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Can I fight my car insurance company blaming me for a car accident that was not my fault?

Irvine, CA |

I was in a car accident. A Mustang driving in front of me, rear ended a SUV in front of him(without breaking). I then slammed on my breaks to avoid hitting the mustang, but did rear end him going under 15 mph. My car has no dent in front(i sent photos), and the mustang had a small dent in his license plate, however the front of his car was smashed in (to the point it was not driveable), from rear ending the suv. The suv's rear end was also very damaged.
The man driving the mustang was a lawyer, & he is now blaming me for the whole accident! He went to his mechanic and sent over "notes" stating that his car shows enough damage from the back to prove I was at fault for the entire accident? Cant my ins. fight this? Shouldnt they have a 3rd party evaluate his car? Should I hire a lawyer?

My insurance company said they are going to agree with the notes sent over by the mechanic. They are going to find me at fault. They said they are "protecting me" by being held liable rather than face a lawsuit? The photos speak for themself, as there is NO WAY my car could have caused the damage it did to the two other cars. I just dont know what to do now?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

If you believe your insurance company is not properly investigating, you should hire counsel to represent you. Although counsel for the insurance company will likely be hired for you if this matter goes into litigation, it can sometimes be unclear where the attorney's primary interests are - protect the client or the insurance company?

But to answer your question, your insurance should absolutely fight this, especially if the facts are what you allege they are. For now, get copies of any police reports and speak with the adjuster handling the claim regarding the status of the case. Your insurance company is probably in the process of investigating. If the insurance still claims it's your fault down the line, get your own counsel to fight it if your exposure is high.

Side note: Have you interviewed the driver of the SUV to see if they can recall getting hit twice?

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Posted

The accident happened early April, at the end of the month, after sending in photos of my car & my statement, I was told my insurance was going to deny all the claims the driver of the Mustang made. At that time, my ins company said they couldnt get ahold of the man driving the SUV for a statement. I guess the Lawyer and driver of the mustang then filed an appeal with my insurance company, because on Monday they had a arbitration? Now Im told the guy in the SUV did submit a statement saying he only felt one impact and he couldnt confirm or deny how fast the mustang was driving? But when the accident happend, the man in the SUV got out and was yelling at the guy in the mustang saying "why are you driving so fast man? You should slow down and pay attention." I feel like MY insurance company should try to ask him about those statements? And the man in the SUV also didnt speak english very well, he primarly spoke spanish. The guy in the Mustang never asked if we were ok, he just sat in his car (He is a lawyer so he probably knew better). There actually was a female police officer that was on the other side of the street and came over to us as soon as it happend, I asked if I needed to do a police report, she said "In LA we really dont do a police report if there are no injuries." which I thought was kind of strange? She then said to me "Go ahead and exchange info, and since your car is fine, and if you dont have any injuries, you can go ahead and go". So I did! I know she had to call a tow truck for the other two cars, wouldnt there be some kind of record of this? I just really feel like ive been scammed. I would 100% take responsibility for the accident IF it was my fault, but it wasnt? The mustang's entire front of his car was smashed in, and the back of the suv's was smashed, there was a very small dent in the mustang's plate, and almost no damage to my car? How can they see those photos and still say it was my fault?

Jason David Hunter

Jason David Hunter

Posted

Like my colleagues have stated, you will be liable for damage caused to the vehicle in front of you (mustang); however, it seems clear that you should not be responsible for the accident between the other two cars. Again, speak to the handling adjuster and find out the result of arbitration and the what appeals process is. Lastly, speak with an attorney before signing any documents with the insurance company.

Posted

The facts of the case are in dispute. However, in most rear-end accident cases, the vehicle in the rear is deemed to be a liable party. The issue would be dependent on the actual sequence of events. You may have partial liability for the second impact of the first vehicle and you also may have partial liability for the impact to the vehicle in front of yours.

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L. Vincent Ramunno

L. Vincent Ramunno

Posted

fine point

Posted

You are at fault for rear ending the Mustang. However your insurance carrier should defend you against the claim of the SUV. Check with your insurance carrier for the proper appeal process. the facts you describe regarding the various vehicle damage strongly support your version.

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Posted

As the car accident attorneys have explained, the fact of the matter is that you are liable for hitting the car in front of you. Consult with a motor vehicle accident lawyer if you believe otherwise. Best of luck.

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Posted

while there may be some "comparative negligence" on your part, the mustang operator clearly shares in that fault. Depending on the laws of your state will determine how much your insurer has to contribute to the accident. Your insurer absolutely can and should fight this. I would tell them you are ONLY responsible for the damage to the rear of the mustang and a percentage of the front damage. If either of the drivers (or passengers) of the vehicles in front of you bring a lawsuit against you, your insurance company will bring in an attorney to defend you. Keep in contact with your insurance adjuster. Great question, we see this type of thing quite often, actually.

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