Legal assistance is often imperative when it comes to consumers and other private individuals dealing with insurance claims. Regardless of the types of insurance, whether it’s homeowners’, disability, or life insurance, etc., disagreements between you and your insurance company can be incredibly complex, confusing, and frustrating – especially when you’re trying to deal with the professional from the insurance company.
The average consumer may not have the insurance knowledge or experience necessary to negotiate fair terms and resolve differences with things like coverage, exclusions, and amount of benefits. As a result, it’s important for individuals to understand that there are state laws in place that protect consumers from unfair insurance companies. Arkansas’ consumer laws can be found through the Arkansas Insurance Department.
In the event a dispute over insurance coverage or benefits arises, it’s best to act swiftly. The Little Rock insurance and consumer claim lawyers at McMath Woods P.A., have years of experience tackling insurance issues that our clients face. This experience enables us to serve as effective advocates in the resolution of disputes with insurance adjustors and their companies. Additionally, we have no problem taking your case to trial if an insurance company refuses to provide the compensation you are rightfully owed.
How to Handle a Typical Insurance Claim
If you need to file an insurance claim, there are certain steps you should take to ensure you build the strongest case possible for yourself.
First, you’ll want to gather any documents and evidence that support your claim. This evidence may include receipts for related expenses or photographs of the damage. You’ll want to provide a detailed account of the incident to your insurance company, including the date, time, location, and suspected reason for the accident.
After you file your claim, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. They will review your report and coverage, contact any parties involved, take additional statements if needed, and evaluate your claim. At this time, they will either offer you a settlement or deny your claim.
It’s important to avoid accepting the initial settlement right away, as you’ll want to evaluate what they’re offering in relation to what you’ve lost. If you feel as though they are lowballing you, you have the right to begin negotiations. At this time, you’ll either be able to come to terms you feel are fair or you can seek guidance from an attorney to find out what your options are.
Reasons Insurance Claims Are Denied
Insurance companies are always focused on their bottom lines. Because of this, they may interpret and manipulate the language of your policy to minimize or deny valid claims. In the event they deny a claim, they may provide one of the following reasons:
- The loss is not included in your policy.
- The damage total is less than what you are claiming it is.
- The damage total falls below the policy’s deductible.
- The insurance company’s adjuster determined that no covered loss occurred.
- You didn’t follow through with your responsibilities as a policyholder.
When your claim is denied, you have the right to file an appeal. A lawyer will be able to help you gather the necessary evidence and documents you need to address the reasons the denial should be retracted. It’s important to understand; however, there are a few alternatives to taking legal action that may suit your individual case better, depending on your circumstances.
The most popular alternatives to litigation are mediation, arbitration, and appraisal.
Mediation. In mediation, you and your insurance company will work with a third party to negotiate a resolution to the dispute. This is an informal and voluntary process.
Arbitration. An arbitration, binding or non-binding, is more formal than a mediation. The arbitrator has the ability to dictate the result or work with you and your insurance company to reach a resolution.
Appraisal. An appraisal is a process used to resolve a dispute over the amount of an insured loss. The process can be economical and fast or expensive and slow depending on the appraisers selected by you and your insurance company.
These alternatives may not be right for you, especially if you believe your insurance company acted in bad faith. If that is the case, you may be able to sue the company for improper claims practice. At this point, you’ll most likely want a reliable attorney on your side.
Knowing When to Get Help from a Little Rock Insurance Consumer Claims Lawyer
If you’re beginning to feel frustrated or like you’re being taken advantage of while dealing with your insurer, it may be time to seek representation from a qualified attorney who can help you get the respect and claim results you deserve.
Our Arkansas insurance and consumer claims lawyer is prepared to protect your interests and convince your insurance to pay you what you deserve under the insurance contract. There is no charge for an initial consultation regarding your legal rights in a situation involving an insurance dispute. If we win on your claim, the company can be made to pay some of your attorney’s fees, under Arkansas state law. Any remaining fee will be based on a contingent fee arrangement. Contact us today for more information.