You can sue the estate by its administrator or executor, serving that person if you know who it is. Alternatively, under California Probate Code, Sections 550-554, you can name the estate but serve the insurance company, as long as your claim is within the insurance limits. To serve the insurance company you can ask them who their agent is for claims under the Probate Code, or serve the agent listed for the company with the California Secretary of State.
No unfortunately you cannot sue the adverse party's insurance company or its personnel. Believe it or not, under California law they owe you no duty whatsoever. If you do sue, you simply name the adverse driver and his insurer will defend him.
21st Century was acquired by Farmers Insurance Company and the claims handling has been consolidated and they call it---of all things--"help point!"
My experience over 29 years is not favorable with Farmers from a claim handling and efficiency standpoint.
As for putting the pressure on the "help point" adjusters-- try reporting them to the California Insurance Commissioner if they have unreasonable handled your claim, have delayed communications with you or have misrepresented any material fact.
I hope this helps!
If the accident was of the serious type, you must have also suffered bodily injury. Do not consider small claims court. See an attorney in VISA and get yourself some representation. They will change their tune after that. Best of luck.
This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.
I feel your frustration. Farmers, aka 21st Century has gone the way of a lot of other insurance companies by putting cases to a committee or claims team. I would guess that you claim is being handled by the Northern California Claims Team.
Putting cases to a committee eliminates the personal responsibility of handling the claim. It is designed so you never get the same claims adjuster on the phone twice. This forces you to explain the situation again each time you call. It is part of the insurance companies’ goal - DENY, DELAY AND DEFEND. Eventually people get frustrated and give up.
I used to work as an attorney for Farmers so I know firsthand how they operate.
I don't see why you are going small claims since you may have a case above the $7,500 cap.
Check with a lawyer about your case. Let him or her deal with Farmers and their big corporate gamesmanship.
Remember if you file small claims, and Farmers looses, they can file an appeal and the whole process begins all over, except this time they will have one of their lawyer, most likely one know, hand the appeal hearing.
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The procedure for pursing an estate is pretty technical. Many attorneys don't even know the laws. Have you considered hiring an attorney who (familiar with pursing an estate) to help you? The last thing you want is to mess up and lose your right to bring a claim forever... Also, if the insurance company sees that you have an attorney, they will probably take your claim more seriously (they normally do).
Why are you suing in small claims court??? If you were injured and/or have more than $8k in property damage you should be suing in superior court. Trust me, hire a lawyer! You'll get a much better settlement, quicker results and the respect of the insurance company. Were you injured? We all offer free consultations.
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Your case appears to have a likely value in excess of the amount for which you can sue in small claims court. Since the responsible party has died, you may be required to file a claim with his Estate, if there is one. An attorney may be able to help you file such a claim or bring a claim against the Estate for the amount of the insurance policy and/or other assets of the Estate. This can be very complicated. I handled a similar case that took several years and required filing lots of paperwork with the Court. You definitely need an attorney experienced in personal injury and probate claims.
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