At-fault insurance refusing to pay?

by J.R.

I pulled out of a parking spot in the High School parking lot. The car was in drive and preparing to leave in the lane to exit the parking lot. The at-fault driver backed out of their spot, and their left (driver) side rear bumper hit our passenger side rear door.

They had a small scuff on the very corner of their bumper. Our back door was completely dented in and will cost $1900 to replace. A police report was made, but the cars were moved to not block traffic. Therefore, the school officer didn't put anyone at fault. Weeks later, the officer called to remake a report as he said he lost the original.

Our insurance said the fault is that of the other driver, which it was, as the boy admitted fault at the scene (16 yr old was driving his father's car). I have photos to show the damage, but none before the cars were moved.

Now, their insurance won't accept liability, and claims it was a 50/50 accident. I do have full coverage and can pay my deductible to have it repaired, but I don't want to because they are at fault and should have to pay.

How do I get them to pay after their insurance adjuster refused? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "At-fault insurance refusing to pay?":

J.R. (Tennessee):

You have a several options...

First: Continue to negotiate your claim with the at-fault driver's (the 16 year old's) insurance company. Until such time as you agree to settle the claim, it will remain open.

On average, a claims adjuster has well over a hundred open claims he or she is working on at any one time. Insurance companies and the claims adjusters who work for them don't like open claims. If you persist, the adjuster may eventually agree to pay the entirety of your claim, or at a minimum, increase the offer.

If you follow this route, keep in mind the statute of limitations period. In Tennessee, the Statute of Limitations is one (1) year from the date of injury. You must settle your claim within that period, or file a lawsuit. If you don't, you will lose your legal right to sue the driver.

Second: File a lawsuit in Small Claims Court. In Tennessee, the jurisdictional limit of Small Claims Courts is $15,000. In counties with a population of more than 700,000 people, the limit is $25,000.

Third: File a bad-faith complaint with Tennessee's Insurance Department. While this is an option, doing so will only open an investigation. The insurance company will have to respond to your complaint. They will assuredly not admit to bad faith, and as a result, the investigation can be prolonged.

To file a complaint, go to the Tennessee Commerce and Insurance website.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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Comments for At-fault insurance refusing to pay?

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State department of insurance...
by: Anonymous

You should make a third party bad faith complaint about the responsible party's insurance company to your state's department of insurance.

We have been in 2 car accidents where the other driver was at fault and the policy of the at-fault driver immediately claimed 50/50.

If your claim is below the maximum limit of your state's small claims court, file it immediately. The other party will end up paying damages and cost of the court filing.

You have to sue the parent/owner of the at-fault vehicle.

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