Visitor Question

Car in front claiming injuries after driving away uninjured?

Submitted By: Justin (California)

My wife was involved in a rear end collision almost a year ago. The car that hit her from the back totaled my wife’s car and pushed her car into the vehicle in front of her. The vehicle in front sustained no damage, but my wife sustained injuries. The police at the scene had to tell the drivers of the vehicle in front to get in their car and leave because they were uninjured and causing problems.

Now after a year of fighting insurance companies and dealing with the lawyer and trying to settle, they tell us what my wife would be getting as a settlement. Except that now the people in the vehicle in front are dipping into the pot of money my wife was awarded for her injuries.

My question is, do they have any right to this settlement pot, since they drove away with no injuries? And if so, since the pot of money for my wife is incredibly low considering the extent of injuries to her and damage to her vehicle, what actions can be taken against this other party who is clearly just trying to get a hand out? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Justin,

It is our position at Injury Claim Coach not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate. In all matters related to the insurance claim, seek the advice and counsel of your attorney.

Generally speaking, in a rear end collision the driver who collides with the driver in front is responsible for injuries to the driver in front, and in many cases, to the driver in front of that driver.

Under the State of California’s Insurance Code Section §11580.1b the minimum car insurance limits are:

– $15,000 for injury/death to one person – $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person – $5,000 for damage to property

Read more about California’s Insurance requirements on the California DMV’s website.

In a fact pattern like yours, there is normally only so much money to go around. Presuming the driver who caused the collision is entirely liable for the collision, that driver’s insurance company will be paying out money to the victims.

You can be confident the insurance company will not pay money to any victim unless the company believes there is good reason to do so.

“Good reason” can mean a victim’s injuries are real, resulting in medical bills, or if the alleged victim has retained an attorney. In that case, the insurance company may pay out money just so the alleged victim’s attorney doesn’t file a lawsuit. This is often referred to as getting a nuisance value payout.

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

Best of luck,

Published: August 20, 2015

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