Car accidents are still a serious issue in our region. According to data collected and released by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), nearly 50,000 people are injured in auto accidents in this state on an annual basis. Many of these victims are left with considerable damages, from medical bills to pain and suffering to lost wages.
Most injured auto accident victims have a path to recover compensation, either through their own insurance company or through the insurance provider of another motorist. Yet, unfortunately, the big insurance companies do not always play fair. Far too many legitimate claims are wrongly denied by State Farm and other insurers.
What can you do if your State Farm insurance claim was denied? The first thing you need to know that you still have legal options available. Do not give up on your claim. You should contact a top-rated Seattle car accident attorney who has extensive experience handling State Farm insurance claim denials. Your attorney will be able to review the specific circumstances of your case and determine what you need to do to get the full compensation that you deserve.
Understanding the Difference Between a First Party and Third Party Claim
Insurance claims can be divided into two broad categories: first party claims and third party claims. If you are a State Farm customer, and you are bringing a claim against your own auto insurance policy, then that means that you are bringing a first party claim. On the other hand, if you are bringing a claim against the auto insurance policy of another motorist who happens to be insured by State Farm, then that means that you are bringing a third party claim.
Ultimately, the type of claim that you will be required to pursue will depend entirely on the underlying facts of your case. There are several complicated factors that will need to be considered. Though, regardless of whether or not you are actually a customer of the company, State Farm owes you a duty to be reasonable. They must handle your insurance claim in a fair manner.
State Farm Has a Legal Obligation to Act in Good Faith
Under Washington state law, State Farm has a legal obligation to handle all insurance claims (first party and third party) using good faith settlement practices. They cannot deny clearly valid claims and they cannot use the possibility of an unfair denial as a settlement tactic. State regulations put many specific duties on the insurance company. If your car accident claim has handled in an unfair manner, for any reason, then you may have been the victim of bad faith by State Farm.
Victims of bad faith insurance settlement practices are entitled to compensation for the full value of their damages. This could include compensation for the value of their original claim, as well as additional financial relief. Signs that State Farm representatives may be handling your claim in bad faith include:
- The Failure to investigate your claim;
- Unreasonable delays;
- Unreasonable requests or demands for documentation;
- Lack of useful communication;
- Misrepresentation or omission of material facts;
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policy;
- Unreasonably underpaying the claim; and
- Unreasonable denials of coverage.
How Our Top-Rated Auto Accident Lawyers Can Help
Reviewing Your Denial Letter
If State Farm has denied your insurance claim, they should have sent you an official written denial letter that expressly explains their reasoning. The insurance company has a duty to explain their position. You should get this State Farm denial letter into the hands of a qualified lawyer as soon as you can possibly do so. Your lawyer will be able to review the facts and help you determine the best way to take further action.
Filing a Demand Letter
If State Farm has denied your car accident claim, your attorney can draft a demand letter on your behalf. In your demand letter, your attorney will clearly lay out the facts of your case and make a specific request for compensation. Further, if your Seattle car accident lawyers suspect that State Farm is using bad faith settlement practices, your attorney can raise the fact that you are willing and able to bring a bad faith claim if the issue is not immediately resolved.
The Formal Appeals Process
Most insurance companies offer an internal appeals process. If your State Farm insurance claim has been denied, our top-rated Washington car accident attorneys can help you exercise your rights through this type of appeals process. We will make sure that your administrative appeal is properly filed and presented in the most compelling possible manner. This will help to promote an efficient resolution to your claim.
Many people incorrectly believe that they are out of options after receiving a claim denial. Other things that their only remaining option is to file a lawsuit. On the contrary, it is still possible to get State Farm to the negotiating table. Our Washington car accident lawyers are highly skilled negotiators. We are prepared to make your case aggressively, fighting for the full settlement offer you deserve.
Bringing a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit
The overwhelming majority of car accident injury claims are settled without ever going to a trial. In fact, according to data provided by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), more than 95 percent of all tort claims are resolved in pre-trial negotiations or other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). That being said, there are cases in which victims may need to bring litigation against State Farm. You may even need to bring a bad faith insurance claim on top of your personal injury lawsuit. We can take your claim as far as it needs to go, including pursuing a lawsuit against State Farm.
What to Do when Your State Farm Insurance Claim is Denied
We can help. At the Khan Law Firm, PLLC, our Seattle denied insurance claim attorneys have the skills and experience needed to hold your insurance company accountable. If your State Farm insurance claim has been denied, please do not hesitate to contact our personal injury attorneys in Seattle today to set up a free review of your case.