Your Rights in a Truck Accident Insurance Dispute
Many people fear getting into a car accident and protect themselves as best they can. They drive safely, stay off the roads during bad weather, and have car insurance. People probably don’t even consider the possibility of collisions with trucks or commercial vehicles, but like car accidents, they happen sometimes, no matter what you do.
If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re now trying to handle multiple consequences at once: seeking medical attention, filing medical insurance claims, paying medical bills, repairing or purchasing a new car, and filing auto insurance claims. There’s almost no end to the number of responsibilities you gain after being hit by a truck, and it can be hard to juggle them all without fulling understanding your rights.
Insurance disputes, in particular, can be problematic when you aren’t sure what you’re entitled to and what you can say. If you aren’t confident in where you stand with an insurance company or specific claim, you should call an experienced Chicago trucking accident lawyer.
Six Rights In An Insurance Dispute
Until you have an in-depth discussion about your situation with a lawyer, here are six rights to keep in mind when handling an insurance dispute:
The right to Good Faith and Fair Dealings
Under Illinois law, the insurance company must treat you fairly and uphold the policy. The insurer cannot lie or misrepresent the policy to you. They can’t delay the process on purpose, and they can’t ask for unnecessary forms or a burdensome amount of proof of loss or injury. These actions and many others could rise to the level of bad faith, and you might have a separate legal claim against the insurer because of them.
If you’re worried that the insurer isn’t telling you the truth or being fair, contact an attorney right away. An insurance company’s experience with the law and claims already has most average people at a slight disadvantage, but when the business takes unjust actions, you’re in an even more unfavorable position. By working with an attorney, you can understand your rights, put pressure on the insurance company to uphold their duty of good faith, and be prepared for filing a lawsuit, if necessary.
The right to negotiate a larger settlement
In some situations, an insurance company will make it seem as if their initial offer is all you can ever receive. This is because they’re a business – they want to settle each claim for the smallest amount possible in order to save money. However, insurance settlements are often negotiated, and you have the right to seek a higher sum.
Negotiating with an insurer can be intimidating and difficult. If you feel negotiations are the best way to recover what you need, contact an attorney with experience with insurance issues surrounding commercial vehicle accidents. A Chicago trucking accident lawyer will have a great deal of experience in negotiating beneficial settlements.
The right to a written denial
If an insurance company denies your claim, you have the right for the reasons to be explained in writing. This is a crucial step in the appeals process, and can give you information to support a claim of bad faith, if it’s occurred. Without specific information as to what your claim was missing and why the insurance company feels it has the right to deny the claim, you won’t know how to fight back.
The right to appeal
You can always appeal an insurance company’s denial of your claim. Insurers have internal processes for appeals, so your first step will be to contact the insurer and ask for any necessary forms and information regarding how to appeal. Your next step will be to closely review the written reason for the denial and determine the proof needed to reverse the decision. If you aren’t sure how to appeal or how to increase your chance of a settlement, it’s best to consult an attorney.
The right to seek arbitration or file a lawsuit
An insurance company cannot force a third-party claimant into arbitration. However, there are circumstances in which you might prefer arbitration rather than go to court. Whether this alternative dispute resolution method is the best course of action entirely depends on your unique situation. It can be faster and cheaper than a court case, but an arbitrator cannot answer questions of law. If there are legal questions surrounding your accident with a commercial vehicle and the insurance coverage, your rights may be best upheld in court.
Additionally, an insurer cannot take away your right to sue them based on bad faith or fraud, or take away your right to sue the other parties involved in the collision.
The right to an attorney
You always have the right to legal advice – always. At any time when you’re dealing with the ramifications of a collision and insurance claims, you can contact a lawyer. It’s OK if you’ve already begun the claim’s process or your claim has been denied, an experienced Chicago trucking accident lawyer can take up your case and begin to represent you at any time.