays or denies payment of expenses related to a collision caused by their insured. There are several reasons why an insurance company would elect to pay or deny an accident claim. A primary reason why insurers deny payment is because they believe their insured may not have caused the accident.
Illinois is a “comparative fault” state, which means the injured party—in this case, you—must have been no more than 50 percent responsible for the accident in order to bring a successful claim against another party or their insurer (735 ILCS 5/2-1116). If your actions contributed more than 50 percent to the cause of the accident, the doctrine of contributory negligence bars your recovery.
Another reason for denial of an auto claim is that the insurance company may not believe your injuries are causally related to the accident, or might argue that you are seeking excessive damages. For example, if the company believes that your injury or ailment predated the accident, it will likely deny your claim. Similarly, if it deems your medical costs to be unreasonable or unnecessary, payment for such expenses may be denied.
An insurance company also may deny your claim if you do not follow your policy’s stated procedures for reporting claims, or if you make or have made false or misleading statements regarding your policy. Insurers regularly deny claims if they were not promptly notified of the accident or if you made a false statement—even inadvertently—at the time you obtained the policy, if the statement is material to the insurer’s assumed risk.
Finally, an insurance company may deny a claim because the insured party does not have enough coverage to pay for the damages. Illinois's minimum coverage requirements may not be enough to fully cover the damages incurred in an auto accident.
A Qualified Illinois Accident Lawyer can Help You get the Compensation You Deserve
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, our vast experience handling Illinois car accident cases has provided us with unique insight into how auto insurance companies operate. Insurers typically try to find ways to reject claims, including using an injured party's past medical history as a basis to resist settling the case. This is why it is important to discuss with your attorney how much and what kind of information you need to turn over to the insurance company. It is especially important to never sign a medical authorization form, which releases all of your medical history to the insurance company, without first speaking to your lawyer.
Denial of auto-related insurance claims is a relatively common occurrence and is not always an indication of the true merits of a case. A car accident lawyer can assist in evaluating the case and determine why a claim may have been denied. In circumstances where a legitimate claim has been denied, a lawsuit may be the best course of action.
If the denial is found to be unreasonable, an insurance company can be held liable for failure to cover a claim (215 ILCS 5/155). In some instances where an insurance company has denied a claim or refused to settle in bad faith, punitive damages may even be a possibility (O'Neill v. Gallant Insurance Co., 329 Ill. App. 3d 1166 (Ill. App. Ct. 5th Dist. 2002)).
Do You Need Help With a Denied Chicago Car Accident Claim?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers regularly represents people who have been seriously injured in auto accidents, yet have had their claims denied by the insurance carrier for the responsible party. Do not accept an insurance company’s evaluation of the merits of your case. Our attorneys will investigate and litigate your case for you on a contingency fee basis where there is only a legal fee charged if we obtain financial recovery for you. Call us today to get the process started: 888-424-5757.