If you’re an Indiana resident who’s been involved in an accident and are having trouble with a claim, it’s understandable that you might want to sue your insurance company. And it’s understandable that you may want to sue them without hiring a lawyer of your own.
The last thing you want is to take on extra expenses. Your medical bills are mounting and your vehicle is still in the shop. Perhaps the accident took someone you love or you’re too injured to concentrate on anything other than healing. It’s an emotional, stressful experience.
You may feel reluctant to retain an attorney as you worry about the cost. You’ve read up on insurance laws and feel confident your claim is straightforward.
But then the insurance company starts dodging your calls and holding your personal injury claim in limbo. You grow frustrated with the lengthy process — you need money now. When you finally reach someone at the company who can help, they ask about witnesses to your accident and documented evidence. You thought you had your bases covered, but now you’re starting to worry that they aren’t going to pay out.
You may certainly decide to sue your insurance company without a lawyer. However, if you’ve gotten to the point where you think that’s the best option, you likely already realize how difficult the process is going to be.
Why would I sue my insurance company?
The most common reason Indiana residents sue their insurance company is that they believe they have been unjustly denied payment on a claim — or that the insurance company is deliberately creating barriers to avoid paying on a claim.
But there are other reasons people choose to sue. Typical reasons include:
Your claim was denied
If you submitted a claim, you may decide to sue an insurance company after your claim is denied. Insurance companies will try to dispute your claim and if they can find a reason not to pay, they’ll avoid doing so. They may examine the evidence they have at their disposal and decide to deny your claim. Basically, holding your personal injury in Hammond, Gary, or anywhere this might happen to you, as your fault.
Similarly, the company’s claims department will look for errors in your application form. For example, if you wrote in the wrong time of your accident, or forget to add your signature, your claim could be rejected.
Your claim wasn’t processed within the legal time frame
An insurance company must accept or reject your claim within a legally acceptable time frame. In Indiana, this time period is not distinctly defined other than to say insurers must pay claims “reasonably promptly.” However, in legal terms, reasonably prompt typically means within a billing cycle.
Avoidance of payout
Good faith laws compel insurance companies to pay claims in a timely manner. However, you may find that you don’t receive your settlement in time to help with your immediate needs. If an insurance company gives you the runaround and doesn’t pay you after accepting your claim, it may be time to sue.
If you haven’t properly documented your accident or the merits of your claim, an insurance company may decide the claim is fraudulent and choose to reject it. However, this is not a legal declaration and you may choose to fight it in court.
If you feel the settlement offered by an insurance company isn’t commensurate with the pain and suffering you’ve endured, a lawsuit may seem like a good option. The insurance company is not likely to negotiate with you to reach higher settlement terms.
How to Sue Without a Lawyer
If you choose to sue an insurance company without a lawyer, the burden of proof will fall on you and you alone. You’ll need a comprehensive knowledge of insurance policies and law, along with expert knowledge of the legal system.
You’ll be expected to know what paperwork to file and where to file it.
You’ll be responsible for hiring a serving company to deliver your suit to the proper parties.
You can expect to spend some money and a whole lot of precious time.
Of course, it’s true that a lawyer can’t promise a favorable outcome. However, the chances that you’ll win your case on your own aren’t great, either.
People who represent themselves in legal cases often see a less than favorable outcome. Successful litigation stems from seasoned experienced professionals. Especially when you’re up against a corporate legal team, it’s good to have someone in your corner.
Nonetheless, if you still choose to fight this battle alone, there are several steps you’ll need to take.
File a police report
In the immediate aftermath of your accident, you need to file a police report. If severe injuries or property damage have occurred, law enforcement will need to come to the scene. If you walk away with minor scrapes and minimal damage, you can file a police report online.
A police report can provide the foundation of your case. This is legal, indisputable evidence of what happened in your accident. Sans a police report, it’s tough to provide basic, vital documentation to the courts.
Collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses
Forensic evidence may become a necessary part of your case against an insurance company. If possible, you will need photos or video documentation of your accident and any sustained injury or damage you’ve experienced. You need your medical records from injuries you suffered as a result of your accident, and you may be asked to provide a sworn affidavit from your doctors.
A quick tip: You can draft the text of the affidavit for your doctor. It may help them get it done in a timely manner. But it’s important that your doctor has a chance to read it and sign off on it.
If there were witnesses to your accident, or experts who can testify to how the accident adversely impacted your life, you’ll need recorded interviews with their testimony. Witnesses and experts may need to be available if your lawsuit goes to court as well.
Representing yourself in meetings and in court
If you sue an insurance company without a lawyer, you’ll also need to represent yourself not only in court but in any negotiations or meetings with the company. Most insurance companies have a large fleet of well-paid, highly experienced attorneys at their disposal. You’ll need to attend any negotiation meetings with these lawyers. If your case goes to court, you’ll need to fight your case against expert counsel.
An attorney can help strengthen your case
You shouldn’t have to fight against behemoth insurance companies on your own. You can sue an insurance company without a lawyer. However, your chances for deserved compensation increase exponentially with the right attorney on your side.
A seasoned, empathetic attorney can help guide you through your legal journey. The right lawyer has fought against large insurance companies before and is equipped to help you to seek the compensation you may be owed.
At Yosha Law, we are passionate about our clients and consider them part of our family. We will help with your personal injury claim and fight for what you’re owed.
We also offer an initial free case evaluation where we can help you explore the merits of your case and guide you through the legal process.