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Ever fight an insurance company?

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  • Ever fight an insurance company?

    This is gonna be long, sorry....

    About 2 weeks ago I was in a car accident. A 90 year old man came flying out of his driveway and rammed into my car as I drove down the road. He said his foot slipped off the brake. Police were called,reports taken and my car towed to the body shop.

    The next day I spoke with my insurance company and the old man's insurance company. It was determined that I had no fault in the accident and his company was to pay all damages.

    A few days later I get a call from his insurance company that they determined my car a total loss and would reimburse $XX for the car. Seemed reasonable to me as now I am terrified to drive the car (it was a subcompact car. I now want something a little safer). I told him I will need to get some personal items out of the care before signing over title. The insurance guy put me on hold to call over to the shop to find out when I could go get my stuff. After about 10 minutes on hold he comes back and says change of plan....turns out once they cleaned more of the mud out from under the car the damage was not as bad as originally thought and now they are going to fix the car.

    My problems are:

    1) Can the insurance company just change their mind like that? Tell you one thing and then in 10 minutes change it?

    2) The body shop guy only makes $$ if he gets to fix the car, not if they total the car. I am afraid the damage may really be worse but he is going to fix it shoddily just so he gets a bigger pay check and I will get the short end of the stick.

    3) I am planning on selling the car immediately once it is returned. I don't want to sell something that is dangerous. Can I make the insurance company pay for an independent inspection of the work?

    4) I know the value of the car before the accident....the insurance comapny told me that when they were going to total the car. However, if I try to sell the car, even after it is fixed, I will not be able to sell if for that amount. Once a car has been in an accident it's value is permamently reduced. The insurance company is responsible for "returning the car to its pre-accident value". Therefore, if they were originally going to give me say $10K for the car, but I can only sell it for $6K then they owe me the difference.

    I am worried about being returned a car that may have problems and with a much greatly reduced value to no fault of my own.

    Would you seek legal representation? Or try to proceed on your own?

    Any advice?
    Read about my time at the Hannoveraner Verband Breeders Courses:
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  • #2
    I would start by asking for another opinion. You would probably have to pay to have it towed somewhere else to do that though.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      A lot depends on what state you're in. If you're in a "no fault" state the rules will be different than if you're in a traditional "fault" state.

      Talking to an attorney is not a bad idea. You may find you've more options than you think.

      The short answer is that you are entitled to be "made whole" by somebody's company (either yours or the other guy's). If the vehicle can be repaired then you'll get a repaired vehicle. If it can't then it gets "totaled" and you'll get a check for "book" value, minus your deductable.

      It's your car, however, and you get to have the job done correctly. This means OEM parts, good quality workmanship, etc. It's here, by the way, that we separate the "quality companies" from the "cut rate artists." There's no "free lunch," don't you know.

      A police report saying "nobody was at fault" does not mean that nobody was at fault. Police reports are not "ex cathedra" pronouncements. Indeed, from your story the guy's foot slipped off the brake and he struck you on a public road. That kind of sounds like "fault" to me. Maybe there are facts that make that not so.

      I'm sure there are lawyers that will give you consultation for no charge. If you retain them it will be on a "contingency fee" basis and they will get a percentage of what you get paid. Take the report with you along with any other documentation.

      One way to get an adjuster's attention is to point you that you've not seen your doctor, yet. I'm not suggesting anything, of course, I'm just sayin'...

      G.
      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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      • #4
        If you want to argue the decision not to total, you'll need an expert opinion on the extent of the damage and cost of repairs. I'd start with your insurance company...they are not on the hook to pay for this, but you do pay them to represent your interests. I've had my insurance company fight a few battles for me when it came to dealing with another party's insurance. At the very least, they should know of some good body shops, experienced with insurance adjusting estimates, for a second opinion.

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        • #5
          What G. said, exactly. I am an attorney for an insurance company, although I don't do Property & Casualty. Check with a GOOD attorney (you can get a referral to someone through your local Bar Association). You have the right to have the car repaired by a body shop/garage of your choice. I'd get a second opinion on the damage to the car as well.
          What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!

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          • #6
            Were you injured in the accident? Here's the advice a friend gave me when my daughter was in an accident and was injured (concussion). Tell them you're going to hire the nastiest, most aggressive personal injury lawyer in the county if they don't straighten this out quickly.

            Insurance company was singing a different tune in 2 hours in my case.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Canaqua View Post
              If you want to argue the decision not to total, you'll need an expert opinion on the extent of the damage and cost of repairs. I'd start with your insurance company...they are not on the hook to pay for this, but you do pay them to represent your interests. I've had my insurance company fight a few battles for me when it came to dealing with another party's insurance. At the very least, they should know of some good body shops, experienced with insurance adjusting estimates, for a second opinion.
              This. That's what you're paying your company for! They should do battle for you.

              I was rear-ended at a red light (so clearly the other guy's fault 100%) and then promptly ignored by his insurance company, while my vehicle sat in my driveway basically decommissioned. I called my own insurance company, said "Hey he hit me two weeks ago and my car still isn't repaired" and there was an adjuster out at my house the next day. The other company then had the gall to call me up and basically yell at me....I was only 17, so I suspect they were just trying to intimidate me. I told them to stop calling me and deal just with my agent, who was more than happy to straighten things out and get me my check.

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              • #8
                We're going to close this thread as it isn't horse-related, with our wishes to the OP for a good resolution. (Off Course is for horse-related topics that don't fit elsewhere, or apply to multiple forums...Off Topic is for non-horse-related posts and is only open occasionally. Sorry for any confusion!)

                Thanks and good luck dealing with the insurance companies!
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