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

Asked about 2 years ago - 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)

  1. Joanne Reisman

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . 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... more
  2. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . 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... more
  3. John E Uffelman

    Contributor Level 3

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    Answered . 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.

  4. Steven Mark Sweat

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . 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... more
  5. Monty K Vandermay

    Contributor Level 6

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    Answered . 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... more

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