Rear ended at a red light, but at-fault driver has limited coverage...

by Anonymous
(Los Angeles, CA)

I was rear ended by a pick up truck when stopped at a red light. The driver of the pick up must have hit me pretty hard, as my car ended up hitting the car in front of me, so it ended up being a 3 car collision.

I have an attorney and filed a claim against the at fault driver, who took full responsibility for the accident. However, my attorney keeps telling me that since the at fault driver has limited liability coverage, his insurance may not be enough to cover both cars' damages (mine and the car in front of me).

Thus, the car in front of me is waiting to see how much it would cost to repair his damages before I can take my car into a body shop for repair.

I already got my repair estimates by an adjuster, but I'm not allowed to take my car into a shop to get it repaired because the at-fault driver has limited liability coverage. What happens if his insurance does not cover all of my damages? Why do I have to wait for the car in front of me to get his car fixed before I can? Thanks 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 "Rear ended at a red light, but at-fault driver has limited coverage...":

Anonymous (Los Angeles, CA):

It is our policy not to interfere with the attorney-client relationship. To do so would be inappropriate. Your best interests would be served by heeding the advice and counsel of your attorney.

Generally speaking, when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover a victim's costs, the victim may pursue the at-fault driver personally for compensation. Additionally, if a victim carries uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, the victim can seek compensation from his or her own insurance company.

While there is no legal reason compelling you to wait before you take your car to the body shop, the insurance company may not cover all of the charges unless they previously authorized them.

When you finally take your car in for repair, be sure to insist on Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) parts. Often when authorizing repairs to cars, the insurance company will pay for the least expensive parts available.

There are parts made for cars which are not up to the standards of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (the highest quality available). Unfortunately, there are also unscrupulous body repair shops who will be paid by the insurance company for OEM parts, but then purchase cheaper and lesser quality parts from China, or other countries and then pocket the difference.

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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