Portland Car Accident Attorneys Standing Up for Victims Injured in a Crash
If someone crashed into you with their car, it would be nice if they apologized and then gave you enough money to make up for the harm caused by the crash. It would nice if insurance companies would pay the claims without a fight.
But unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works. Sometimes, the person who caused the accident won’t even admit it was his or her fault. And most of the time, the insurance company won’t pay you what you deserve to be made whole for the harm caused to you. There’s a simple reason for this: Insurance companies make money by selling policies and charging premiums, and they lose money by paying claims. They are in business to make money, not lose it.
The car accident attorneys at Gideon Asen LLC are not afraid to face the insurance companies and aggressively negotiate with them on your behalf so you get the compensation you deserve.
CAN I SUE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT IN PORTLAND?
To recover financial compensation for your car accident injuries, there are a few different avenues you may pursue. If the at-fault driver has insurance, you may file a claim with their insurance company. In Maine, all drivers are supposed to carry at least $50,000 in liability insurance. If the driver has no insurance (or insufficient insurance to cover your claim), you may also file a claim with your own insurance company for uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. Under Maine law, all regular auto policies offer UM coverage equal to the amount of the liability coverage unless the policy holder has specifically waived that requirement.
Often, the insurance company may delay paying, deny your claim or make an inadequate offer of settlement. If this has occurred, or you are concerned that it might, it is probably a good idea for you to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney.
Your personal injury attorney in Portland may also assist you in identifying exactly which parties are responsible for your accident or other sources of insurance coverage to cover the full extent of your claim. For example, if the vehicle involved in the crash is a work vehicle, there may be a commercial automobile policy available with substantially higher policy limits. Likewise, if the negligent driver is living at home with her parents, the driver may also be covered under the parents’ auto policy, offering another source of coverage.
In some instances, you may be harmed because the vehicle itself suffered from a malfunction or defect, like when an airbag fails to deploy in a high-speed head-on collision, the seat or roof of the vehicle collapses, the ignition switch or accelerator fails, a tire blows out, or the vehicle has been subject to a safety-related recall. In those instances, you may also be able to explore a product defect claim against the automobile manufacturer, retail seller, or person responsible for performing service and maintenance on the vehicle.
HOW MUCH IS MY CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM WORTH?
The answer to this question is both very simple and very complicated. On a simple level, the case is worth whatever the insurance company is willing to pay and what you are willing to accept; or if no agreement can be reached, what a jury will put on its verdict form at the end of a trial.
The reason that this question is complicated is that nobody knows at the outset of the case what an insurance company will offer or what a jury will put in its verdict.
All that said, there are some common rules of thumb that apply to car crash cases. Under Maine law the injured party is entitled to seek recovery for the following categories of damages: (1) medical expenses (2) lost earnings and earning capacity (3) pain, suffering and emotional distress (4) lost enjoyment of life (5) permanent impairment.
Typically, if the case involves “clear liability” (meaning that you will win your case every time because the other driver was clearly and provably at fault), you should be able to recover the full extent of the claimed “out of pocket expense” damages, medical expenses and lost earnings, so long as you can furnish supporting documentation showing the amount of these expenses.
In addition, you should be able to recover a reasonable amount of money for “intangible losses,” such as pain, suffering and emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life and permanent impairment. How are these “intangible losses” measured? The answer is that there is no purely objective basis for measurement, and ultimately a jury will get to decide. However, two main factors determine how intangible losses are valued. First, the severity of the harm involved, and second, the duration of the harm. For instance, is someone suffered paralysis that lasted for four weeks after she was injured in a car accident, that injury would have a certain value, perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If that same person’s paralysis lasted a lifetime, the loss might be valued at millions of dollars. Of course, the same case would be very different for a twenty-year-old with a seventy-year life expectancy than it would be for an eighty-year-old. You probably get the picture. Every case is different and unique, and each case must be evaluated individually.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE INSURANCE DENIED MY CLAIM?
If your claim has been denied by the insurance company, you need to gather all the documentation related to your crash and visit a Portland car accident attorney as soon as possible. It is important for you to demand that the insurance company provides a reason for the denial in writing – they cannot simply say they will not pay without providing a reason.
Remember, insurance companies are interested in protecting their profits first, and will often employ strategies and try to find loopholes in their policies to deny or greatly reduce the amount they pay you. They may try to say they were not notified of the accident in time, that there were lapses in the policy for lack of payment, or that the accident was caused by an “act of God” and thus excluded from the policy.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
If the at-fault driver’s insurance denied your claim, you may try to get your own insurance to pay for your injuries and then seek reimbursement from the other insurance company. This may or may not work, and if all else fails, contact the legal team at Gideon Asen LLC for help. You shouldn’t have to bear the burden of expenses for an accident that was not your fault. We can represent you with professionalism and assertiveness and secure a favorable outcome for your car accident claim. Contact us at (207) 206-8982 to learn more.