I was involved in a 3 car accident. I was the third vehicle which got hit after the initial accident. I was ruled not at fault. After a month long affair they rule vehicle 1 was a fault for the accident. After dealing with their insurance company they said someone who wasn't supposed to be driving the vehicle was driving so in turn are not taking responsibility for the accident. I do not have collision coverage on my policy come to find out and my vehicle is currently being financed. What are my options?
You need to find a personal injury lawyer that can help you sort through this crazy process. The insurance companies, even your own, do not have your interest at heart. There will be quite a few good personal injury attorneys from your area that can help you and they will post here. Talk to a couple and find one you are comfortable with.
The above information does not constitute legal advice, and is intended only as general information. You should speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case, as not all facts are known at this time. This message is provided by Don Dennis, Esq., Jones Gaglio & Dennis, P.A., 901 Grace Avenue, Panama City, FL 32401 www.jgd-law.com
You may not have any options at all. This is why everybody should have adequate insurance coverage for most foreseeable contingencies. It is a difficult lesson to learn, but studies show that significant numbers of Florida drivers do not have any or adequate liability insurance coverage.
Your only choices are to consult with a personal injury attorney (if you are injured) or possibly file a small claims lawsuit. The problems you will encounter is that personal injury attorneys generally do not take on property damage only cases because there is no money in it for the attorney it you would have to pay someone like me one third of your property damage settlement, and generally, that is not working attorneys time. You could file a small claims lawsuit, but you would have to pay the $400 or so filing fee, when a judgment, and then collect upon that judgment. Most people do not have adequate insurance have absolutely nothing to collect, so after spending money to file the lawsuit and your time to prosecute it, you may find that you have absolutely nothing but a worthless judgment at the end of the process.
It could be that the insurance company will not stand on its coverage denial decision, but in many cases, the insurance companies will if they have a valid excluded driver form or the policyholder engaged in material misrepresentation when signing the insurance contract. You are not likely to get anywhere with contesting the coverage denial in less you have an attorney, and even then, there actually no guarantees that an attorney can help you.
This is a case in point why you should have collision coverage on your vehicle unless you can afford to buy one without financing. At some point in a car's age, it becomes less expensive to buy another vehicle than it is to insure the old one.
I fully realize that this is not what you want to hear, but rather than giving you false hope, I would rather you know the whole story upfront.
This is not a case I would take, so please, do not contact me. (I have had to start including that on some of my posts simply because I frequently get inquiries about cases that I would never take.)
I only practice in the areas of personal injury, federal civil rights, and criminal law. I will not respond to inquiries about legal representation in other areas of law, so please do not call me about matters outside my areas of practice. Furthermore, my answers on Avvo do not create an attorney-client relationship. Avvo is not designed for the type of legal analysis I personally require to accept a case. You should always seek a consultation with a licensed attorney who practices in the specific area of law who can fully review the facts of your case.
In a legal sense, your essentially screwed. This is why its so important to have comp/collision on your own car. If the at fault carrier denied coverage for "non-permissive use" or an excluded driver, unless that driver has his or her own policy, you are left suing them personally for the damages, along with everyone else. Typically, that person will file bankruptcy, and unless they have piles of money and the last name of Steinbrenner or DeBartalo, you will probably never see any money for your car damages. In the mean time, if you have UM coverage and PIP, you should make sure that any injuries you suffered are properly treated and handled, as that's a separate issue.
If the the insurance for the at-fault vehicle has properly voided out coverage, and the driver of that vehicle has no insurance coverage available to him, then your only option may be to file a lawsuit against the driver and the owner of that vehicle in small claims court (if your claim is under $5,000.00). Most personal injury attorneys will not pursue a claim just for property damage. Even if you were injured, the fact that there is no valid insurance to pursue will be another reason why an attorney would not handle the case on a contingency fee basis. Good luck.
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