You’ve tried being reasonable, hoping the insurance adjuster would do the right thing. You didn’t cause the wreck. The person who hit you even apologized afterward, saying, “It’s all my fault. I wasn’t paying attention. I’m so sorry.”
So why is the insurance company denying my claim? They say I’m partially at fault, even though that’s not what happened and it certainly isn’t what the police officer wrote down as the “at fault” party in the accident report.
Unfortunately, the reason we get involved in a lot of accident cases is because the carrier isn’t doing the right thing. People call us for legal help, not go get rich, but to get what’s fair and just- Kevin Jones, Greenville NC Accident Lawyer
Why is the carrier denying my claim?
Why insurance companies deny accident claims all too often comes down to one thing: Money. If a carrier can limit how much they pay after an accident, or better yet, deny an accident claim altogether, that’s pure profit for them.
It’s a zero-sum game. They profit at your loss.
Insurance companies charge premiums every month, with the promise you’ll be “in good hands.” The truth is, it’s regularly about profit.
After an accident, carriers all too often raise the rates of their “insured” for getting in the wreck, even if their long-term insured has a clean driving history and this is their first wreck. The logic is, at least to some extent, is that they need to make up the difference between the premiums and the payout after an accident.
The problem is, carriers work both angles. Not only will they jack up their clients’ rates, but they’ll also do what they can to deny claims or pay less than the true value of the claim to the injured party.
Carriers also deny claims, particularly in North Carolina, because they can, in many instances, get away with it.
That’s because North Carolina is what plaintiff’s lawyers and insurance defense attorneys refer to as a “contrib” state. North Carolina is one of the last states in the nation to recognize the antiquated and extremely unfair legal defense of contributory negligence.
Most other states (46 out of 50 states at this time) follow some form of comparative negligence where the relative liability of each party is considered in settling claims or litigation in court. Put simply, a fair assessment of the individual responsibility of the people involved in the accident is part of the settlement process.
That’s not the case in North Carolina.
In fact, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Alabama presently remain the only contributory negligence states in the nation. The District of Columbia “DC” in Washington, while not a state, also still recognizes the old school defense of “contrib.”
The end result is that people who should receive fair compensation for their injuries and financial losses get nothing if the insurance company can show the injured party was to any extent responsible for the wreck.
That’s one reason carriers press to get a recorded statement. They will do their level best to lay a trap, asking questions intended to dog you out – Kevin Jones, Accident Lawyer Greenville, North Carolina
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster?
We think the best way to proceed is to first speak with an attorney who has your best interests at heart. Carriers are not looking out for you. They represent their shareholders and profit margins, not you.
Truth be told, accident lawyers would be out of business if insurance adjusters and their employer, the big insurance companies, always did the right thing and settled claims for a fair amount, fully compensating the injured party for their losses.
People injured in wrecks wouldn’t need lawyers if they received a full and fair settlement for things like medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, and permanent injuries and disfigurement caused by the negligent driver.
Carriers and their representatives are quite good at their jobs. You may innocently answer a question, assuming it’s conversational in nature and thinking nothing of it, not understanding the purpose of the question.
Here are some examples:
- “Do you think it’s possible you might have been going a little over the speed limit anytime before the wreck?”
- “Was there anything you would have done differently, now knowing what happened?”
- “Is there any way you could have avoided being in an accident? Could you have hit the brakes sooner or anything?”
- “Did you check cross traffic even though you had the green light?”
Those questions seem harmless enough, right? Each one, depending on your answer, could be twisted to imply something you did or failed to do caused, even in small part, the accident.
If you weren’t speeding, you may have been able to slow down, thus avoiding the wreck or limiting how badly you were hurt. If you could have done something differently, why didn’t you? The wreck could have been avoided, right, if you had done something differently?
In North Carolina, defense lawyers may argue that despite the fact their client was negligent, you had the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident. In essence, the argument employed by insurance companies is that you are charged with the responsibility for watching out for other drivers’ negligence and carelessness.
So much for the concept of personal responsibility and doing what is right. Under the Last Clear Chance Doctrine, it’s argued you should have anticipated someone running a red light. You could have checked and checked again to make sure they didn’t run a stop sign and smash into you, causing big-time damages to your car and a long stay in the hospital.
We don’t think about any of that process is fair. Trying to catch honest people up, asking what seem to be innocent questions, isn’t what about anyone could honestly say is just or right or fair.
That’s why we don’t think giving a statement to insurance adjusters is a good idea without first talking to a lawyer.
Money: That’s why insurance companies deny accident claims
The accident laws in North Carolina sometimes seem stacked against the victim, the person injured in the wreck.
Contrary to the narrative projected by carriers, plaintiff’s lawyers only take cases that have legal and factual merit.
We help people who have been injured due to no fault of their own. We also earn fees on a contingency. Cases with legitimitate contrib issues aren’t something lawyers will undertake – Kevin Jones, Accident Lawyer Jacksonville NC