What are a (auto) property damage victims' options if the claim is denited due to "reservation of rights"? what does that mean?

Asked almost 4 years ago - Miami, FL

My car was crashed into while it was parked in the parking lot of my condo by a driver who swerved into the parking lot from street while supposedly avoiding hitting a third car. We duly put in the claim to the insurance company of the owner of the car - which has now sent us a letter explaining that they are handling the claim under a reservation of right and may not coverage may not be afforded the insured for this loss.

I don't have collision insurance, bear absolutely no fault int his accident, and my car has been officially considered a total loss by the insured's adjuster. If / when the insurance company denies my claim - what alternative source of recover might I have? Can i sue the owner of the car? Can i sue the driver of the car (who is different than the owner)? thanks

Attorney answers (4)

  1. James Franklin McKenzie

    Contributor Level 3

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Your options are to sue the driver or the owner or both. You can do this yourself in county court if the value of your car is under $15,000. You do not have to wait until the inurance company makes a decision on the coverage issues.

  2. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . A reservation of rights means that while the insurance company is investigating the matter, they have issues about whether or not the policy was in effect or covers the type of incident in question.

    Based on the scenario you describe, you have a potential uninsured motorist claim concerning the driver who put this scenario in motion --- the driver who allegedly caused the person to swerve into your parking lot . If your uninsured motorist coverage covers property damage (you will need to read your policy language) you should file this claim with your own carrier, advising them that the person who struck you was forced off the road and into the parking lot, striking your vehicle. If the company who has advised you of the reservation of rights ultimately denies coverage to their alleged insured, you then also will have a claim against your uninsured motorist coverage as to that driver.

    You may also choose to file suit against both the owner and the driver of the car which struck your vehicle. In Florida, both the owner and the driver are equally responsible for damages caused by a negligent permissive driver.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Means they are investigating the claim.

  4. Andrew Y. Kim

    Contributor Level 18

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Reservation of rights in this situation means that the insurance company is investigating whether there is coverage in this case. If they deny your claim based on no coverage, then you can file an uninsured motorist property damages (UMPD) claim with your own insurance company.

    If you do not have UMPD coverage, then you will need to file a claim against the driver and/or owner in court.

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