Handling a Disputed Car Insurance Claim

There are some insurance claims which are not resolved because both parties fail to agree on a settlement amount.

Such cases can be resolved through arbitration or mediation before they go to court. Arbitration is a method wherein a third-party evaluates the settlement case and provides a decision on the value of the insurance claim. This method is used when the issue to be resolved involves only the damages after an accident. Both parties must abide by the decision of the third-party.

Using the ‘Appraisal Clause’

The terms and conditions of an insurance policy have a header, ‘appraisal clauses’, which are the regulations for arbitration. The insurance company and the policyholder will use an appraiser to evaluate the case and decide the value of the case. Either of the two parties can raise the appraisal clause when the case is not resolved. When the amount quoted by both the appraisers do not match, a third appraiser, who is an impartial one, studies the case of both parties and gives a decision. The decision of two of the three appraisers will be final and abiding for both the parties. The arbitration may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

The cost of arbitration is less than that of a court case. Both parties pay for their individual appraisers and share the fees of the impartial appraiser. The value of the settlement should be higher than the fees of the appraisers. In case the cost of arbitration runs higher than the settlement amount, then mediation may be pursued to resolve the matter.


An experienced mediator works with both parties, together or individually, to facilitate the resolution of the case. The decision reached through mediation is binding on both parties. Not honoring a decision of arbitration is considered a breach of trust and the policy holder can sue the insurance company. In such a scenario it is advisable to consult a St. Louis car accident lawyer.

Additional Legal Options

There are other options available when a case is not resolved by negotiations, arbitration, or mediation.

Small Claims Court – This option can be used when the settlement amount is small. This method is beneficial as the case can be resolved at a lesser cost and the pressure that you may feel during the legal process is fairly small. You can proceed with this method without the services of an attorney; however, it is always advisable to consult an car accident lawyer before commencing the legal journey.

Department of Insurance – A state’s department of insurance is a platform where you can file a complaint against the insurance company. It must be borne in mind that the department may not rule in your favor; however, the complaint may act as a deterrent and the insurance company may offer a higher settlement.

Court Case – A court case can be filed against the individual responsible for the accident when there is a deadlock with the insurance adjuster regarding the settlement amount, the amount of claim is bigger than the limit set by the small claims court, there are problems with the coverage in the insurance policy, or when the statute of limitations is about to expire within two or three months.

If your car accident claim is in dispute, consult with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney to discuss your legal options.

The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.

(314) 361-4242

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