Need advice on suing the insurance company


#1

I was in a small accident a few days ago. My insurance company said that I was not at fault and would notify the other insurance company that they won’t pay for the repair of the other car.

I have liability but none on my car, so my insurance company said that I need to deal with the other insurance company about getting my car repaired. I understand how that works, and that’s fine with me.

But trouble started with the other insurance company. Since I am just a little guy dealing with a big insurance company, they think they can push me around. They are claiming that the won’t take 100% responsibility for the accident, which means, they won’t pay for 100% of the cost of repairing my car.

I sent them an e-mail saying that a representative told me that they may not accept 100% responsibility, and they should come to a final decision quickly and let me know. I am thinking I need to sue them to get my car repaired.

I am thinking the insurance company is doing this, because the accident to my car is limited to the rear bumper cover, so if they bully me, I might give up and forget about the repair. I am just pissed off that a big company is trying to push around little people.

HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS:
When I file a small claims suit, do I name both the driver and the insurance company as defendants? My reasoning is that the other driver is ultimately responsible, and the insurance company is acting as an agent in the matter, so I need to sue the other driver as well as the insurance company.

Do I need to notify them to show that I have tried in ernest to settle the matter before resorting to a lawsuit? I am thinking of sending them (both the driver and the insurance company) certified mail once that I want them to fix my car. If they don’t respond or don’t agree, file a lawsuit. I figure the insurance company won’t change their mind just because I pester them with letters or phone calls, so one certified mail should be enough. Besides, they can always pay up before the court date.


#2

This is an screen name open forum and even if some unknown person would have valid advice it would mean nothing.


#3

Talk to a lawyer, it may be the cheapest money you ever spend…


#4

If this happened a few days ago give this some time to work out. Insurance companies will stall and low ball offers up front to save any money they can. If you politely but firmly state that you want them to fix your car and continue that course you may be pleasantly surprised. My daughter was hit from behind and the other driver was clearly at fault. The offenders insurance company started with a low ball offer that we rejected outright. We were pretty honked off, my daughter was livid. After several days an adjuster came out and looked at the car, (not sure how they made the first offer with out looking at the car) After about a week they came back with a reasonable plan to have the car fixed at a local reputable shop and had it fixed at no cost to us.

If the insurance company does not come around, then talk to an attorney. It will cost you a few $, but will be money well spent.


#5

@Roger124
Roger, this is why I carry collision insurance on my cars. I’ve had this happen 3 times (none my fault and other driver cited) and my insurance company always stood behind me. I’ve come out on top every time.

When you choose no collision insurance, you roll the dice. You’ve saved money by not buying it and have actually decided to “self-insure.”

Depending on your state’s laws you are possibly or probably wasting time and money pursuing this and will probably become even more upset doing so. in my state it is a futile battle.

You lost this roll but fortunately it’s not a huge loss. I’d drive it damaged or tap the savings and pay up and get it repaired.
CSA


#6

We help with car problems. This is a legal problem. You need to talk to a lawyer.
Would you go to a barber for a toothache?


#7

Couple things here.

#1 its collision insurance that would pay for any damage done to your own vehicle. Liability ins applies to damage you did to someone else.

#2 How much damage. Small claims court has limits. It’s very easy to reach the limit with even a small accudent.

#3 Did you get a police report?

#4 Refuse any settlement until they meet your demands. Let them know this. Management will be asking them to clear it off the books.


#8

I can tell you what worked very well with me one time. I wrecked my old Corvette and the other party was at fault with 40 witnesses who saw it all. Her insurance company (Hartford) started lowballing me on the Corvette. This went on for several weeks until finally the Hartford rep at their office in Santa Ana, CA just very snidely said you can take it or leave it; or sue us. In no uncertain terms I told him where to go and what to do once he arrived.

After sitting around stewing for a few days a friend introduced me to an insurance adjuster who said he would introduce me to a lawyer he knows. The lawyer met with me (on the side in his private bar next to his office with pool table and all. He told me to help myself to the liquor until he finished with a client.

After hearing the story he handed me his card and told me to call the Hartford rep back and drop his name. The attorney said I should mention that I’m no hurry now to settle it because I’ve developed a stiff back and chronic headaches.
The Hartford rep did a sudden 180 and was kissing my hiney so bad it was embarassing. When he asked again about how much I wanted he said no problem; just drop by and the check will be waiting. He also said I could keep the wreck.
Of course when I dropped by an hour later he was gone “due to a family emergency”.

Maybe you need to drop a few comments about seeing a doctor over your neck and blurred vision, etc. :smile:


#9

Yeah a private adjuster would be a good idea. My experience with analysis by the safety council though hardly ever ever said an accident was 100% one person’s fault. Even sitting at a stop light and getting rear ended reflected not leaving space ahead of the next car and taking evasive action. So trying to get 100% might be a little unrealistic. One of the advantages of having full coverage is that the insurance companies represent you in any action. Its free legal representation so you may want to re-consider your policy.


#10

I was self insured for quite a few decades when I lived in the Midwest. I had to go through this process by myself a few times during that period. You’re putting the cart in front of the horse. First and foremost, you need to educate yourself on the laws in your state. The state I lived in had a comparative negligence approach to liability. In other words, each person could be assigned some degree of responsibility for the incident and then the monetary damages would be awarded appropriately based on that percentage. If you live in such a state, the likelihood that the other driver’s insurance company is going to say you have something like 10% responsibility just for being involved is almost certain. Fighting that is going to cost more than it’s worth unless you’re talking about 10s of thousands of $ in damages. Start by educating yourself on the laws in your state unless your damages >$10k. Otherwise, seek legal counsel.


#11

Thank you very much for all your comments.
I know I could avoid all this trouble by getting collision coverage. But my car is 2006 Ford Focus, which is probably worth less than a couple of thousand dollars according to insurance companies. The damage is was to my rear bumper cover. I am thinking it could not cost more than $1,000, even at the most expensive body shop. Small claims court here in MA is upto $5,000 or $7,000. I can’t remember exactly, but it is way more than the cost to repair the car. One thing on my side is that my insurance company decided that it was 100% fault of the other driver and told the other insurance company that it won’t be paying for any damage. My insurance company said that it can give me that document. It looks like the other insurance company accepted my insurance company’s decision that it was their policyholder’s fault when it came to repairing their car, but it decided to blame me for 20% in repairing my car. They just want to save some money, becausse I am a little guy. This is what infuriates me. If my insurance company decided to accept 20% liability in repairing the other person’s car, and they want me to pay 20% liability for reparing my car, I would understand.


#12

Check the fine print from your insurer concerning collision insurance and their responsibility to you if the other party is at fault. It may be in your insurance policy or on line at their web site. I suggest this so that you can determine whether your insurer will represent you or not. It sounds like the other party’s insurer is trying to play a 20% deductible game with you. It seems that you can still drive the car, and you should be in no pRticulR hurry to accept the settlement offered.


#13

A year ago november wife got rear ended, we had collision, She was stoped at a red light and the other driver was ticketed. 1k deductable and had to pay that as the othr insurance company would not even respond to our insurance company. Your insurance company is the one to be dealing with them. We 1 month later got our deductable, but the medical bills from whiplash were getting the same treatment. Wife got tired of waiting for a settlement offer, and our insurance company was dealing with medical bills in the mean time. Wife hired a layer, still waiting.


#14

Things to understand. Every State has a Statute of Limitations. It requires that if you sue someone you have to start the suit within a certain amount of time after the loss. It could be one year, it could be two, who knows? Every State has its own law.

As far as I know, every State in some way or another has a Department that licenses and oversees insurance companies. And every State requires that insurance companies deal with you “in good faith”. So, from now on make notes of every day and time you talk to the insurance company, and what was said. If they stonewall you then tell them they aren’t dealing in good faith, and they are forcing you to bring this to the attention of the State regulators.

I recently wrote to another poster that you should always be courteous and polite (even with Bozo the Clown), you should maintain a sense of humor with the poor slob who’s working for the insurance company and getting yelled at all day, and you should understand that the central point of negotiation is making a deal. Not winning everything.


#15

3 centuries ago you would. LoL!


#16

I can’t give courtroom legal advise but have my state’s insurance laws and personal experience with a similar accident. I have no idea what state you are in and laws can differ. In mine if you are not at fault you can have your vehicle returned to pre accident condition at no cost to you minus deductible if you have collision insurance. If you have liability insurance your insurance company should support you. If they are not you should be able to file a complaint with your state insurance commissioner’s office


#17

Barbers used to fix teeth…long, long time ago.


#18

If it costs $750 to replace the rear bumper cover the out of pocket cost would be $150, not worth the time and stress of fighting this for myself.

Have the damage inspected for further damage, a light hit can total an inexpensive car like this one. If there is a kink in the quarter panel or roof the car will likely be totaled.


#19

“fix teeth” . . . is relative

I believe barbers used to PULL teeth, a long, long time ago

:grinning:


#20

It’s called a “permanent fix”