How do I argue for 100 percent liability (rather than 65 percent) on their part?

by Tara
(Grapeview, WA)

My husband and I were riding our Harley Davidson on Highway 101 near Olympia/Shelton when a commercial dump truck and trailer loaded with rock pulled out from a side road to cross the highway in front of us.

We had the right of way and clearly he is at fault (State Patrol ticketed him for failure to yield). But his insurance company is arguing that they have a witness that says we passed him shortly before the accident. The insurance company is now saying we were traveling too fast and we should have been able to stop to avoid hitting him and are assigning 35% liability to us!

We managed to slow down enough to avoid hospitalization type of injuries but our Harley was totaled. I am in the process of writing a Settlement Demand letter for the property loss and have an Attorney for the PI case.

I would also appreciate having more information on how to write a Property Settlement Demand Letter as I am not clear on the elements I can demand compensation for, besides replacement of our Harley?

Thank you for the help.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How do I argue for 100 percent liability (rather than 65 percent) on their part?":

What has happened is that the insurance adjuster is viewing this case as that of COMPARATIVE FAULT. In this situation, they literally "compare" your fault to that of the other driver in order to reduce their liability. It is certainly arguable as comparative fault is basically a spectrum of 1-99%, but I would see what they offer first.

In terms of your property damage letter, I am a little surprised that your injury attorney is not doing this for you.

That being said, you need to make sure that your Harley is valued appropriately; If there is a lien holder, you need to make sure that what you demand covers any amount owed. I have seen cases where the client still owes as a result of a less than adequate settlement amount.

Make sure you can support your demand with evidence such as a statement from your lien holder (if any) and at least one estimate from a Harley Dealer which should be submitted with your demand.

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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