Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

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onourway
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Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by onourway » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:52 pm

My mother was recently in an accident where she was t-boned by a driver who ran a stop sign. The other driver was ticketed. Her car is un-drivable and she doesn't have a spare vehicle. The other driver's insurance is dragging their feet on accepting liability and until they do so they will not provide a rental car. It has been a week so far and they say it could be another week or more. Her own policy does not have rental car coverage. Is this normal or is there something she can do to get a rental paid for in the meantime?

ResearchMed
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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:55 pm

onourway wrote:My mother was recently in an accident where she was t-boned by a driver who ran a stop sign. The other driver was ticketed. Her car is un-drivable and she doesn't have a spare vehicle. The other driver's insurance is dragging their feet on accepting liability and until they do so they will not provide a rental car. It has been a week so far and they say it could be another week or more. Her own policy does not have rental car coverage. Is this normal or is there something she can do to get a rental paid for in the meantime?
Has she filed with her own insurer?
They are much better equipped to deal with the "other" insurer.

Also, is she not able to rent a car and collect for it later?
Her own agent may offer suggestions about how to handle this, also.

What is "normal" is that "the other insurer" will not be inclined to pay for everything quickly, etc.

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onourway
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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by onourway » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:58 pm

I'm not sure if she has 'filed' with her own insurer, but I told her that she should only be dealing with them. My assumption was they would cover a rental and go after the other driver's insurance for payment. However they told her that she doesn't have coverage for car rental on her policy so she can pay out of pocket and they will submit it to the other insurance company but there is no guarantee it will be paid.

She could pay out of pocket if she needed to, but I think she would rather not if there is any chance she might not get paid back. She can get by without a car for a while.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by tim1999 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:19 pm

When I was rear-ended, I did not have rental car coverage. I went through my insurance company and they got the other driver's company to pay for the rental. They did have a strict daily cost limit though - like $35 per day and I had to pay anything over it. It was enough to pay for a Corolla from Enterprise. I suspect if the accident were my fault, I would have been out of luck on getting the rental paid for.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by Liberty1100 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:01 pm

First, make sure your mom is 100% okay. If she has some sort of whiplash or bruised or possible fractured bones that she discovered a day or two later, make sure you take note and see a doctor about it. Doctor's notes are very good evidence if you need their insurance to pay up for injuries.

Second, I believe it is common for other's insurance to cover a "like" car. They don't pay for an upgrade, but I would definitely demand a "like" car.

Third, I would call the insurance company and ask them what is taking so long. There might be a hold up on the police report, for example. Keep bugging them.

Fourth, I would prepare to go after diminished value if the car is not a total loss. You should be compensated on the loss of resale value of your car and things should be as if it never happened, minus the inconvenience of waiting on the phone, standing outside for the police and tow truck. Google it. Be careful when you agree with it. You might be waiving your ability to claim any other damage of you or your car.


*(When I say you, I may mean your mom)

kenner
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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by kenner » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:09 pm

The at-fault party's insurance company may be waiting on the accident report, witness statements, evidence of the physical damage to the vehicles, repair estimates, etc. Do you have current access to any of this?

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dm200
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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by dm200 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:16 pm

In my opinion, she should file with her own insurance company right away. That would be collision coverage (initially) and then her insurance company will go after the other company. If the other insurance company and/or driver is foot dragging, they need a "push". I would now let the professionals at her company deal with them.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by mouses » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:18 pm

I would also be sure your Mom is okay physically. Then I would leave things in the hands of her insurance company. If she has a good one, like AMICA, then they will take care of her according to the provisions of her policy. If she has some other company, things may be more difficult.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by dm200 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:40 pm

kenner wrote:The at-fault party's insurance company may be waiting on the accident report, witness statements, evidence of the physical damage to the vehicles, repair estimates, etc. Do you have current access to any of this?
Yes, they might be. Then again, they may be just "stalling".

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by kenner » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:52 pm

dm200 wrote:
kenner wrote:The at-fault party's insurance company may be waiting on the accident report, witness statements, evidence of the physical damage to the vehicles, repair estimates, etc. Do you have current access to any of this?
Yes, they might be. Then again, they may be just "stalling".
True. In which case I would do what I could to expedite their analysis of all relevant information, or hire an aggressive attorney to do that for me.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by Liberty1100 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:47 pm

No need for attorney here. Your insurance company with do that for you if you ask. You are paying for their services even if you don't "go through" them.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by garlicpotato » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:07 pm

I am a longtime lurker who registered for an account just so I could reply to your message.

You and your mother have my sympathy. Something similar happened to my wife while were were living in different cites. She was rear-ended, the other driver admitted fault and was cited, my wife suffered mild spine and neck injuries, and her car was totaled. The other driver's insurance refused to supply a rental car or quickly accept liability. My wife needed a car to get to her medical treatments and to get to work, and the stress of getting the insurance-company-run-around was making her miserable and adversely affecting her recovery.

I was advised by a friend to call an attorney, so she could deal with the insurance nonsense for us. But I was raised to believe reasonable people could resolve their differences without attorneys, so we wanted to give the insurance people a fair chance to avoid a lawsuit. Hence, we sent them a certified letter, return receipt requested, pointing out that their client was clearly at fault, had admitted fault, and was cited. We included a photo of the damage and copy of the police report. We gave them 48 hours from receipt of the letter to supply a rental car and acknowledge their responsibilities, or else we would seek legal representation to assist us. The insurance company declined our requests, claiming that their investigation was still ongoing.

At that point, we picked up a rental car and hired an attorney. I'm glad we did: the stress instantly vanished, and my wife was able to focus on her recovery. After the process worked itself out, we were compensated for all our damages, including the rental car. The attorney worked her tail off for us and handled all the hassle with the insurance company -- she earned every dollar she made.

The only disadvantage is that it took about one year for all the dust to settle. If you need cash right now, a quick settlement with the insurance company may be your best option.

Best of luck, whatever route you take.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:04 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (insurance).
Liberty1100 wrote:No need for attorney here. Your insurance company with do that for you if you ask. You are paying for their services even if you don't "go through" them.
^^^This. A few years ago, my Mom was involved in an at-fault accident (she's OK). Apparently, a few law suits were filed and she got concerned - what should I do with these papers? No problem. A quick call to the insurance company resulted in a very clear understanding that your insurance company must defend you - regardless if you're at fault. They've got tons of lawyers who deal with this stuff on a daily basis.

I turned everything over to them, they took care of it. I also found out that they can get police reports in no time flat.

Since my Mom is elderly, she let me handle the discussions with the attorney and claim adjusters. We were guided on how to deal with the matter. The lawyers did some negotiation to settle the lawsuits, which came out of her liability (tip: keep liability coverage). All I told my Mom was that "It's taken care of, don't worry", I made sure things went smoothly with the auto repair shop and claim adjuster.

In summary, the OP should step-in and call the insurance company with Mom present. Get permission to discuss the situation directly with the adjuster and the lawyer. That's what I did. I have no idea how she could have handled this on her own.
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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by dm200 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:17 pm

garlicpotato wrote:I am a longtime lurker who registered for an account just so I could reply to your message.
You and your mother have my sympathy. Something similar happened to my wife while were were living in different cites. She was rear-ended, the other driver admitted fault and was cited, my wife suffered mild spine and neck injuries, and her car was totaled. The other driver's insurance refused to supply a rental car or quickly accept liability. My wife needed a car to get to her medical treatments and to get to work, and the stress of getting the insurance-company-run-around was making her miserable and adversely affecting her recovery.
I was advised by a friend to call an attorney, so she could deal with the insurance nonsense for us. But I was raised to believe reasonable people could resolve their differences without attorneys, so we wanted to give the insurance people a fair chance to avoid a lawsuit. Hence, we sent them a certified letter, return receipt requested, pointing out that their client was clearly at fault, had admitted fault, and was cited. We included a photo of the damage and copy of the police report. We gave them 48 hours from receipt of the letter to supply a rental car and acknowledge their responsibilities, or else we would seek legal representation to assist us. The insurance company declined our requests, claiming that their investigation was still ongoing.
At that point, we picked up a rental car and hired an attorney. I'm glad we did: the stress instantly vanished, and my wife was able to focus on her recovery. After the process worked itself out, we were compensated for all our damages, including the rental car. The attorney worked her tail off for us and handled all the hassle with the insurance company -- she earned every dollar she made.
The only disadvantage is that it took about one year for all the dust to settle. If you need cash right now, a quick settlement with the insurance company may be your best option.
Best of luck, whatever route you take.
I am glad things worked out - in the end.

In this case, though, why didn't you file claims with your insurance company first and let your insurance company - and their lawyers - get things moving against the at fault driver? Might it have gone faster that way?

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by StevieG72 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:53 pm

That is a ridiculous amount of time!

When this happened to me, I just secured a rental myself with a credit card the next day and once the insurance company took responsibility they took over the rental reservation. My credit card was never charged.

Obviously if the other driver is not found to be at fault, they will not pay for the rental.

In my case I was stopped and other driver rear ended my vehicle.

My claim has since been settled, the biggest headache of the whole process was the rental. When they did "authorize" a rental they wanted to put me in a compact, I was driving a SUV. Also as soon as they determined my vehicle was a total loss they stopped paying for the rental, even before payment was made for the value of my vehicle.
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onourway
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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by onourway » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:28 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I am grateful for every one. While I have been participating in groups like this since the early usenet days this forum is truly a breath of fresh air. It is very comforting to know I can get well considered advice from others who have dealt with the same issues without any of the garbage that usually accompanies internet message boards.

Anyhow I haven't actually seen my mom since this happened. I don't have any reason to believe she is physically injured but I will check in with her again to be certain. She is fully capable of handling stuff like this on her own - to an extent - however she won't have the force of will to push difficult things through. I don't believe there is any reason to get an attorney involved - she doesn't have one and like I said, this is not a major issue for her just an inconvenience. How does retaining an attorney in a case like this work? Who ultimately foots the bill?

If need be I will get involved and press the issue on determining fault, etc. If she decides she needs a rental it seems like it's probably worth the risk of assuming the other insurance will ultimately cover it.

Again, appreciate all the advice.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by patriciamgr2 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:47 pm

Ask your insurer to contact the other drivers' insurer to (1) notify them that, because they have failed to respond, you're planning to contact your own rental car company in 48 hours & will expect full reimbursement of whatever rate you negotiate plus compensation for taxis, etc. in the interim; (2) find out what specific documents/investigative actions [Is there a question whether the insurance covered the other driver, for example?] they are waiting for to complete their investigation; & (3) while expressing your reasonable nature to your own insurer, suggest that you believe contact with the state insurance commission or hiring a lawyer may be required to avoid the other insurer taking advantage of this lady. It's likely your comments will be shared with the feet-draggers.

I wouldn't wait more than a few days before escalating. [I've settled my few car accidents--all other driver's fault--without ever having to use a lawyer, but I've never encountered this sort of nonsense from any insurer. There's NO reason you should tolerate it; I wouldn't.]

Your insurer is not likely to help you negotiated Diminished Value--there are several helpful DV threads on this Forum for you if you decide not to use a lawyer.

Good Luck. /edited to reflect OP's latest post/
Last edited by patriciamgr2 on Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by patriciamgr2 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:02 pm

Just saw your latest post.

In the case of no personal injury, it may be tough to get a lawyer interested in taking the case on contingency (you pay nothing up front, they take 25-33% of recovery less car repair costs). However, firms that do a lot of this work may be willing to send a letter or negotiate Diminished Value for a flat fee.

One way you can help your mother is to identify competent repair shops in her area. Most states do not require that you use the insurer's repair shop. You should also identify whether, in her state, insurers are allowed to use any parts or whether they have to be new, OEM parts (this matters more on certain types of autos/certain types of accidents).

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by Rupert » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:16 am

onourway wrote:Thank you all for your comments. I am grateful for every one. While I have been participating in groups like this since the early usenet days this forum is truly a breath of fresh air. It is very comforting to know I can get well considered advice from others who have dealt with the same issues without any of the garbage that usually accompanies internet message boards.

Anyhow I haven't actually seen my mom since this happened. I don't have any reason to believe she is physically injured but I will check in with her again to be certain. She is fully capable of handling stuff like this on her own - to an extent - however she won't have the force of will to push difficult things through. I don't believe there is any reason to get an attorney involved - she doesn't have one and like I said, this is not a major issue for her just an inconvenience. How does retaining an attorney in a case like this work? Who ultimately foots the bill?

If need be I will get involved and press the issue on determining fault, etc. If she decides she needs a rental it seems like it's probably worth the risk of assuming the other insurance will ultimately cover it.

Again, appreciate all the advice.
Don't go out and hire your own lawyer. That's what your mother's insurance company is for. If she files a claim on her collision policy and lets her insurer pursue the other driver through subrogation, they will provide her a lawyer if necessary (but it's very unlikely that it would be necessary in this case given that it's pretty clear who was at fault and there are no medical claims). Why in the world would a person spend their own money on a lawyer rather than using the insurance policy they've already paid for?

Edited to note this: Some insurance companies are just more difficult to deal with than others. Your mother's insurance agent should be able to tell her if that's what is going on here. I was hit by a driver in a rental car a few years ago, and the first thing my agent said to me when I called him was, "Definitely file on your own collision policy because rental car companies self-insure and are notoriously difficult to deal with. Let us do it for you."

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by garlicpotato » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:09 pm

dm200 wrote:
garlicpotato wrote:I am a longtime lurker who registered for an account just so I could reply to your message.
You and your mother have my sympathy. Something similar happened to my wife while were were living in different cites. She was rear-ended, the other driver admitted fault and was cited, my wife suffered mild spine and neck injuries, and her car was totaled. The other driver's insurance refused to supply a rental car or quickly accept liability. My wife needed a car to get to her medical treatments and to get to work, and the stress of getting the insurance-company-run-around was making her miserable and adversely affecting her recovery.
I was advised by a friend to call an attorney, so she could deal with the insurance nonsense for us. But I was raised to believe reasonable people could resolve their differences without attorneys, so we wanted to give the insurance people a fair chance to avoid a lawsuit. Hence, we sent them a certified letter, return receipt requested, pointing out that their client was clearly at fault, had admitted fault, and was cited. We included a photo of the damage and copy of the police report. We gave them 48 hours from receipt of the letter to supply a rental car and acknowledge their responsibilities, or else we would seek legal representation to assist us. The insurance company declined our requests, claiming that their investigation was still ongoing.
At that point, we picked up a rental car and hired an attorney. I'm glad we did: the stress instantly vanished, and my wife was able to focus on her recovery. After the process worked itself out, we were compensated for all our damages, including the rental car. The attorney worked her tail off for us and handled all the hassle with the insurance company -- she earned every dollar she made.
The only disadvantage is that it took about one year for all the dust to settle. If you need cash right now, a quick settlement with the insurance company may be your best option.
Best of luck, whatever route you take.
I am glad things worked out - in the end.

In this case, though, why didn't you file claims with your insurance company first and let your insurance company - and their lawyers - get things moving against the at fault driver? Might it have gone faster that way?
dm200: That is an excellent question, and I was remiss not to discuss that topic in my original reply. We did contact our own insurance company (Progressive), almost immediately. The result was perfectly logical, yet terribly disappointing. They explained that they would work very hard to recover whatever money they ended up paying out, period. In our case, that was limited to claims made under our medical payments coverage. We were not carrying rental car coverage (since we could easily self insure) and collision (since the car was 20 years old), so we were on our own for those things. It was quite clear that Progressive's incentives were very weakly aligned with ours. Progressive repeatedly refused to provide any clear plan of action, specific steps they would take towards resolution, a proposed timeline, etc. Quite literally, the only thing that changed after we contacted our own insurance company is that my wife had to play phone tag with two insurers instead of one. Perhaps we were unlucky and our experience was unusual, but we found that our own insurer was worse than useless.

OP: Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If your mother likes the way she has been treated, and wants that treatment to continue indefinitely, then she should absolutely not contact an attorney. Because once she does, she will have a knowledgeable and tireless advocate to guide her through the process, deal with all the parties involved, and whose incentives are closely aligned with her own.
Last edited by garlicpotato on Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by PandaBear » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:18 pm

As others have mentioned, make sure your mom goes through her insurer and have them bug the crap out of the at-fault driver's insurer. Additionally, both times I've been in a collision (both times not at fault), one thing that always got the other insurance agency to get me a rental more easily was that I was always willing to downgrade to the cheapest car Enterprise had--mostly because I drive a big truck and I don't like driving big trucks :P

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:44 pm

dm200: That is an excellent question, and I was remiss not to discuss that topic in my original reply. We did contact our own insurance company (Progressive), almost immediately. The result was perfectly logical, yet terribly disappointing. They explained that they would work very hard to recover whatever money they ended up paying out, period. In our case, that was limited to claims made under our medical payments coverage. We were not carrying rental car coverage (since we could easily self insure) and collision (since the car was 20 years old), so we were on our own for those things. It was quite clear that Progressive's incentives were very weakly aligned with ours. Progressive repeatedly refused to provide any clear plan of action, specific steps they would take towards resolution, a proposed timeline, etc. Quite literally, the only thing that changed after we contacted our own insurance company is that my wife had to play phone tag with two insurers instead of one. Perhaps we were unlucky and our experience was unusual, but we found that our own insurer was worse than useless.
OK, that makes sense that without Collision coverage, there was very little your insurance company could (or would) do in your case. Not everyone carries "medical payments" (we do not) and that coverage is quite limited. I suspect that if you had collision coverage and filed a claim, then your insurance company would have pursued the other at fault driver quite strongly. Perhaps that is an argument for carrying collision coverage longer.

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Re: Car accident - at-fault driver's insurance dragging their feet

Post by kenner » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:08 pm

dm200 wrote: OK, that makes sense that without Collision coverage, there was very little your insurance company could (or would) do in your case.
That is exactly the point I was making.

The sooner the at-fault driver's insurance company has all information necessary to evaluate the damages (degree of fault, repair cost, expense for rental, diminution of value, etc.), the sooner a determination can be made as to whether that insurance company is serious about settling this case in Mom's favor.

It is rare that an attorney can add value to a property damage claim. In my own practice, I routinely handled them free of charge as a way to promote goodwill and keep the insurance companies somewhat honest. The companies generally have considerable financial leverage in property damage claims.

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