Insurance company only paying 50% of property damage claim?

by Andrew
(Miami, FL)

We were in a three-car accident. All drivers have Geico insurance. My wife and I were the middle car, and were completely stopped behind car 1. We got no fault judgement or ticket from the police at the scene.

Geico is now accusing us of failure to stop, and only paying for 50% of damage to our claim, and until we accept the 50%, no work will be permitted to be done. Our was 1 month old, had 3340 miles, and was valued at over $100k.

Geico took sworn statements from the drivers of cars 1 and 3, without the guidance of the police report. The police report clearly states we were stopped and were not cited. Car 1 had faulty stop lights, and got a warning but no ticket. This accident occurred on 6/29/16.

What can we do about this? How can Geico just decide we were 50% at fault and only pay half the claim? Must we get a lawyer? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Insurance company only paying 50% of property damage claim?":

Andrew (Miami, FL):

While the police did not cite you, it is likely your insurance company is taking the position you were "following too closely."

While Florida law does not specify the distance one driver must be behind another driver while on a Florida roadway, the insurance company is likely taking the position that if you hadn't been following too closely, you would have been able to stop, even if you were struck from behind.

Florida Revised Statute Section 316.0895(1) reads in part:

"The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway."

Your recourse is limited to attempting to persuade your insurance company you were not at fault. Make clear to them you were not following too closely, as the police would have cited you under Section 316.0895. They did not.

Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, and moreover because you were not injured, it is unlikely you will find an attorney to represent you on a contingency fee basis. To retain an attorney would require you to pay an hourly fee. That's entirely up to you.

You can also contact the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to discuss your options. You may be able to file a complaint or take other action to get your claim resolved to your satisfaction.

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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