Visitor Question

Insurance denying claim because they can’t find their insured driver?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Chattanooga, TN)

I was hit by a girl driving her friend’s truck. She wasn’t on the auto insurance policy. The truck owner was insured at time of accident but isn’t now. His insurance denied my claim because even though he was insured at the time of the accident, they couldn’t contact him (after only mailing and calling).

They denied the claim because they couldn’t get further information from him about the girl driving.

Is the insurance company still liable, since the truck owner was insured at the time of accident? Can they deny my claim just because they can’t contact the insured? Who’s responsible: insurance, insured owner, friend driving vehicle? Do I take it to small claims, and if so, against whom?

It’s unlikely I will collect on the insured or the friend because they are, shall we say, less than polite society with criminal histories. I feel the insurance is responsible but I don’t want to file on mine then try to subrogate. She was not ticketed but the cop stated she was at fault, which is hearsay in court. But the police report states she hit me. What can I do?

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 Anonymous,

Let’s break this down to answer each of your questions:

“Is the insurance company still liable since the truck owner was insured at the time of accident?”

No. The insurance company is not a party to the accident. They are merely an independent company providing insurance to drivers.

“Can they deny my claim just because they can’t contact the insured?”

The only time an insurance company can be liable is if they act in bad faith. From the facts you present, there doesn’t seem to be sufficient evidence of bad faith. Their denial seems to be based on their inability to contact their insured. While irritating, that isn’t enough to support a claim of bad faith.

“Who’s responsible: insurance, insured owner, or friend driving the vehicle?”

The driver and the owner of the car are jointly and severally liable for your injuries and the damage to your car. This means if the insurance company won’t agree to pay, the driver and owner may be personally responsible to compensate your for your losses.

“Do I take it to small claims and if so against whom?”

If you are unable to settle your claim with the insurance company, you can consider filing a small claims lawsuit in one of Tennessee’s County Courts. In the State of Tennessee, small claims are heard in County Court. The jurisdiction of the these courts is up to $25,000.

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: October 19, 2017

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