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Construction Company Spilled Diesel fuel all over road, causing numerous accidents including totaling of my car.

King Of Prussia, PA |

A construction company spilled diesel fuel over much of one of the main roads in my township a couple of weeks ago. My wife was driving and lost control of her car and rammed into a tree, totaling the vehicle. She was not injured. Our vehicle was deemed a total loss by our insurance company and we were given market value for the vehicle, minus our deductible.
The police did track down the truck/driver who spilled fuel all over the road (they are in the police report - he lives less than a mile from us). Numerous accidents happened because of the diesel fuel that day, and we have a witness that also lost control of her vehicle just ahead of my wife's and she pulled over and witnessed my wife's accident in its entirety.

Do we have a right to sue for the perpetrator for the $500 deductible?

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Attorney answers 2


Probably; but let your insurer know first. You might find that your insurer will go after the at-fault party's insurance to recover your deductible plus the amount they paid you.

Dennis Phillips, Esq.
Florida personal injury law


As I am licensed in Florida and Vermont, I cannot give you specific advice as to Pennsylvania state law . However, since you accepted reimbursement from your insurance company, you have an obligation to cooperate with them and not do anything which may prejudice their rights to go against the adverse party who spilled the fuel. If you were to accept $500 from the adverse party and give them a release, you would in all likelihood extinguish your insurance carrier's subrogation rights in this instance.

You don't want your insurance carrier in the position of suing you because you violated the subrogation clause in your contract. I would recommend that you cooperate with your insurance carrier in their efforts to obtain payment from the adverse party who spilled the fuel. Often these types of things are resolved between insurance companies by way of arbitration. When your carrier receives reimbursement from the adverse party, they should reimburse you for your $500 deductible. This will not cost you anything and will relieve you of the aggravation, expense and time which would be involved in attempting to sue the adverse party yourself. If for any reason your insurance company advises you in writing that they are not pursuing the adverse party, then you may want to rethink this advice and possibly move against the adverse party yourself.

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