Skip to main content

I was hit by a drunk driver. Here's the catch!! The person driving the vehicle was not the owner or the insured party.

Portland, OR |

I was rear ended about a month ago by a drunk driver. The person driving the vehicle was not the owner, but the owner was in the passenger seat. Both of the parties were drinking. I just contacted my insurance company,( which is also the insurance company for the other party) for a no fault voucher and they sent me something saying this " based on the available facts, we have determined that our insured is not liable for your damages. As a result, we will be unable to make any payment to you at this time."
Are they saying that they are not going to pay me anything? I don't understand how that is possible. Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Get an attorney. You do have options. You have PIP under your own insurance to immediately cover your medical bills. You have UM/UIM under your own insurance which kicks in if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, but does not cover property damage. You have to use your own full coverage for your property damage at least for immediate help - you might be able to recover from the other driver or car owner - but that will take some sorting out. (If you don't have full coverage then you are on your own until the liability can be figured out.)

Usually there is car insurance on a car and everyone that drives the car is covered if they don't have their own insurance. There are sometimes exclusions so a particular person might not be covered driving that car. It can take a while to figure it out. But there are also other theories - like the owner of the car "negligently entrusted" the car to a drunk driver - so using this theory you are suing the owner of the car again. Then his home owner's or car insurance might pick up the tab. So there are possibilities, just can't answer it via Avvo with limited information.

FYI car insurance companies will try any angle to get out of paying a claim. They don't always succeed.

You really need an attorney to help you with this.

The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

10 lawyers agree

Posted

They are, in fact, saying that they don't intend to pay you anything. Insurance companies make their money by denying claims. They will do anything they can to avoid paying.

You should talk to a lawyer. Many lawyers will meet with you initially for free. You can call 503-684-3763 for a free referral from the Oregon State Bar.

You should also follow up with your doctor. You can't make any kind of claim unless you can demonstrate what damage you suffered - which refers to both your physical injuries, and the cost for treating them.

Nothing posted on this site is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: jay@northwestlawoffice.com | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

5 lawyers agree

Posted

GET A LAWYER. Insurance companies are in the business of "not paying anything". It sounds like this is clearly a case of either direct negligence or negligent entrustment of the vehicle by either the owner and/or the driver. You need an experienced attorney in your area to help you deal with the insurance company.

Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

5 lawyers agree

1 comment

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

Not sure why the poster hasn't called a lawyer on this one - but to the poster - myself and every attorney in Oregon that does PI that I know will talk to you FOR FREE! If we think you have a case we will take your case on a contingency basis - no money up front, we get paid when we collect. So no reason to hesitate. Go see a lawyer.

Posted

Contact a competent injury attorney immediately! The insurer's response is a strong indication that you will not get anywhere on your own. If the insured was the passenger in the car then it is probable that he was driving with the owner's permission and that makes the driver an additional "insured" under most policies. Additionally or alternatively, the inebriated insured would be liable for negligent entrustment of a vehicle. Finally, if there is no coverage or insufficient coverage then your own uninsured motorist coverage will apply.

The insurer's response may also be based upon their insured's claims. It is not unusual to see people lie to their insurer about accidents because they think or know they will have higher premiums or lose coverage. Get the police reports or just let the attorney get them. If they were arrested for drunk driving the officers will document the facts. Your attorney will know that drunk drivers can be pursued for punitive damages also.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

5 lawyers agree

1 comment

Joanne Reisman

Joanne Reisman

Posted

My thoughts as well. The problem is that the driver may have been living with the insured and most policies exclude household members that were not added and rated. With boyfriends and girlfriends and adult children who stay over occasionally this can be a real grey area. But even if not the insurance claims that the driver or the accident is not covered, there can still be a case for negligent entrustment against the car owner and the insurance company will have a duty to defend and will sometimes end up paying out on the claim despite their initial claims that there is no coverage. Their insured may have believed in good faith that there was coverage and after you get a verdict against the insured car owner, that defendant can assign his rights to go against his own insurance company to the winning plaintiff.

Posted

hire an attorney. Insurance companies essentially use a checkbox form when they are speaking with someone who is not an attorney. Quite frankly they do it us sometimes too. They provide stupid answers straightforward problems. There are claims that can be raised for such things as negligent entrustment, there are insurance policies that will provide coverage when the driver is using the vehicle with permission of the owner there are a number of variables but you will need an attorney to file suit and force them to pay attention.

Please keep in mind that responses here do not create an attorney client relationship, are not subject to attorney client privilege, are not advice or a recommendation as to what you should or should not do to handle or advance your case. To get legal advice you must consult with an attorney. This list is not a consultation.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

DUI topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics