I was in an accident where the other driver was written a ticket for failure to yeild and was found at fault by police officer. She then lied to her insurance company claiming that she had a green arrow. I was able to prove that there is in fact no arrow whatsoever at that traffic signal. Her insurance company called today to let me know that in their liability investigation they found that she was 80% at fault and I am 20% at fault and that I can pay to have my car fixed and they will reimburse me for 80%. I know this is wrong. What should I do?
If you have collision coverage, have your insurance company deal with it and they will pursue reimbursement from the other insurance company and get your deductible back. If you don't, you can sue the other drivers in small claims court for the full amount (if it is under $15,000) and take your chances that they will give up and pay. How much is the 20%
If this is strictly a property damage claim, you could hire an attorney by the hour to go to small claims court to try to sue them for the difference if you believe the evidence a strong enough. If you are injured, a personal injury attorney may be able to help you with this aspect to increase the amount that they take responsibility for without going to court.
If you weren't injured, just turn it over to your insurance company to resolve. If you were injured, a local personal injury lawyer can investigate the accident. Avvo has a great lawyer finder tool to locate a local attorney. Good luck.
Fight back and assert your rights to be reimbursed for the damages caused by their insured driver's negligence. That being said, sometimes the time and resources necessary to pursue that fight (such as pursuing litigation in small claims court or state court) is not justified by the amount of damages involved. A personal injury attorney can assist with the property damage portion of your claim (generally they will as part of an injury claim or can be retained specifically for the property damage portion only), and can put pressure on the insurance company to accept full responsibility for the accident.
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Great advice from a great group of attorneys already. Do not take or discuss anything to do with your wreck with the other drivers insurance company without first contacting a local attorney that handle automobile wrecks for plaintiffs.
The fact that the police gave a ticket isn't proof that the other driver is at fault or completely at fault--the "facts" show who is at fault. Insurance companies make money basically in two ways--take in premium dollars (and invest that money) and not pay any or as little as possible out. They don't sell a product--like ketchup or really even a service--like house painting. I'm surprised they are willing to pay 80%. I suspect they picked a number that was just high enough that you would not bother pursuing what you are owed and what is right.
Since I understand you do not have collision coverage, your options are to take the deal, try to negotiate a bit more or if it's worth your time and feeling of integrity and justice, sue viper for your full loss. You have not said what the numbers are in this case but I assume this would be a small claims action in state. You can do it yourself but I assume you would be uncomfortable. Google small claims complaint in GA and see what you find, see if you can narrow it for your county or contact a personal injury lawyer and offer to pay for one hour of that lawyers time to "educate" you on how to handle the claim yourself. You should get some nice pictures of the roadway, certainly of the damage and good estimates of repair from reputable shops.
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This is very common thing that insurance company's do in order to save money. From what you have said there is no reason for you to settle for less than 100% of your damages. I agree with an earlier response telling you to let your own insurance company pay your expenses as a collision claim. This way you will lay out your deductible and get reimbursed for it later. But if you do not have collision coverage on your police this is not an option. They liability carrier will try to do this for your injury claim as well so if you were injured you should consult an attorney immediately. The attorney might be able to help you resolve the property damage issue without charging you a fee.
Peter J. Ross
Ross & Pines, LLC
You should retain an attorney. You can either file a lawsuit in small claims or superior court. You should have an attorney review your case so that he/she can make the appropriate recommendation.
About the only time you can get an insurance company to pay 100% of your damage is when you are rear-ended. Whenever two vehicles are moving, there is always the issue of comparative fault. I am actually surprised you were offered 80%. The fact that the other driver received a ticket for failure to yield doesn't mean she was 100% at fault. Since you do not have collision coverage you have limited options as outlined by the other attorneys here.
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Everybody's input so far is essentially correct. However, there are a few things you need to know to educate yourself as to auto insurance as a consumer.
All insurance companies are not created equal, depsite any claims they may make; especially if they use talking lizards, cute jingles, talking pigs, cavemen, make unrealistic promises, or offer lower prices for "vanilla ice cream", etc.
Any auto liablility insurance company you can recall by name is NEVER in the top 10 in client or claims satisfaction, according to the leading consumer rating magazine. The bigger the company, like "the good hands people", or "the good neighbors" auto companies are never even close to being top-rated companies. They sell junk insurance, claiming that they are saving you money by offering a lower rate, and stick it to you everytime they can if you or a third-party makes a claim against the coverage.
The nonsense about the at-fault driver's auto insurer claiming that their investigation showed you to be 20% at fault is most-likely just a ploy. Do you know why?
Let's look at some comments and the actual Georgia "Rules of the Road" Code section for background.
The Georgia Driver’s License Manual, at page 40, paragraph 4, includes the following instruction:
"When making a left turn at an intersection, alley or driveway, yield the right-of-
way to ALL traffic from the opposite direction, then proceed when it is safe to do so."
Georgia Code § 40-6-71 states the legal rule:
"The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to ANY vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard."
The Georgia Pattern Jury Instructions given or "charged" to a jury by the trial judge summarize the rule as follows:
"The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to ANY vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is within the intersection or so close to it as to constitute an immediate hazard."
This rule is important because we have to have clear rules about who has the right of way on the road, so there is NO ambiguity about whose turn it is to proceed at an intersection.
Having established that the police properly cited the left-hand-turning driver, and that references to a turn arrow were falacious; where does the 20% come from? You gussed it, the liars for hire at Rip Off Insurance Company.
While "comparative fault" can be claimed, and is incorporated into Georgia's regulations for civil action cases, the other guy has to convince a judge or jury that you were even slightly at fault. That burden is not yours to bear in court, and it does not sound as if it can be supported, as based on your scenario.
A quick look at the police report, by a competent personal injury lawyer, is the best place to start. NEVER take an insurance company's word for anything. Get it in writing. Insist that their assertions be put into a letter.
If you have collision coverage on your vehicle, it has already been suggested that you go to your auto carrier and ask them to adjust your property damage. If you have the coverage, your insurer is obligated to handle your property damage and arbitrate with the other person's carrier to get reimbursed. If you don't have that coverage, and nobody told you at your auto carrier's sales office to add it; immediately get another, reputable, company and fire your present auto insurer, now!
Try the attached link for Magistrate Court requirements. if your property damage claim (get your own estimates for comparison of cost to repair, plus "dimished value", which you are entitled to in most instances) is $15,000.00 or less. Don't quibble with the other person's auto insurer about the 20% baloney.
Here's hoping this additional infomation adds to your accumulating store of knowledge
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