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Car accident - At fault party not accepting full liability. What should I do?

Seattle, WA |

I was involved in a car accident in a parking lot. Nobody was injured. At-fault party's insurance claims adjuster took our statement and decided that it was 80% their fault and 20% our fault which is wrong - they are just trying to take us for a ride. My insurance company was involved, they took our statement too. They agree that we are clearly not at fault. Now I have the following options 1. Accept 80% payment and pay the rest myself. 2 Get the claim from my insurance company and pay deductible. They said that since I am not at fault they will go through subrogation process to reclaim this liability. But are they likely to succeed? If not then will my insurance rate go up? Also 20% of the damage falls within my deductible limit. So is my insurance likely to take trouble of subrogation?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

A bit of good news. Despite all the inconvenience and uncertainty you are in pretty good shape on this claim. If you are already working with your own carrier and they are on your side, then do the claim and let them recover your deductible. If they say they are going to go after your deductible they will do so. If your carrier does not believe any part of the incident was your fault your rates will almost certainly not go up. State Farm dug me out of the same situation three times, recovered my deductible, and my rates did not go up. The whole thing was inconvenient, but tolerable.

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Posted

Thank you so much for the advice! This is indeed good to know. Do these subrogation attempt always succeed? What happens if it fails? I don't get back my deductible, but then will the accident show up in my driver license record? Will the insurance go up in that case? Secondly, in my case, it makes me sad that all this happened. If someone backed into you, then their party should accept 100% fault. But in this case, the claims adjuster is just trying to make everyone's life difficult. Is there a way to curb these bad practices? Should I file a complaint with the Washington insurance commissioner against this claims adjuster so that others in the future don't have to face this unnecessary harassment?

Posted

Based on the facts provided, your best available option is to go through your own carrier for property damage. Thus, you will pay the deductible and your carrier will subrogate against the adverse party's insurance carrier. Your carrier is likely to zealously pursue the subrogation claim in order to recoup your expenses as a policyholder.

I wish you the best of luck.

-Matt Dolman
www.dolmanlaw.com

This advice should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for a consultation and evaluation of your potential claim.

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Posted

I agree with my colleagues. Go through your own insurance company.

The information on this website is not intended to be legal advice.

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Posted

I agree with my colleagues, and would clarify that your insurance will pay for your car damage at 100%, minus your deductible, then pursue reimbursement from the at-fault insurer. This addresses your concern that "20% of the damage falls within my deductible limit." Also, I recommend you contact your insurer monthly to find out the status of the subrogation process. It may take many months, but will take longer if you don't stay on them.

DISCLAIMER: This information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.

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Posted

The at fault party owes you the money. If you can prove your case, you can win in court and make the other side pay your costs. Maybe small claims court would work. http://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/DistrictCourt/SmallClaims.aspx

[In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]

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