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Complaint 10 of 13 in "Rear Ended"

Insurance Carrier: Horace Mann
State: Florida

Consumer Complaint:

I was rear ended on March 27, 2008. Officer at the scene gave me other driver's information. I contacted the opposing party's insurance for claim. Went to the place they recommended for estimate. After several phone calls and emails back and forth with the insurance adjustor I was told that the party is denying the claim. I contacted the officer who attended the crash and sent additional information. Neither the insurance agent nor the company responds. What can I do? I just want my car fixed. The rear right side bumper is smashed in....and time is flying by with no response from the insurance company. My company cannot help me saying because I only had liability insurance. Since then I have switched insurance carriers. What is my solution? How can I get this insurance company to pay for the damage that was done?


Insurance Expert Answer:

Unless you have collision insurance, your choices are probably simple -- sue the other driver in Small Claims Court or forget about it. Our legal system for damage is based on fault. If the other driver was not at fault, he owes you nothing. In some states even if he was at fault, if you also did anything that could be regarded as fault -- contributory negligence -- you'd be unable to collect. However, in most states to the extent that you bore any fault the recovery would be reduced proportionally -- I don't know FL law however. The officer on the scene did not see the accident, and even if he did he's likely only one of several witnesses, although he's objective and persuasive. The insurance company did not see the accident. It is entitled to take the word of its own insured unless doing so is clearly unreasonable. We generally advise people to file the claim with their own insurance company if they have collision coverage; be prepared to eat the deductible, but if and when your company goes after the other driver's company for "subrogation" (these things are handled out of court between insurance companies) and recovers you'd get most of the deductible back. If there was any personal injury see a lawyer and the lawyer would handle the property damage in conjunction with the injury aspects, but few lawyers deal with just property damage claims.