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Can I sue an auto insurance company for not being able to contact their insured driver?

Los Angeles, CA |

I was involved in an automobile accident approximately a month ago. A truck, who had been parallel parked, turned out into the road as i passed by; the truck hit the rear passenger door/wheel of my vehicle and it seems to be a pretty clear cut case, liability-wise. However, the other driver's insurance company has told me they cannot contact the driver to get his statement, thus delaying the necessary repairs to my vehicle. I do not have collision coverage, so there are no alternatives. I am a law student and am familiar with the process of filing a claim in small claims court. Should I notify the insurance company that I will file a claim against them/their insured driver? I don't feel the company has put forth a reasonable effort and I want to "wake them up" and advance the case forward.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Best answer

    Based on your submission I'm going to assume you don't need to make a claim for personal injuries and just want to get your car fixed, and in that case I think a bright person like you can handle the situation yourself.

    You are right on track - you need to give them a deadline for resolving this matter, after which you will file a small claims case against all potential defendants, including the driver, the owner of the truck if different, and anyone who might have employed the driver.

    One point of leverage you might use is to tell them that you will give them one last chance to play a role in the repair of your car (insurance companies like to work with certain repair shops for various reasons), after which you will go to a shop of your choice and argue in court that they have waived any opportunity to question the amount you paid for the repairs.

    Another thought: if you were shaken up by the accident even to the slightest degree, tell them that you don't intend to file a personal injury case, but if they force you go to go court for the property damage, you'll have no reason not to throw in a claim for personal injuries as well (You can do this by filing what we call a "Limited Jurisdiction" case instead of a case in small claims. There are forms on the state courts web site for personal injury/property damage motor vehicle accident claims)

    I hope that you have come to appreciate the value of insurance to cover the things in life that you just can't live without.


  2. Being a law student you know the best course of action is to contact an attorney who can do all of the work for you properly. Contacting them over and over will not yield the same results as one call from an attorney will ! Best of Luck!

    Check out my website below and give me a call for a free consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at Michael@Kingofpersonalinjurylaw.com www. KingofPersonalInjuryLaw.com I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


  3. When a person and his or her vehicle are hit by another driver, there are several potential sources of recovery... the driver of the offending vehicle, said driver's insurance company, the employer of the driver, the employer's insurance, and maybe more. Identifying the driver should be pretty easy if a police report is made, less easy, but still possible if one has only a partial plate and a hit and run driver. Personal injury attorneys know how to get missing puzzle pieces and how to get the maximum recovery.

    Fortunately, many of us personal injury types offer free consultations and take personal injury cases on contingency. Thus, there is nothing to fear in calling us.

    - Paul

    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
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    Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206... Corona, CA 92879... (951)520-9684... www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com... "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW." ... * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy... ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.


  4. I agree with my colleagues -- counsel is a must for you.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


  5. What is the old saying..... a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client...

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  6. Your claim would not be against the insurance company, it would be against the owner and driver of the vehicle. You cannot sue the insurance carrier. You must try to resolve this with a demand letter sent by certified mail, return receipt requested prior to small claims action. This should be sent to the owner/driver with a copy to his or her insurance carrier. You can include any injuries within the $10,000 small claims if their is room after the property damage claim (if you in fact have suffered injuries.) Otherwise you will have to fileteLimited Civil case in superior court. Some of us attorneys can write the demand letter for you at an affodable fee, which may give you more leverage. Good luck.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  7. file a complaint with the dept of insurance. the carrier has 30 days to accept or deny your claim, unless a valid excuse for delay has been served in writing to you. do you have a police report, if so that should be sufficient for the insurance to verify this accident happened with their insured. You can file in small claims, but you better be sureyou know where to find the defendant for service, before you file.


  8. Contact and consult with a personal injury attorney.

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