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Even a minor car accident is a nerve-racking experience. The shock associated with a collision can make it seem impossible to focus on legal and administrative tasks like filing a car insurance claim, but unfortunately, one small mistake could cause your claim to be denied. One of the most common (and easily avoidable) mistakes drivers in Louisiana make after accidents is waiting too long to file a claim.
The specific amount of time you have to file depends on your insurance carrier. As a general rule, it is best to file your claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your insurer might contend that your injuries were caused by something else.
Another reason to begin the claims process promptly is because there’s a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit if it becomes necessary. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. In the state of Louisiana, the statute of limitations after a car accident usually expires after one year has passed since your collision. If you file a lawsuit after the one-year deadline has passed, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case.
Waiting too long to file is just one of many reasons why your claim might be denied. Read on to learn a few steps you can take to give your claim the best possible chance of being approved:
Collecting Evidence At The Accident Scene
The evidence you collect at the crash scene can help you prove negligence, liability, and the value of your damages. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Call the police immediately—even if nobody appears to have been severely injured;
- Write down the details of what happened. You should do this as soon as possible because the incident will still be fresh in your mind;
- Document the wreck by taking pictures;
- Get insurance information, full names, and phone numbers from all drivers involved;
- Write down the police report number if there is one filed at the scene;
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses; and
- Call your insurance company to report the crash.
What Are Some Reasons A Claim Can Be Denied?
There are many reasons why your car insurance company might deny your claim. Besides waiting too long to file, your claim may be denied if:
- Your insurance company found that you were liable for the accident;
- Your insurance policy wasn’t active at the time of the accident;
- You lied on your insurance application or on your claim;
- The cause of the damages was not a covered peril;
- The amount of damages exceeds what your plan will cover; or
- The vehicle in the accident wasn’t listed on your policy.
Having your car insurance claim approved could be the difference between restoring your financial footing and falling into overwhelming debt. Now that you know the common reasons why auto insurance companies deny claims, you’re prepared to take the right steps should you ever have to file one.
If you’d like to see the results of our Louisiana car insurance quote comparison study, click here.