Car pulled out in front of my daughter who swerved to avoid it, hit a median and construction barrels which totaled her car. We have 911 audio of the other driver ( who is covered by Allstate ) admitting fault. Allstate confirms their driver is at fault and agreed to pay only 75% due to what they are claiming to be issues with speed and lack of control. I sent Allstate google map images of the site and diagramed the braking distances assuming the speed limit to prove she was not speeding based on where she stopped. They increased their liability from 70-75% after seeing the diagram but won’t budge beyond 75%. They’ve now informed me they won’t dispose of the car either so they’re taking $750 additional off the claim. We only have collision on my daughter’s car which is an older Honda Civic so not getting help from my insurance company. What are my chances in small claims court?
If the other person’s insurance company is denying liability, has not yet accepted full liability in a timely manner, or has not paid the full amount of damages, your options are as follows:
1. If you have your own collision coverage, you can use it, pay your deductible, and let your insurance company fight it out with the other person’s insurance company. That’s the reason you pay insurance premiums. Let your insurance company earn its keep. This would be considered the path of least resistance.
2. If you don’t want to use your insurance or don’t have any collision coverage, you can file a small claims lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties (the driver and the owner if they are different people). However, no one here can answer your question as to what your chances are in small claims court without much more information and evidence to review.
3. If you have reported the accident to the other person’s insurance company and it has denied liability with no valid explanation or legal basis, or is purposely delaying your claim, you can also file a formal complaint against them with your state’s insurance commissioner’s office.
4. Lastly, but actually most importantly, if you were injured in the accident, I would contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible before talking to the insurance companies. You may have some coverage on your policy that will pay for medical bills or have Uninsured Motorist coverage as well. Your attorney will investigate all avenues of applicable coverage for you. You can use the "Find a Lawyer" link at the top of this page for names of attorneys in your area. Most offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay anything up front.
Please do not message me for further advice or contact my former law firm in any way. If you are in need of an attorney to assist you, please search for another attorney in the jurisdiction involved in your case, as I am now retired, and my former law firm is no longer handling these types of cases. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service at this point.
IMPORTANT: No attorney-client relationship is formed through interaction with this attorney on this public forum. The contents of any comment or response should be considered general conversational discourse on the topic identified and NOT specific legal advice or analysis that might apply to your situation. If you rely upon any part of the content of this response in making any decision or pursuing any course of action, you do so at your own risk and without recourse against this attorney or law firm.
Your chances are always 50/50 when someone else makes the decision. Even if you win the decision can be appealed and you may find yourself up against a lawyer in a limited jurisdiction trial where you will not be able to represent your daughter as you are not a licensed attorney. Is the money worth your time?
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