Personal Injury attorney sitting with client

What if the Defendant Doesn’t Respond to my Car Accident Claim?

By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Sometimes, the at-fault driver refuses to respond to an injury claim from an accident they caused. They might hope that if they ignore the situation long enough, the problem will go away on its own. Actually, if you wait too long to take legal action, you could lose all rights to seek compensation for your injuries and other losses from the negligent party.

A California car accidents attorney can keep your claim moving forward and, if appropriate, file a lawsuit seeking money damages on your behalf. Also, your lawyer can answer your questions, like what if the defendant doesn’t respond to your car accident claim? 

Duty to Cooperate Requirement of Automobile Insurance Policy

Automobile liability insurance policies in California include a requirement that all insured parties cooperate if they cause a collision. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to open the file, investigate the accident, and try to resolve the claim. When the claims adjuster cannot get their own insured to cooperate, the adjuster’s job becomes frustrating. 

Notify Your Car Insurance Company

Your car insurance policy will require you to contact them immediately when you get involved in a collision, even if you think the other driver was entirely at fault. The other driver might file an injury claim against your insurance company, which could refuse to pay the claim if you did not notify them promptly. You might have to pay that claim out of your own pocket.

Also, your insurance company will likely contact the at-fault driver’s insurer about your injury claim. If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company does not want to get stuck with your medical bills or other losses caused by the other driver.

Let Your Lawyer Deal with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer

Although it would be tempting to contact the other driver’s insurance company about your injury claim, you should instead hire an attorney to handle your claim. You do not want to run the risk of talking directly with the other insurance company. The other insurance company will look for any excuse to deny your claim, particularly when their own insured driver refuses to cooperate with them on your claim.

They can twist your words against you to try to create a reason to blame you for the accident. You do not want to give a recorded statement to the other insurance company, because that is something they can use against you.

Your lawyer can provide all the information the other driver’s insurance company needs. Also, when you have an attorney handling your injury claim, you get to focus on getting better rather than dealing with the stress of an insurance claim or lawsuit. 

Do Not Wait Too Long

California, like every state in America, has a statute of limitations that sets a deadline for people to file lawsuits seeking compensation for personal injuries. If you miss this filing deadline, the law can forever bar you from holding the at-fault driver accountable for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Their insurance company will not offer you any money after the deadline because they have no legal liability then. When you work with a California personal injury attorney, you will not have to worry about procedural matters like the statute of limitations. You can contact us today for a free initial consultation.

About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.