July 28, 2017

Other Driver Accepted Liability But Now They Deny It

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Ask an Adjuster Your Insurance Questions

Claim your damage against your own insurance and let them subrogate against the other driver. Read on to see what that means.

A reader writes:A motor bike has crashed into me causing a lot of damage to my car. I am covered comprehensively and they are third party only. Initially …they accepted liability, but now they deny it as they are a new driver and will be unable to get insurance in the future. Any advice? on claiming etc…. ?

Adjuster’s Answer

That depends what you mean when you say you are covered comprehensively. One meaning could be you only have comprehensive coverage on your car. That is unlikely.

I think you mean you have all the car insurance coverage categories available on your car: collision, comprehensive, liability, medical payments / personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, roadside assistance. If so, then you are in good shape. Here is what I recommend you do:

File a Police Report

Always file a police report when you get in a car accident. Call the police from the scene of the accident next time, if you didn’t this time. Ask anyone who witnessed the accident to please stay until police arrive. Even if you didn’t file a police report at the scene of the accident, file one now. Call the police business number and tell them you were in a car accident. Tell them all the information you have about who was involved and what happened. It sounds like you at least have the name and phone number of the motorcyclist who hit your car. The police can find out more information on this person if they have his or her phone number, let alone name. License plates are the best things to get, but still file a report even if you didn’t get the license plate. The police will make a decision on who should accept liability.

File a Claim with Your Car Insurance

If you have collision insurance on your car then you are in good shape to get your damage fixed. You can use any repair shop you want. Your insurance will probably recommend a shop, if you don’t have one in mind. You will have to pay the shop your collision deductible, but after that your insurance will pay for all the repairs. Most states in the US do not allow your insurance to raise your insurance premium if the accident was not your fault. Check with your state’s Department of Insurance to see if this is the case where you live. Your insurance will make its own determination on who should accept liability for the accident, independent of the police.

You Might Get Your Collision Deductible Back

If you or the police get enough information about the owner of the motorcycle that crashed into your car and if the motorcyclist was at fault for the accident, then you might get your collision deductible back through a process called subrogation. Your insurance will go after the motor bike owner or his insurance company for what they paid out for your repairs. In doing so, they probably will recover your deductible for you. If the other driver’s insurance accepts liability on behalf of their driver, this could happen within a month of your claim. If they don’t it could still happen, but it might take up to a year. Read the subrogation link above to see how that works.

Seek Medical Attention

Go to the doctor and get treatment for any injuries sustained in the accident. Tell your insurance about these injuries as well. There is a good chance your treatment might be paid for either by your car insurance or by the motorcyclist’s insurance.

Video: What Is Subrogation?

Atlanta Attorney Greg Stokes explains what subrogation is. The context is health insurance, but auto insurance and most other insurance companies subrogate as described here as well.

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