The Battle with The Insurance Company

My fiancee and I need advice ASAP! Back in March, my fiancee was a victim of a car accident that total only the left side of the car. Well the other party insurance company was happily willing to repair the car and reimburse rental car fees. LUCKY? I wish! My fiancee was laid off because of his injuries (which didn’t give me any slack with bills), the car repairments was about a month and a half and we couldn’t afford the rental even though we were gonna get reimburse,and at one point we was force to leave the hotel (BEING HOMELESS)where we was staying while we was waiting for our new apartment to be ready. I remember sleeping in the car many nights just to wait to go to work the next morning… NO JOKE! I got paid $792 a month (YEP, that $396 and some change every two weeks). Bills: $ 304 car note, Food Expenses, Medication for my fiancee, and enough to stay only every other week at a budget motel for $200(A WEEK) plus TAX! You dothe MATH! Eventually we had to let go of our EXPECTING apartment and look for another one because I wouldn’t be able to afford it with just my income alone. After all of that, the insurance company only wanted to give us $2500 for everything and his bills not even half of that. What should we do?

The insurance company should fix the car. If you didn’t use the rental there is no rental reimbursement due you. If you were expecting cash for the rental that you didn’t use then that is a miscalculation on your part.

Sorry for your misfortune, hope you get things worked out and back on track someday soon.

No, no, no…I think you misunderstood. We aren’t expecting money back for rental fees. We are expecting them to pay for hospital bills, job loss wages, and pain/suffering…Don’t you think we deserve some type a payment??? I mean we aren’t looking for no 10,000. But just something to help get us back to where we was. And frankly I don’t think 2500 is enough.

Getting insurance companies to pay for property damage is pretty straight forward. Getting them to pay for hospital bills is possible. If the victim was taken to the hospital by ambulance after the accident and admitted the insurance company should pay the hospital bills.

If the victim went to a doctor a few days later on their own the insurance compamy is going to be tough to get a payment for that. Job losses, lost wages, pain and suffering are the things they fight the hardest about and you’ll likely have to get legal help from a lawyer for any satisfaction on those claims.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a good case, but it will be a fight none the less.

Oh I see! Well honestly do you think we have a good case? My fiancee is ready to settle but I keep telling him he should fight it. We try to at first but the lawyer we had was busy doing other things. I don’t know what to do. He wants to get a car so he can go job hunting. We only have one car and I used that MOST of the time for work.

If you are affiliated with a church they might be able to help you find a lawyer. Perhaps the “Legal Aid Society”, even check with the local procecuter’s office for some legal referrals. If your first lawyer wasn’t interested in your case, look for another.

Job hunting is important, your job is important as you need income. Figuring out how to best share the one car is the only answer I’ve got for that one. I’m sure you are working on how to do that already.

This probably isn’t the place to be asking around about insurance claims pertaining to medical bills, pain/suffering, and lost wages. You situation is unfortunate, but I don’t think ranting on an automotive message board is going to help much. With that said, if this happened in March and it’s now August, how long were you waiting for this apartment? Four months? Were you living in the hotel for four months? Forgive me for being brash, but some of this sounds pretty unusual.

I would get a lawyer, explain as coherently as possible to the lawyer everything that has happened since the accident, if your story is compelling enough you might get what you want from the insurance company.

Maybe you need GLASSES or something to read a bit better. Did you notice that I said that we had to let go of the apartment because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to afford it on my own. That was only 1 MONTH wait… How?? Because we had already put our deposit down, but we still had to wait til they do repairments and detailing from the recent movers. When I did our budget, I knew that we wasn’t going to afford it so I call to turn down the apartment because paying my car note was important!!! From there, we had no choice but to REMAIN in a motel. Ask questions and read throughly before making any kind of comments. It has been hard on us…and until you been in our shoes, you wouldn’t NEVER know how it feels when one day you’re living the life and the next you are praying when your next meal will come or better yet where will you be staying for the night once you get off of work. I know it seem like a long time for us to do something, but we have been trying to do something, its just nothing has been falling for us. We recently was trying to settle with the insurance company, but when we try to fax in our paper work signed, the adjuster claim she didn’t agree with the price on the paper (WHICH SHE REALLY DID), so we will have to start over again. Thats why we are wondering should we try to fight this thing again, but the RIGHT way. I’m not saying I am going to get the right or wrong answer on here; But isn’t this a CAR DISCUSSION??? And isn’t this CARTALK.COM??? Well this is what happen to my car and the “DEBRIS” that we are suffered by. I just want opinions! Opinions that might can come in handy. And believe it or not so far it has. You are more and welcome to leave yours. But NEVER judge until you been in that situation.

You certainly have my sympathy. My advice is to hold out and make the insurance company think you are going to court. Ask around about attorneys. A call from an attorney may just make the insurance company straighten up. Insurance companies are weird and often try to pay the injured party as little as possible. I can give you two examples;

  1. My mother and brother were traveling in a 1960 Rambler back in 1963. The Rambler had about 36,000 miles and had just had new tires and a new battery. The Rambler was hit from behind by a semi while they were stoppped at a stoplight. The car was totaled–the engine went through the radiator. My dad was an early believer in seat belts and neither my mother nor brother was injured. The insurance company tried to low ball them–my mother held out and made the insurance company come up with an equivalent car and provide a rental. The equivalent car had 45,000 miles and only two new tires. The insurance company negotiated for the replacement and also gave a tire and battery and extra mileage allowance.

  2. My son drove a 1988 Taurus in college that I provided for him and was in my name. He loaned the car to a family in his church whose car wouldn’t start and needed to take their daughter back to her college campus. The car was hit head-on by an elderly woman who crossed the center line. Fortunately, nobody was injured, but the car was a total loss. My son needed a car in the church work he was doing, but the insurance company of the party that hit him didn’t want to provide a rental car. I finally had to call the insurance company. I used my “doctor” title and told them that I paid an extra insurance premium for my son to operate the car and if I had to drive the 50 miles to straighten this out, I would charge them for my time. When the insurance representative started to argue, I was ready. My graduate assistant was sitting next to me. On queue, she shouted, “Doctor, you are needed in the lab immediately to see some results”. I didn’t tell them that it wsa the computer lab and that I’m not an M.D.–just the kind of doctor that doesn’t do anybody and good. I started to tell the insurance representative that I would call back later, but she said that they would provide the rental immediately for my son, which they did. A couple days later, the claims adjuster called and said that my car was a total loss and he would have a check in the mail. The amount was $900 less than cars were selling in my area. I told the adjuster that the price was not right and I wanted him to find an equivalent car and get a guaranteed price. The claims adjusted indignantly replied that he did not go shopping. I said that if I had to go shopping, I would charge him for my time. He said, “I don’t have to listen to this crap”, and hung up. He called back the next day. I took command of the call and told him that I wanted two things: 1) an apology for his conduct on the telephone and 2) the price I thought I had to pay for a replacement car. He said, “I’m putting a check in the mail for the price you think your car is worth. Return the title when you get the check”. He then hung up. I got one of my two demands–fortunately it was the money.

Be firm but tough with the insurance company. You should get a good settlement. If necessary, engage an attorney. A good attorney won’t charge much for the first visit and his price to let the insurance company know that you mean business will be worth it.

I do wear contacts. I still don’t know what “Repairments” are though. I never said that it wasn’t hard on you, I’m sure it is. All I stated was that this may not be the ideal place for your rant/questions. It would be akin to someone asking how many ft/lbs. one should torque down the cylinder head bolts on 283 Chevy on a message board that deals primarily in divorce laws. Fortunately I have never been in a situation like yours, I could’ve been, but thanks to competent financial planning, I was able to live comfortably during a point in my life where I was unemployed for 9 months. I had the foresight to live within my means (not saying that you didn’t), and saved up good amount of money and assets in case such a event occurred. Right now , I could easily go without work for at least a year, probably even longer, without having to even think about touching my retirement savings, 401k, Roth IRA, or stock options. I was fortunate enough to have a grandfather who was a successful businessman who made it his business to teach me about money at an early age. I don’t have really high paying job, I don’t live in a huge house, I don’t have high end cars. But what I do have is paid for. I’ve never had car payment in my life and I don’t have mortgage to worry about either.

What I do see (and again, I’m not accusing you of anything other than questionable grammar.) is people who overextend themselves. I have friends who have a combined household income of maybe $75k a year, but they insist on living in a $750,000 house and have to have two 50k cars in the driveway. It’s no surprise that when the economy takes a dump and they get laid off or their stocks aren’t worth what they used to be, they suddenly find themselves in financial peril. The point is you have to plan for the worse case scenario, many people like to think “Oh it won’t happen to me” and as you have found out, it easily can.

Again, I hope you come out of this ok. But I don’t think ranting about it will improve your situation.

I haven’t been homeless but I’ve worked in some programs as a volunteer and I’ve seen how difficult it can be to find a decent apartment when jobs and income are disrupted. The landlords want references, deposits, and 1st and sometimes last month’s rent when the cookie jar is empty.

Perhaps this isn’t the best place to “rant” about life’s problems but this is a “outlet” where this couple can get some help by putting their problem out there and getting some advice and new options to try to get back on track. They haven’t given up and they are fighting to keep it together.

I wish I had more to offer than support at this point. I’ve not had much experience in getting insurance companies to pay claims. In 2005 I hit a deer while riding a motorcycle. The bill for the chopper ride to the hospital was $16K and the hospital bill for intensive care, and all of it was another $16K. My HMO tried to get every insurance carrier I deal with to help with the bills. They went after my homeowner’s ins., the motorcycle insurance, and eventually paid the bill to the hospital about 18 months later. I had to fill out all sorts of forms and was uncertain as to whether they eventually would say the bill was on me to pay. A very nervous and uncertain time for me, and it didn’t make the bones and muscles heal any faster. All I know is insurance companies are not eager to pay claims and getting legal help from an attorney is the best advice I can give.

There is no shortage of personal injury lawyers just salivating at the opportunity to take a case like this. They require no fee up front and will take about 1/3 of the proceeds in the end. I’m surprised that you have not been contacted by one already. They review all of the accident reports and usually contact anyone they think has a case. You should cease talking to the insurance company immediately and find a lawyer to represent you. They will do all of the negotiating and likely come to a settlement much quicker than you could do on your own. My advice…

First of all… I think you should learn how to speak English. That might help with the bills too !
I don’t see how you are going to fight it. What kind of vehicle was this? Tell us about your insurance and the persons insurance that hit your soon to be hubby. Do you have un/under-insured motorists on your policy? Do you have medical coverage on your policy. Do you have lost wages on your policy. These DO NOT come on all policy’s and are sometimes OPTIONAL. I am thinking you probably had the cheapest insurance policy that you could get and you have none of the above.
If that is true. Take the money and run before they change their mind.

BTW… That first line above was a joke. A bad one on my part. Sorry about that.

Yes we are! Thanks for all of your feedback! I will look into it NOW!!!

Before I used to think that way (SAVING UP FOR A RAINING DAY), but I don’t know what happen down the line. I guess I just got too busy to even think that one day this could happen to me. But I hope we do come out of this one day. Thanks for the chat.

Thanks…WILL DO!!

Speak to a personal injury attorney, he/she will be able to tell you straight up whether you have any kind of case. But remember, even if you do have a valid claim, it will take MONTHS and even perhaps a jury trial before you see a dime and the attorney will take 30% of your “winnings” off of the top unless you go to trial then he/she will take 40% of your award, plus costs. Good luck

Don’t automatically go for the 1/3 contingency fee that lawyers commonly take. Before you do that, ask the lawyer if you would be better off paying an hourly rate. Some cases require only a little letter writing by the lawyer and can be disposed of for little money. That is a mistake that I will not make again after I was hurt by a red light runner.

Yes, you need a lawyer and also need to cool down a little or you will not be taken seriously. Most cases do not go to trial.

And do not be pressured into signing any settlement or check as that indicates your acceptance of their offer.