Don't give up just because the insurance company says no

If you or someone you know is injured in an accident and the insurance company refuses coverage - or agrees to make only a small payment - don’t just assume that decision is final. You should always talk with an attorney about your options. Only when a qualified attorney has fully investigated the situation can you be certain of what your rights are.

For instance, consider the recent case of 65-year-old Julie Keyes, who was injured while driving to work.

 

denied-stampWhen Keyes swerved to avoid an oncoming car, her vehicle slid into an embankment and rolled over. The impact severely bruised her neck and spinal cord. Today, she is unable to walk and uses a wheelchair.

Keyes filed a claim with her insurance company, but the company refused payment. The company obtained the data recorder inside Keyes’ car, which suggested that she was driving well above the speed limit at the time of the crash. The company also refused to believe there was an oncoming vehicle, because the other driver didn’t leave his name or contact information. So according to the insurance company, Keyes was lying and simply crashed her car because she was speeding.

Many people might have given up, but Keyes decided to fight for her rights.

Here’s what a thorough investigation turned up:

 

  • A neighbor who spoken with the other driver just after the crash, before he took off.
  • The data recorder in the car wasn’t measuring the speed of the vehicle; it was merely measuring how fast the front wheels were turning. Because the front axle broke during the crash, the front wheels began spinning out of control and much faster than they would have if the wheels had been touching the ground.
  • Keyes was unlikely to have been speeding, since she wasn’t running late for work, she had just turned onto the road a quarter of a mile back, and according to her cell phone records, she wasn’t on the phone.
  • The data recorder showed that Keyes had made a very sharp swerve - more consistent with trying to avoid an oncoming car than with losing control while going too fast.

After seeing all this evidence, a jury ordered the insurance company to pay Keyes $4 million, including $3.3 million for her medical care and lost wages.

The moral of the story is that if you or someone you know is seriously injured, you should never just assume that you can’t receive fair compensation - even if your friends say so, and even if the insurance company says so. Don’t just sign off on a minimal offer from the insurance company - talk to a lawyer first to find out what you’re really entitled to receive.