The car accident in which a person is rear-ended is called a "rear ender" by personal injury attorneys. This little nickname is a result of our desire for these kinds of cases as liability (meaning who is at fault) is almost always a slam dunk... the driver who plowed into the back of the care is almost always at fault. If the driver of the rear-ended car is physically harmed, then the case is probably not going to be about "winning" but how much will be "won."
The victim of a rear-ender needs to do the following: First - immediately get medical attention. Second - hire a personal injury attorney. We personal injury type lawyers offer free consultations and take cases on a contingent (meaning our client does not pay unless he or she "wins" money).
No one should handle any claim (involving a motor vehicle accident with bodily injury) against any insurance company without a lawyer. Claims should be handled by a lawyer - one who will be able to understand and explain the physical damages and injuries from accident. The victim of a car accident really needs to worry about one thing - getting better. That means attending doctor's appointments, attending physical therapy (if appropriate), and taking his or her medication. All of the rest can be handled by a personal injury attorney. We earn our fees (contingent by the way) by taking on the stress and hassle of fighting for money - I dare say some of us actually enjoy the fight, but I realize that most people do not enjoy conflict.
As for insurance companies, whether both drivers (the at fault and the victim) have the same insurance should not matter in how or how much the victim recovers. An injured party should be able to recover what is needed for just compensation up to policy limits from the insurer. Any amount over that policy limit may need to come from the at fault driver - an issue in and of itself.
When an at fault driver and/or his or her insurance company are not playing nice, the victim's lawyer will make them play nice (the victim, of course will hire a lawyer as that is the best way to handle a rear-ender with bodily injury).
Since many of us personal injury types like me offer free consultations and take personal injury cases on a contingent basis, there really is nothing to fear in calling us.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
Corona, CA 92879
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."
* This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy.
** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206... Corona, CA 92879... (951)520-9684... www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com... "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW." ... * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy... ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.
Your case would be against the driver and owner of the vehicle that hit you (not the insurance company.) The insurance claim is handled through the insurance company. Was there a police report prepared stating it was the other party's fault and not mentioning a third party? Were there any witnesses to help your case that there was no third party involved? If neither, it will be difficult to prove if the other party is willing to lie. You really should get an attorney to help handle this for you if you have injuries. If just damage to your vehicle, you can take them to small claims court if the damages are less than $10,000. Good luck to you.
I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.
If you just want to recover for the cost of fixing your car (in other words, you did not get hurt yourself), I think the best option is to sue the person that hit you in small claims court. If you convince the judge that this person was at fault and that there was no hit and run, State Farm will have to pay for the damage to your car on behalf of the other driver. If you were hurt, however, I would strongly suggest you find a local attorney to help you: the attorney can sort out the details for you.
You sue the driver and owner, not the insurance company.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.