Can I Sue a Car Insurance Company in Missouri?
“Can I sue a car insurance company?” Attorneys from Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien in Joplin, MO, can answer this question and more. Call today for a consultation.
We are personal injury experts who have achieved results for our clients in Joplin for over 40 years.
Is it Possible to Sue an Auto Insurance Company Under Missouri Law?
Car insurance is essential to protect drivers and third parties in case of an auto accident or vehicle theft. But sometimes, some insurance companies are unwilling to pay for the damages and injuries sustained in such incidents. They either deny the insurance claim outrightly or offer a meager sum which could be frustrating for those involved.
If you’re in such a situation, you might be wondering, “What should I do if my stolen car insurance claim is denied?” The answer to that question is you can take legal action against such an insurance company by filing a lawsuit against them.
While taking legal action against unscrupulous insurance companies may be the right thing, it is certainly not easy. Court proceedings in Missouri are complex and involve a lot of technicalities. As such, you might need the help of an auto insurance lawyer to advise you and navigate the court processes on your behalf.
Read on to learn more about car insurance claims and Missouri Auto insurance laws and how experienced insurance claim attorneys can help your claim succeed.
How Missouri Auto Insurance Laws Work
The Missouri Uninsured Motorist Statute makes it compulsory for all drivers to have motor vehicle liability insurance. Drivers are also mandated to carry proof of their auto insurance while they drive.
This law has helped to create a system where most drivers are reasonably confident that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will cover them if they ever get into a car accident due to another driver’s fault.
However, you’ll need to show the insurance company that the accident and damage/loss were caused by someone else to be entitled to insurance payouts. Missouri uses the comparative fault system to determine the amount the insurance company has to pay when an accident occurs.
The comparative fault system affects the amount of money you get as damages if it is shown that you contributed to the incident that caused your loss. This means that when you file your auto insurance claim, the insurance company will investigate the accident and assess the percentage of fault that can be attributed to the parties involved. The amount they offer as compensation is based on their final assessment of fault. For instance, if they determine that you’re fifty percent at fault, you’ll likely get only half of the amount required to cover your losses.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s assessment and the amount they’re offering, you can contact your attorney for help on the next steps to take.
When You Can Sue a Car Insurance Company
You can sue a liable auto insurance company if they fail to pay compensation or if you disagree with the amount they’re offering. Some specific scenarios where you may have a valid case against an insurance company include the following:
- Denial of your insurance claim in bad faith or without valid reasons
- Inadequate and delayed investigation into the accident
- Incorrect assessment of fault
- Paying less than the initially agreed amount
- Denying properly-filed claims
Insurance litigation may not be appropriate in every case. Sometimes a simple negotiation with the insurance company might get you the desired results. So before taking any steps, contact your lawyer to assess your case and help you determine the proper course of action.
What to Expect if You Are Suing an Insurance Company
Suing an insurance company is a challenging task. It will require energy and money as you may need to travel and pay court and attorney costs.
Your attorney would need to investigate the accident to build a case against the insurance company. This investigation is usually done by reviewing important documentation about the accident, such as police and medical reports. On their end, the insurance company would investigate to find anything they can use to discredit your claim.
You and your loved ones may need to testify in court as witnesses and provide evidence of your loss or injury, including medical bills and other expenses.
Note that insurance companies are often unwilling to go to court, and they might make a settlement offer while your case is pending in court. Do not be in a hurry to accept that offer. Instead, consider working with your attorney to review it before deciding either way.
However, you need to be aware that court processes take time and require a lot of patience. It would help if you supported your attorney and trusted their ability to represent your interests regardless of any delays.
Tips to Help You Succeed With Your Auto Insurance Claim/Lawsuit
If you’re going to succeed with your insurance claim or lawsuit, you’ll need evidence to prove your case before the insurance company or the court. Understandably you might be feeling overwhelmed in the aftermath of your accident, so here are a few tips to help you keep things together while you prepare for your case:
Try to keep records of all your communication and correspondence with the insurance company or its reps, including emails and letters. The information in the correspondence can serve as evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the insurance company and help you establish your claim in court.
Track Your Expenses
In the aftermath of an accident, it is important to keep track of how much you’ve lost and any other expenses you incur due to the incident, including medical expenses, lost wages, and attorney fees.
This can help the court determine how much you deserve from the insurance company.
Get Help From Experienced Insurance Litigation Attorneys
Insurance litigation is unpredictable and complex, and you might be unable to deal with it on your own, especially since the auto accident might have affected your health.
Getting a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you can make the insurance claims and litigation process a lot easier. In some cases, the reputation of your attorney can compel the insurance company to make you a better settlement offer rather than go to court.
Once you have secured the services of an experienced attorney, please keep them informed at every point. Only sign documents or enter agreements with the insurance company after seeking your lawyer’s advice. This way, your lawyer can assess the situation and help you understand the pros and cons of any decision you make.
Contact Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien for Help
At Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C., we understand the gimmicks of many auto insurance companies who will do anything to avoid paying you a reasonable settlement amount. Our job is to ensure you’re not cheated out of your entitlements regardless of the insurance company’s stance.
We are willing to negotiate with the insurance provider where necessary and help you reach a beneficial agreement. But if the company is unwilling to be flexible, we are also prepared to fight your case in court if that is what your case requires.
So, if you’re having trouble getting a reasonable settlement after an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact us for help and legal advice. Let us work with you to achieve your desired outcome.