What is a good next step if an insurance company has deemed one is 'at fault' in an accident and refused to pay one's claim?
It depends on the facts of the case. If you were hurt, you should get an attorney. If you weren;t hurt and you are just trying to recover your auto damages, an attorney will not be worth the time or the expense. 1.) If you are not hurt, it is going to be really difficult to find an attorney to take the case because the money will be too low. 2.) Any attorney that would take the case is going to be unwilling to actually take the case to trial because it would cost more to prep the case for trial than the case is actually worth. Instead, the attorney is going to negotiate the claim and take a reduced settlement. then the attorney is going to take a 1/3 of the money they collect ultimately taking even more money away from your repairs. 3.) When an attorney gets involved in an insurance claim, it sets off a series of warning signals to the claims adjuster and they are going to handle the case differently. Namely, they are going to hire an attorney to deal with your attorney and the whole thing is going to be drug out over years. Remember, insurance adjusters get threatened with lawsuits everyday. They are not afraid of attorneys. It is a large part of their job. All of this is going to result in you waiting for a really long time to get a disappointing recovery. There is an alternative to getting an attorney however. You can hire a subrogation company that is a member of "inter-company arbitration". The subrogation company can file arbitration against the insurance company and force them to pay the full amount of the repairs. I did this through a company called Cerberus Subrogation Professionals. www.cerberussubro.com It went really well. I didn't have to take a reduced settlement. I got the full amount I was seeking and it was way faster and way cheaper than getting an attorney. As far as I know, Cerberus was the only subrogation company that I could find that is member of arbitration. That is important. If the subrogation company is not a member of arbitration they can't file against the insurance company.