Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

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smalhotra2000
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:03 pm

Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by smalhotra2000 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:13 am

Looking for the board collective wisdom on the next best step to take in this scenario:

The accident happened in NJ. My car (Car A) was rear ended while 'driving' on a County road. The car that rear ended me (Car B) in-turn
was read ended by another car (Car C).

I filed claim with Car B insurance (Liberty Mutual) and they came back and said that their insured was not at fault and I should go after Car C driver. I come to find out that Car C driver did not have insurance so nothing can be done there.

I only have liability insurance, so if Liberty refuses to pay, my only option will be to file a claim with my insurance company under uninsured pool coverage.

My question is, can Liberty Mutual has any legal ground to refuse to pay for the claim? At the end it was their insured who caused damage to my car. Given that the cars were travelling, it was Car B driver responsibility to maintain safe driving distance to not hit my car. What can I do to get Liberty Mutual to pay the claim?

Rupert
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:27 am

You have to sue the drivers of Car B and Car C. Who is responsible for your damages will depend on state law, i.e., if NJ is a contributory or comparative negligence state. If you had collision coverage, your insurance company would sue them for you, but since you don't, you'll have to speak to a plaintiff's lawyer who handles car accident cases. (This is one reason why maintaining collision coverage even on an old car can be a good idea.) They'll often take such cases on a contingency fee basis. And what do you mean by "'driving' on a County road"? What exactly were the circumstances of the accident? Rear-end accidents typically happen when someone brakes suddenly or someone fails to stop soon enough at a redlight, etc. They rarely happen when three cars are all moving down a roadway.

jminv
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by jminv » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:29 am

You can sue the driver/owner of car B and the insurer will defend them. You could also sue the driver of car C if they have some sort of assets you could take. Get a free consultation with a local lawyer. Were you also injured in the accident?

Thegame14
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:30 am

TBH, sounds suspicious to say "driving", sounds more like off-roading and I am not sure insurance would cover someone getting into an accident while off-roading.

tenkuky
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by tenkuky » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:33 am

Thegame14 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:30 am
TBH, sounds suspicious to say "driving", sounds more like off-roading and I am not sure insurance would cover someone getting into an accident while off-roading.
Is any driving on a non-paved surface considered off-roading?
What about a driveway/road that is not paved, as some are in rural areas?
Some agencies specify that in car rental agreements (e.g. Alaska's Dalton Hwy), but not sure about own vehicle and own insurance coverage.
Can someone clarify?

smalhotra2000
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by smalhotra2000 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:13 pm

Clarification: the reference to County road meant nothing. It was a two lane paved road in Newark city. By 'driving' I wanted to make it clear that the cars were not 'standing' at a traffic light or such, in case there is a legal distinction between the two.

If I could, I would like to avoid lawsuit (too much effort!) to settle this matter unless the only way for me to get Liberty Mutual to pay is to sue Car B driver. Is not the easiest route is to go after the NJ Uninsured motorist coverage? Anyone has experience with a similar situation?

thanks!

Rupert
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:33 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:13 pm
Clarification: the reference to County road meant nothing. It was a two lane paved road in Newark city. By 'driving' I wanted to make it clear that the cars were not 'standing' at a traffic light or such, in case there is a legal distinction between the two.

If I could, I would like to avoid lawsuit (too much effort!) to settle this matter unless the only way for me to get Liberty Mutual to pay is to sue Car B driver. Is not the easiest route is to go after the NJ Uninsured motorist coverage? Anyone has experience with a similar situation?

thanks!
Under UI, you could collect for damages caused by Car C but not by Car B. And a determination would have to be made as to whether you were partially responsible as well. File the claim, and see what your insurance company says.

GmanJeff
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by GmanJeff » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:43 pm

One option is to do nothing and absorb the damages yourself as the cost of not having comprehensive insurance coverage, a risk you knowingly assumed in return for lower insurance premiums. Without knowing the amount of your damages, it's difficult to offer advice in this regard. That said, you allude to the availability of some kind of uninsured motorist coverage under your policy, so pursuing that would seem logical if it affords coverage under these circumstances.

You can instead sue Driver B. Just because B's insurance is refusing your claim does not mean they won't settle if sued, or that they won't lose if they proceed to trial.

You can additionally or alternatively sue the driver of Car C. The absence of insurance for Driver C is not a bar to potential recovery from Driver C, who may nonetheless have an income and/or assets, now or in the future, which can be pursued to satisfy a judgment.

megabad
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by megabad » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:07 pm

GmanJeff wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:43 pm
That said, you allude to the availability of some kind of uninsured motorist coverage under your policy, so pursuing that would seem logical if it affords coverage under these circumstances.
Does anyone have any first hand or anecdotal evidence that pursuing an uninsured motorist claim will cause your premiums to rise? I may have a similar situation.

aristotelian
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by aristotelian » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:07 pm

It sounds like Liberty is going to fight your claim, as they should since their car was not at fault. Sounds like filing a claim with your company is your best bet. Do you actually have uninsured motorist protection?

pj1983
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by pj1983 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:13 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:13 am
Looking for the board collective wisdom on the next best step to take in this scenario:

The accident happened in NJ. My car (Car A) was rear ended while 'driving' on a County road. The car that rear ended me (Car B) in-turn
was read ended by another car (Car C).

(snip)
Did Car B hit you first and then Car C hit Car B causing a second hit, or did Car C push Car B into you? If the former, which is what I think you meant by "in-turn", I think your recourse is against Car B and Liberty Mutual; if the latter, Car C although there may be shared responsibility.

My son and I were in a similar accident while stopped at a traffic light on a multilane road. One of the first questions the police asked us was, "Did you feel one hit or two?" We only felt one hit, which translates to Car C pushed Car B into us. We went after Car C's insurance first and let the insurance companies sort it out.

I am curious about Liberty Mutual's logic about their insured's lack of fault. Is there a police report that points toward Car C as the sole cause?

OnTrack2020
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by OnTrack2020 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:19 pm

What was the dollar amount of damage done to your vehicle?

smalhotra2000
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by smalhotra2000 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm

Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.

GmanJeff
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by GmanJeff » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:03 pm

Frankly, $3500 isn't worth litigating over, except perhaps in small claims court without counsel, if that venue is available to you and you don't value your time too much.

John Doe 123
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by John Doe 123 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:06 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
Car C is at fault. If you have uninsured motorist coverage then file a claim with your insurance.

pshonore
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by pshonore » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:12 pm

John Doe 123 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:06 pm
smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
Car C is at fault. If you have uninsured motorist coverage then file a claim with your insurance.
In most states, uninsured motorist coverage covers bodily injury claims; in a few it also covers property damage. If you have collision coverage, that should pay to fix your car (minus the deductible)

barnaclebob
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:13 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
This is different than what you said in the first post. (C hits B, which hits you vs B hits you then C hits B) It depends on your particular state law for who is at fault. Some states would put the blame for your damage onto Car B others Car C would be at fault for all. I'd file with your insurance company and let them handle it from there.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jminv
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by jminv » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:14 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
Then you need to sue car c and/or use the uninsured motorist coverage you mentioned if it actually covers collision. From your initial post it seemed like car b was really at fault but they’re not and that’s why liberty isn’t paying. If you need collision you should add it from now on.

z91
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by z91 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:15 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:13 pm
smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
This is different than what you said in the first post. (C hits B, which hits you vs B hits you then C hits B) It depends on your particular state law for who is at fault. Some states would put the blame for your damage onto Car B others Car C would be at fault for all. I'd file with your insurance company and let them handle it from there.
Yep, don't make things complicated. File with insurer and let them handle it. They'll do all the legwork assuming you have the other drivers' information.

niceguy7376
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by niceguy7376 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:21 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
Your original post indicated it was a 2 hit for your car. If above is true, Car B and its insurance is not responsible for anything to you. Car C is entirely responsible .

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Artful Dodger
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by Artful Dodger » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:27 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
I'm with the others who say since you dropped collision, you're on the hook for the repairs, absent an offer from Car B or Car C.

You might check with some friends or mechanics you know for a low cost autobody shop. We used to use a local guy who was always 50-75% cheaper than the regular autobody shops who only did insurance claims. (It was actually called GET REAL Auto) You've got an older car since you dropped collision. The repair doesn't need to get it back to looking brand new. Just ask what can be done to make the car drive safely and back to reasonably decent looking.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:07 pm

niceguy7376 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:21 pm
smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
Your original post indicated it was a 2 hit for your car. If above is true, Car B and its insurance is not responsible for anything to you. Car C is entirely responsible .
Does that depend on the state? I thought if you were all moving then Car B is responsible for damage to OP's car, since Car B should have maintained a safe distance, but if OP and Car B were stopped when Car C came along and hit Car B, then Car C was responsible for all the damage.

See if you can check your state laws on this, then decide what to do. Are the facts in question? Are all 3 drivers telling the police and Liberty the same story? Because, and this will shock you, sometimes people lie about what happened.

Rupert
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by Rupert » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:17 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:07 pm
niceguy7376 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:21 pm
smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:56 pm
Yes, it was a single hit, car C hit Car B and Car B plowed into my car. I took the car to a local body shop and they estimated the damage to be around $3,500.
Your original post indicated it was a 2 hit for your car. If above is true, Car B and its insurance is not responsible for anything to you. Car C is entirely responsible .
Does that depend on the state? I thought if you were all moving then Car B is responsible for damage to OP's car, since Car B should have maintained a safe distance, but if OP and Car B were stopped when Car C came along and hit Car B, then Car C was responsible for all the damage.

See if you can check your state laws on this, then decide what to do. Are the facts in question? Are all 3 drivers telling the police and Liberty the same story? Because, and this will shock you, sometimes people lie about what happened.
+1. There is lots of bad amateur legal advice on this thread. It is not always the case that the tailing driver is at fault in a rear end collision. Usually they are, but not always. OP has not given us sufficient facts to determine who is at fault in his accident, e.g., were OP's brake lights working? were Car B's brake lights working? did OP stop suddenly to make a turn without indicating? were all three cars following each other too closely? etc. OP, file your UI claim with your insurance if you have that coverage, and let them sort it out. It's not as clear cut as some would have you believe.

arf1410
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by arf1410 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:53 pm

For the sake of discussion, lets assume you are 100% not at fault. My understanding then is that Car B owes you, and they can always subrogate to try to collect from Car C, if evidence shows C pushed B into you. If Car B insurance refuses to pay, that's what the State Insurance commissioner is for. Though a different sort of accident, a couple of decades ago I had 2 different insurance companies that each said the other one should pay. I contacted the State Insurance commissioner, and their office wrote a letter ordering the appropriate insurer to pay.

Nate79
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by Nate79 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:08 pm

This depends on state law. In some states Car B can be responsible no matter what.

tampaite
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by tampaite » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:45 pm

smalhotra2000 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:13 am
What can I do to get Liberty Mutual to pay the claim?
You missed to provide key detail. what does the police report say?

It's called chain of causation.

You should go after Car C and if they don't have insurance, you can sue them in civil court but that's about it.

BoilerUp
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Re: Insurance refusing to pay for car accident

Post by BoilerUp » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:22 pm

arf1410 wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:53 pm
For the sake of discussion, lets assume you are 100% not at fault. My understanding then is that Car B owes you, and they can always subrogate to try to collect from Car C, if evidence shows C pushed B into you. If Car B insurance refuses to pay, that's what the State Insurance commissioner is for. Though a different sort of accident, a couple of decades ago I had 2 different insurance companies that each said the other one should pay. I contacted the State Insurance commissioner, and their office wrote a letter ordering the appropriate insurer to pay.
This. I have no firsthand experience and initially it sounds counter-intuitive, but in general this is the way I have understood that it works. State laws may vary your experience.

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