Car Accident Insurance Problem in Multiple Car Pile Up...

by Yao
(Pittsburgh, PA)

I was involved in a multiple car collision. I was driving on the highway when the lead car's driver slammed on the brakes, causing the car in front of me to rear-end the lead car and myself to rear-end the second car. The car behind me then rear-ended my car. The first car fled the scene. In short, I was the third car in a four car pile up. No one got hurt in the accident. My car was evaluated as total loss of about $10,000 dollars and it was unrepairable.

I just received a call from the insurance company of the car behind me. They insisted that they are only responsible for the damage to the rear part of my car, not for the front part of the car (which is badly damaged). They said that if no one had rear-ended my car, I would still have rear-ended the car in front of me. So the damage to the front part would not be paid by them.

But the situation is that at that moment I had almost fully stopped. I am sure if the car had not crashed into me from behind with significant force I would have been able to stop. At least the front part of my car would not have been damaged so badly.

Is there a correct way to handle this issue? How can I get the rear car's insurance company to pay for some of the damage? Thank you very much for your time.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Car Accident Insurance Problem in Multiple Car Pile Up...":

Yao (Pittsburgh, PA):

The first issue to be addressed is who told you your car was totaled? Was it the rear-end driver's insurance company or was it a private body repair shop you chose? From the facts you present it would seem it was probably a private body repair shop which "totaled" your car.

The next issue is the position the rear-end driver's insurance company has taken. If they persist in not agreeing to pay for any damage more than just the rear of your car you will be in a very difficult position. Unless you can convince them the force of the impact of their insured was the direct and proximate cause of the damage to the front of your car, your only recourse may be to file suit against the driver. When you do his insurance company will do one of two things.

1st - They may vigorously defend the case, using either one of their in-house attorneys or a private firm.

2nd - They may calculate the costs of the attorney vs. the amount of money you are demanding for the damage to the front of your car. If they decide it would be less expensive to just pay the additional amount you are requesting you will have succeeded. You won't know until and unless you sue their insured.

If they chose to defend the suit you will need some type of expert testimony from a certified or experienced company which specializes in accident reconstruction. Unfortunately they will probably be prohibitively expensive.

Your best bet is to continue to argue with the insurance company and hope they will compromise and pay you at least some additional amount of money.

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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