What if the At-Fault Driver Refuses to Respond to a Claim?
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on May 31, 2022 in Car Accidents
After suffering injuries in a car crash, you likely have medical costs, lost wages and other damages. If another driver is at fault for the incident, you may be able to seek compensation through his or her liability insurance.
However, what if the at-fault driver refuses to respond to your claim?
In Wisconsin, PKSD is ready to help victims injured in a collision caused by another driver’s negligence. Speaking with a qualified attorney after any crash is always a good idea. You can find out about your legal options and get answers to your questions, all at no cost to you. Our Milwaukee auto accident lawyers are experienced and ready to help.
Call our firm 24/7 to set up your FREE case review. 877-877-2228
Do Policyholders Have a Duty to Cooperate in a Claim?
In short, yes. All auto insurance policies contain a “duty to cooperate” clause. When drivers purchase car insurance, they agree to accept all terms within the policy, including the duty to cooperate.
After a car accident, drivers must cooperate with their insurance company’s investigation and defense of a claim. This requirement could take shape in various ways. For instance, the driver may need to attend a hearing or submit a sworn statement about the accident.
What is the Liable Insurer’s Duty in a Third-Party Claim?
The liable insurance company also owes a duty to its insured driver. Following a car crash, this includes:
- Investigating the crash
- Obtaining details from all involved parties
- Assessing fault based on the evidence
- Defending their insured driver, as needed
Without evidence to establish fault, the liable insurance company will likely deny a claim.
Why Should Your Claim Be Denied If You Are Cooperating With the Liable Insurer?
This is where many crash victims may get confused, because in this situation, your cooperation is not the issue. The issue is that your legal interests oppose the interests of both the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company.
As the injured victim filing a third-party claim, you are asking the liable insurer to pay you for damages their insured driver caused. Since the at-fault driver’s insurer is not your provider, their primary duty is not to you. It is to defend their insured driver and pay as little on your claim as possible. Unfortunately, this does not help you to recover the compensation you need.
What if an At-Fault Driver Refuses to Respond to a Claim in Wisconsin?
The at-fault driver’s insurer will not even consider paying out on a claim without proof that the insured driver caused the car crash that injured you. This means, in part, getting a statement from the at-fault party, which is their insured driver.
The difficulties of a situation like this are another reason why you should consider calling an attorney sooner, rather than later to handle your claim. He or she could investigate the crash and gather evidence that helps to support your claim, such as:
- The police report
- Photos of the crash scene
- Your relevant medical records
- Vehicle damage
- Credible witness statements
- And more
Even without the at-fault driver’s cooperation, an attorney may be able to use this evidence to establish his or her liability for the crash.
What Legal Options Do Victims Have if the At-Fault Driver Refuses to Respond?
If the at-fault driver remains uncooperative, the insurer may use it as a reason to drop their insured’s coverage and deny your claim. However, this does not relieve the at-fault driver of liability.
While fighting to hold the at-fault party accountable, your attorney may also determine whether you can file a first-party claim. This type of claim is against your own policy. If eligible, you may be able to recover compensation for some of your damages by:
- Filing an uninsured motorist claim: In Wisconsin, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI) is required. It can be used to cover medical costs, loss of income and more.
- Using your collision coverage: If you purchased this optional coverage, it could help pay for damage to your vehicle.
- Filing a lawsuit against the driver (not his or her insurer): If all other legal options fail, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit directly against the driver who caused the crash.
These options are complicated and best handled by an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. It is difficult to get maximum compensation without legal help.
Call Our Firm to Learn More About Your Legal Rights After a Crash
Car crashes are overwhelming, especially when you are dealing with injuries and other losses. Trying to determine what to do first and how to navigate the legal process is often complicated. Any additional or unexpected challenges, such as if the at-fault driver refuses to respond, may further delay your claim.
At PKSD, we have a legal team that is dedicated to helping the injured. We also know how to handle complicated claims, as shown by our strong history of proven results. Our firm always seeks maximum compensation for every client.
Learn more about your legal options and how we are prepared to help to protect your interests. There is nothing to pay up front, and we only get paid for our services if we win compensation for you.
Ready to fight for the results you need. 877-877-2228