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  • Writer's pictureRachel Scott

Denied Auto Accident Claim in Seattle: What to Do Next and How to Handle It?

Auto safety features have improved substantially in recent decades, from backup cameras that allow drivers to look for pedestrians to automatic braking systems that slow the vehicle if there is a hazard detected up ahead. However, these advancements have not made car collisions obsolete. Auto accidents still happen, and when they do, the aftermath is often chaotic and disorienting—especially if you suffer an injury as a result of the crash. After you have sought medical attention for your injuries, it can be stressful to face an unexpected and lengthy physical recovery (not to mention the costly medical bills, lost wages, and other unanticipated expenses stemming from the accident). Fortunately, Washington allows injured parties to file claims to recover compensation that helps cover the costs associated with the accident, such as medical bills, physical therapy costs, and other types of damages. While some auto accident claims are processed without much hassle, other injured parties may receive notice that their auto accident claim has been denied. This experience can be frustrating, especially if you are relying on the auto accident claim settlement to help you get your finances back on track.


It’s essential to recognize that you do not have to go through this challenging process on your own. Enlisting the guidance of a highly qualified Seattle auto accident claim attorney is the best way to maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why insurance companies deny claims and the various options you have to respond to an auto accident claim denial in Washington state.


Auto Accident Claim Basics in Washington State


All drivers in Washington must carry basic auto insurance coverage. According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, your motor vehicle insurance policy “must have limits of at least: $25,000 of bodily injury of one person in any one accident; $50,000 of bodily injury or death of any two people in any one accident; and $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.” Failing to purchase the required insurance can lead to a mandatory fine or other penalties.


If you are injured in an auto collision, you will need to report the incident to your insurance company. The auto insurance company should provide details about how you can file a claim for the coverage you need to support the costs of your recovery. Although Washington law requires insurance companies to act in good faith when resolving auto insurance claims (RCW 48.30.015), insurance companies prioritize their bottom lines like any other business. To that end, insurance adjusters often use specific tactics to delay, diminish, or deny your claim. In fact, having your car accident insurance claim denied is not uncommon, but a denial does not mean you have no options to obtain the compensation you know you are entitled to recover.


Why Was My Auto Accident Claim Denied?


As soon as you are notified that your auto accident claim was denied, it’s essential to understand why the insurance company made this decision. Of course, there are several legitimate reasons why an insurance company may deny your claim. For instance, if your policy had lapsed or the policy did not cover the vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident, the insurance company may deny your claim on these grounds. However, there are other scenarios in which the auto insurance company may have acted in bad faith. Unfortunately, acts of bad faith are not uncommon; the insurance company may fail to investigate the circumstances of the accident thoroughly or deliberately evade your attempts to communicate with them to delay the processing of your claim. If these tactics sound familiar to you, it’s time to contact a skilled and trusted Seattle auto accident claims lawyer to discuss your options for pushing back against the denial of your claim.


Exploring Your Options For Appealing a Denied Claim


A denied auto accident claim is not a dead end. Instead, you and your personal injury attorney can start exploring your options for appealing the decision and pursuing the compensation you know you are owed. For instance, your attorney can assess the details of your claim to determine whether the insurance company made an unfair denial. If so, you have the right to appeal the denial by sending a demand letter that outlines the clear and convincing reasons why you believe the claim was unjustly denied and should be reopened. Demand letters usually include a warning to the insurance company that you are ready to take legal action if they fail to respond to your request.


Many auto insurance companies want to avoid litigation as much as possible, so they are usually open to negotiating a more equitable auto accident claim settlement to put an end to the matter before it escalates further. While hiring an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company is not required, doing so is highly recommended. Not only will your knowledgeable auto accident claims lawyer know how to engage in these negotiations and advocate vocally on your behalf, but they will also provide you with the much-needed relief and reassurance that you are in capable hands. In many cases, negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company will result in a fair and favorable settlement offer that allows you to finally start putting your life back together after the accident.


However, litigation may become necessary to ensure that you recover the compensation you need to support the varied and substantial costs of your recovery. Every car accident is different, and you deserve to work with an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer who will develop a customized legal strategy that best supports your best interests. No matter what the shape of your auto accident claim may be, you can trust that the knowledgeable and caring personal injury attorneys at Scott & Scott, PLLC, will support you every step of the way.


If you need help seeking compensation for an auto accident injury in the greater Seattle area, the dedicated and experienced legal team at Scott & Scott, PLLC, is ready to assist you. Please contact our Seattle office at (206) 622-2200 today to get started with a highly qualified personal injury attorney.


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