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Taking On Insurance Companies

They're supposed to take care of you. We hold them accountable when they don't.

In theory, insurance companies are supposed to help you. You pay them a premium, and if you're involved in a car accident, they'll cover the cost.

In practice, it can be very difficult to get an insurance company to actually pay you what you need. Insurance companies are generally interested in reducing their own costs - even if it comes at the expense of an injured person. They may try to "low ball" offers or deliberately ignore some financial losses in order to pay out less. That's not right, and it's why you need Richard E. Lewis, P.S. on your side.

With attorney Lewis at your side, you get over three decades of experience dealing with insurance companies. You get someone who has represented many people in Washington who have needed his help dealing with claims adjusters and attorneys for insurance companies. Richard E. Lewis will make you feel comfortable and confident knowing your case is getting the attention it deserves. He has vast experience handling issues related to the following:

Dealing with an insurance company is never easy, and you shouldn't have to do it alone. The insurance companies know Richard, and they know he prepares every case as though it's going to trial. In many cases, insurers will pay out more knowing that you have a top-notch personal injury lawyer on your side. If they won't back down, we'll represent you in court.

Don't go up against an insurance company alone. Instead of fielding questions from an adjuster yourself - and giving answers that they might use against you - tell them you've retained an attorney. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Richard can be your voice.

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

In Washington, all motorists are required to have certain types of insurance coverage, with other types being optional. Here's a brief look:

  • Liability insurance covers damage and injuries resulting from an accident that you cause. By Washington state law, you are required to have what's called 25/50/10 coverage: $25,000 of coverage for injuries or death per person, $50,000 for injuries or death per accident, and $10,000 for property damage.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) pays for your medical costs, loss of income and funeral expenses after an accident, regardless of fault. While you are not required to have PIP in Washington, insurance companies are required to offer it to you.
  • Collision is an optional coverage type that covers accident-related damage to your car.
  • Comprehensive is an optional coverage type that covers non-collision damages to your car, such as theft or vandalism.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) is an optional coverage type that covers expenses resulting from an accident if the motorist who hit you does not have insurance, or does not have enough liability coverage to pay for the full cost of the accident. Without UM/UIM coverage, your only recourse if the cost of the accident exceeds the other driver's policy limits is to try to recover from the other driver's assets - and that will only work if the other driver has assets to take.

If you're injured in an accident, both your coverage and the other motorist's coverage will come into play. Determining which insurance company is liable for which damages can be a tricky process, and an experienced attorney can help you navigate it. We've been helping injured people for years. Talk to us today.

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Arguments Insurance Companies Make

Even if you're dealing with your own insurance company after an accident, they'll look for ways to reduce their costs - and they're at least supposed to be on your side. You pay them premiums, after all. When an insurance company representing another driver gets involved, be on your guard. They have even less incentive to treat you fairly. Insurance companies will use several arguments to try to reduce or outright deny your claim.

  • Pre-existing conditions: Insurance companies will often argue that your injuries didn't result from the accident, but were actually suffered before or after. That's why it's so important to see a doctor immediately after being involved in an accident.
  • Assumption of risk: When dealing with motorcycle accidents in particular, the insurer may argue that you took a risk when you got on the road. Under this insurance company logic, you are responsible for the injuries you suffered even if you did nothing wrong.
  • Condition of the vehicle: Often, an adjuster will try to put the blame for an accident on you by saying your vehicle's brakes, tires or other components weren't properly maintained. This argument can reduce the amount you're owed both for injuries and for property damage to your vehicle.

These arguments are why you need to be very cautious about what you say to an adjuster - or to anyone else - after an accident. The best policy is to stick to the facts of what happened and refer anyone looking for further comment to your attorney. If you don't have representation, simply contact us now and we'll help you get started.

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Bad Faith Insurance

By law, insurance companies are expected to act in good faith when dealing with claims and with persons presenting a claim. When an insurance company fails to fulfill the obligations stated in a policy or fails to abide by Washington state law, it is said to have acted in bad faith. Note that you can't file such a claim against someone else's insurer. Some typical bad faith actions include:

  • Refusing to pay a claim that is owed, or failing to pay in a timely manner
  • Failing to explain the reason why a claim is denied
  • Requiring unnecessary or excessive paperwork
  • Failing to investigate a claim adequately
  • Offering a settlement for significantly less than the claim is worth
  • Making threatening statements
  • Not complying with reasonable requests for documentation
  • Misrepresenting the law or policy language

The law takes a very dim view of insurance companies that act in bad faith. If you can prove that your insurance company has taken any of these actions, you may be able to sue for damages above and beyond the usual policy limits. However, the insurance company will most assuredly put its best attorneys to work defending against your claim. That's why you need attorney Richard E. Lewis on your side.

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Richard E. Lewis, P.S.

2208 W Second Ave.
Suite 201
Spokane, WA 99201

Phone: 509-413-1278
Fax: 509-458-5977