Do I have to go through my insurance company if my car was hit in a parking lot?
4 attorney answers
Your path of least resistance and the one that will not cost you anything but your deductible is to go through your own auto insurance carrier under your collision coverage. That would be my suggestion. Your insurance carrier would then go after GEICO for reimbursement of what it paid plus your deductible.
You CAN sue the owner/driver of the other vehicle in small claims court, but you are going to have to prove both liability and damages and lawsuits are not free. It may be that you will have to pay more to file and proceed with a lawsuit than the cost of your deductible. In addition, in your state, you cannot have an attorney represent you in small claims court, so you will on your own against GEICO's seasoned attorneys (they will provide the owner/driver with a defense attorney or two at no cost to the owner/driver).
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No. You don't have to go through your insurance. You can pay for the damage yourself and then sue the other driver to get reimbursed.
In Pennsylvania, we have a type of small claims court where you can sue (without a lawyer) for something like this -- property damage only. Check and see if that is available in CA.
Or, if you have collision coverage, you can use your own coverage and get your car fixed and then your company will pursue the other driver's carrier through intercompany arbitration to get reimbursed. If they are successful there, then they will send you your deductible back.
If you were injured at all, then I suggest that your contact an attorney.
Legal disclaimer: The comments above by Dale Larrimore, Esq. are provided as general information and not as a legal opinion or legal advice, because all facts are not available. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney in your state who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by Dale Larrimore, Esq., of Larrimore & Farnish, LLP, does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state or under Federal law.
An insurance company has a duty to its insured, not to a third party affected by their insured. You really only have two options. One is to use your comp and collision coverage, pay the deductible, and have your insurance company try to recover from GEICO. The second is for you to sue the other driver in small claims court for up to $10,000.00. You will need to bring an estimate of repair with an indication of what it will cost to rent a car while yours is being fixed, or in the alternative to seek damages for loss of use. There is nothing you can do to force GEICO to change their position other than to get a judge to grant a judgment in your favor against the other driver. Please know that if the award is more than $2,500.00 that the defendant can file for a second trial de novo, and the judgment goes away pending the decision in the second trial.
Geico owes a duty only to their insured driver. Not to you. It will probably be a lot less hassle for you to simply turn it over to your own insurance company and let them pursue the other driver for any amount they pay
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