What Can You Do if the Insurance Company Will Not Settle Your Maryland Car Accident Claim?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Car Accidents Published on March 22, 2023 and updated on May 15, 2023.

denied claim paperwork on tableNo matter how serious your injuries are, the at-fault driver’s car insurance company could refuse to offer you full compensation. In fact, this is what often happens, as insurance companies are always trying to hold onto their money.

If the insurance company will not settle your claim for a Maryland car crash injury, and you have not hired legal representation, you need to give serious consideration to finding an attorney. Your only option may be to file a lawsuit, and this is something best left to an experienced lawyer.

The Maryland auto accident attorneys at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices do not charge any upfront fees and we have a proven history of results for crash victims.

We have answers to your legal questions. Call 410-244-7005.

Why Would an Insurance Company Not Want to Settle Your Claim?

Like so many other questions, the main reason why insurers do not settle injury claims is simple: money. Car insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They lose money when they pay accident victims. They do not want to pay your claim, but if they cannot deny it entirely, they want to pay as little as possible.

In fairness, insurance companies should only pay for covered damages up to the policy limit. Insurers are also concerned about fraudulent claims.

However, concerns about fraudulent claims are often overblown, and insurers often misrepresent the terms of coverage. Car insurance companies also have a history of denying legitimate claims and lowballing accident victims who have strong cases. This includes cases that involve catastrophic injuries.

Reasons Insurance Companies Give for Low Offers or Claim Denials

If your claim was denied or the insurance company is offering only a small amount of compensation, they may give a few reasons for their decision:

  • You do not have enough evidence – This may sound like a good reason to deny a claim. However, is the insurance company being truthful? They might be saying you lack sufficient evidence because they think that might make you give up on your claim. Insurance companies are notorious for coming up with flimsy excuses for why a liable driver is not at fault. They may say you could have prevented the crash, even if this sounds preposterous.
  • Some of the damages you are claiming are not covered – Insurance companies are only required to provide compensation for damages that are covered by the policy. However, insurance companies often misrepresent the terms of their policies. If you are filing a first-party claim with your own insurance company, they may say your policy lapsed. They may pretend they did not see the check you sent to pay your premium.
  • You have a preexisting injury – This is a common excuse insurance companies trot out to deny liability for a collision. Even if you have a preexisting injury, you can still recover compensation if the crash aggravated the existing injury. You may have suffered new injuries in the crash that have nothing to do with your preexisting medical condition. However, proving a car crash aggravated an existing injury is a complex task that is best left to an experienced lawyer.
  • You are at fault for the crash – In other states besides Maryland, you can recover compensation if you are partially at fault for a collision. Unfortunately, Maryland has a harsh contributory negligence law that bars a recovery if you are even one percent at fault for an injury. But are you at fault? The insurance company could be saying this based on weak argument. This is another reason why crash victims need an experienced attorney to help them seek compensation.

Delaying the Legal Process

If the insurance company offers you a settlement that is insufficient to cover your damages, they may try to stall the negotiation process. For example, they may take much too long to respond to your phone calls or emails. They may ask you to complete forms that ask for information that has already been provided. They may claim they have not received the appropriate documents.

They may mislead you into thinking that you cannot negotiate for more compensation and the initial offer is the only one you will receive.

These tactics are all part of their strategy for dragging out the process. They are hoping that you will grow so frustrated and desperate for compensation you will accept the lowball offer they made.

Is The Insurance Company Acting in Bad Faith?

Sometimes insurance companies are doing more than being difficult, they may be breaking the law by acting in bad faith. Insurance companies are bound by the law to make informed judgments on claims based on honesty and diligence.

While Maryland’s bad faith statute only applies to first-party claims, there is still an expectation under common law for third-party claims to be handled in good faith.

What this means in practice is that insurance companies should not do things like subject you to unreasonable delays, fail to provide a reason for denying your claim or misrepresent the terms of the insurance policy. They need to have a legitimate reason for denying your claim or for the valuation they assign your claim.

If the insurance company does not act in good faith, you may be able to pursue a bad faith claim against them.

What to Do When the Insurer Will Not Settle

If the insurance company will not pay your claim, whether it is the liable driver’s insurance company or your own company in a first-party claim, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Talk to a lawyer
  • Use alternative dispute resolution
  • File a lawsuit

1.      Talk to a Lawyer

Despite the seriousness of your injuries, insurance companies are going to take a claim much more seriously if you are being represented by a lawyer. The more experience the lawyer has, and the stronger his or her record of recovering compensation, the more seriously the insurance company is going to take your claim.

Once a lawyer is involved, the insurance company may be more likely to increase their offer of compensation. This is particularly true if the insurance company thinks there is a possibility of the case going to court. This is often because the lawyer you hired has taken cases to court before and won.

If you hire a lawyer and the insurance company starts to play ball, it may be a sign they know you have a strong case that would garner sympathy from a jury.

2.      Use Alternative Dispute Resolution

It is important to note that filing a lawsuit is not the only option. There is also alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation or arbitration. In arbitration, the person that hears both sides and decides on a resolution is the arbitrator. The decision from this ADR can be binding or non-binding. In mediation, a mediator hears both sides and tries to help them reach a resolution.

Often, alternative dispute resolution is a required step before a trial. This offers the insurance company one last chance to settle before the trial starts.

3.      File a Lawsuit

Unfortunately, there are times when the victim has a strong case, but the insurance company fights the claim until the end. That is why you need an experienced lawyer who knows when it is time to file a lawsuit because negotiations have broken down.

Call Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices for Help With the Insurance Company

When another driver behaves recklessly and causes a crash, victims need help navigating through the complex legal process. Insurance companies often try to get out of paying victims the compensation they need.

This is where a licensed attorney comes in. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl understand what you are going through because we have helped so many others in your position. Our firm has obtained millions on behalf of injured victims.

We have the experience and legal knowledge to build a strong case and take on the insurance company on your behalf. While many cases settle, some do not, and we are prepared to file a lawsuit to seek the compensation you need.

No upfront fees or obligations. Call us at 410-244-7005.