Visitor Question

The at-fault driver’s insurance company denied my claim. What can I do?

Submitted By: Jonathan (Las Vegas, Nevada)

I was heading to get a haircut, and leaving my apartment complex when another car was coming. We were both going to make a turn.  I was making a right and she was making a left. I came to a complete stop because the turns in the complex are very narrow.

She made the turn, and was in the middle. I see this and beep at her because she was getting too close. Instead of stopping she hit my car and dented my door in.

She said she would admit fault to it and didn’t think it was necessary for me to call the police. I made the claim to her insurance company. It took two months for my claim to go through because the person at fault took a long time to present her car for pictures to the insurance.

I just got a letter from her insurance company saying that they denied my claim because it’s my word against hers.

She also had offered to pay cash for the damages rather than have me go through her insurance as she said her insurance was going to go up again.

What should I do?  Thank you for answering my question.

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 Jonathan,

Thank you for contacting us. Please know that insurance adjusters are trained to process auto accident claims quickly, for as little money as possible. They routinely deny claims so that their employer can make more money.

With that said, all is not lost. There are still steps you can take to get the compensation you deserve.

Request Evidence

Although the burden is on you to prove the other driver was at-fault, the insurance adjuster might have requested evidence from the other driver showing that she was not responsible for the accident. Ask to see what evidence she provided.

We understand that this case is mostly a he said vs. she said matter, but maybe she had some other proof that she was not to blame. Proof may come in the form of photos, witness statements, videos, or something similar.

You mentioned that the other driver did present her car to the insurer for pictures. Specifically, request these and see what they show.

You can also emphasize the evidence that shows the other driver caused the collision. This proof includes:

  • Her admission of guilt to you
  • Her insistence that there was no need to notify the police
  • Her offer to pay cash for the door to avoid going through her insurer

Contact Your Insurance Company

If you haven’t already, contact your own insurer to see if they have any recommendations.

Most auto policies have a notification and cooperation clause.  The clause means you are obligated to let them know when you’ve been in a car accident, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.

Perhaps the company will want you to file a complaint with the other insurer. They can also choose to defend you if the other driver decides to file an injury lawsuit against you.

If you have coverage on your policy that will pay for your car damages, your insurance company then has a right to pursue a subrogation claim against the other driver’s policy to recover the money they spent on your behalf. Essentially, they take care of making the other insurance company pay.

 Talk to an Attorney

You may want to consider speaking with a lawyer to learn of your options regarding filing a lawsuit against the other driver. Legal action will likely depend on how much it will cost to repair your car.

One of your options might be filing a small claims court lawsuit, if you had to pay out-of- pocket for your car repairs.

Keep in mind that even if you were partly at fault for the accident, you might still be able to recover some money in a suit against the other driver.

A few states have laws in effect called pure contributory fault laws. These say that drivers are not entitled to recover any damages in a lawsuit if they were partly to blame for an accident (even if the degree of blame is tiny).

Nevada, though, does not follow these rules. Instead, the Nevada relies on comparative fault laws.

Comparative fault rules say that you can recover compensation for your damages, even if you contributed to the accident, so long as the other driver was more at fault.

Nevada law states:

“In any action to recover damages for death or injury to persons or for injury to property in which comparative negligence is asserted as a defense, the comparative negligence of the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s decedent does not bar a recovery if that negligence was not greater than the negligence or gross negligence of the parties to the action against whom recovery is sought.”

Further, an attorney might help uncover evidence in your favor. The claims adjuster is more likely to reconsider your claim if an attorney is involved and you have new evidence.

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This fee arrangement means you don’t owe a dime unless you recover some type of compensation.

Many lawyers also provide a free consultation to new clients. It’s worth your time to contact a lawyer because there’s no cost to find out if you have a good case.

Learn more here: Why Your Accident Claim Was Denied

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,

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