Oklahomans purchase auto insurance not only because it’s the law, but because they want to get coverage in case they are in an accident. When they file a claim for injury or property damage and they cannot get insurance to pay their claims, however, it can be extremely frustrating and costly.
Oklahoma City residents who experience significant delays or claim denials after an accident are in need, and their medical treatments or rehabilitation cannot wait. When insurance companies act in bad faith, it is important to understand the tactics they may try to get out of paying you what you deserve, and find effective legal advocacy that will protect both their interests and their rights.
Oklahoma auto insurance laws
Oklahoma is an at-fault state, meaning that if one driver was responsible for another’s injuries, the at-fault driver and their insurance must cover damages. If both sides dispute who was responsible for the accident, one party or their insurance may file a lawsuit against the other party in civil court for monetary compensation. Oklahoma laws require drivers to have minimum coverages of:
- $25,000 in bodily injury for one person per accident
- $50,000 for all persons injured per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
One problem that comes into play is when the accident results in serious or catastrophic injuries, and the other driver has only minimum or no coverage at all. The law does not require drivers to purchase uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverages, but when a driver does have this coverage, their insurance should pick up the tab for what the other driver’s insurance doesn’t pay.
Why auto insurance companies deny claims
There are several ways in which insurance companies act in bad faith. When the insurance company does its own investigation, they may either ignore the findings of the police report, especially if it holds their policy-holder responsible for the accident, or they may even try to shift blame onto the injured party.
Compensation disputes may also arise when the insurer questions the medical treatments the injured party received. Also, if the at-fault driver’s policy has minimum coverages for bodily injury, it will likely not be enough to cover serious injuries. In this case, if the injured motorist has purchased UM/UIM coverage, their insurance has an obligation to fulfill the terms of the policy.
The company may also question the type of repair to the vehicle. The cash value of the property at the time of loss requires repairs that replace damages with “like kind and quality parts”, not brand-new parts that would increase the value of the vehicle. But, under Oklahoma law, the insured party has the right to take their vehicle to the repair shop of their choice.
Auto insurance companies owe a duty to their policyholders to abide by the terms of the contract and to act in good faith. If the policyholder thinks that the insurance company improperly denied their claim, it is possible to sue the company for damages. Sometimes the threat of litigation will be all it takes to persuade them to settle fairly.