Auto Insurance Claims/liability dispute
QUESTION: my car was hit by another car. I do not have collision coverage and neither did the other driver. I was waiting for traffic to clear to take a left turn into a parking lot with my blinker on. Traffic began moving and the car facing the other direction waved me to proceed with my left turn. I began my turn and I was struck by a car driving in the wrong lane in the same direction as me. My car was hit by the other cars front passenger side corner, starting at my drivers side tire up to my bumper and pulled my bumper forward and practically off my car. The police came to the scene and spoke to me and the other driver. The police issued the other driver a ticket for failure to keep right. The other driver argued with the officer stating that the accident was my fault. He stated that I took a right turn on red at the intersection which is before the entrance to the parking lot I was attempting to enter. He told his insurance company the same story stating that because I pulled out in front of him he had to enter the other lane to avoid hitting me and then I proceeded to turn left causing the collision. Therefore the other drivers insurance company has decided that I am 50% at fault for the accident and are offering me a settlement of 50% of the damage to my car. I found out that the other driver was filing a claim against my liability insurance and spoke to my insurance company who stated that they find me 0% liable for the accident. I am disputing the claim by the other drivers insurance company that I am 50% liable. I need your advice.
ANSWER: Because you do not carry collision coverage, there is little your insurance carrier can do for you. If you did, they would handle your claim and file arbitration against the other insurer.
A this point, your option is to file a small claims lawsuit against the driver of the other car. His insurer will assign an attorney to defend him. You do not need an attorney in small claims court and you have little to lose. The rules are relaxed and it is much less formal than normal court. You should do some internet research on how to prove a case in small claims court. I would start with photos of the scene as well as large and very clear scene diagram. Also photos of the damage to both cars. If there were any witnesses, they should testify. You could call the cop as a witness. Although he did not see the impact, he can testify as to his opinion.
Also, check to see what happens with the citation the other driver received. If he pleads guilty or is found guilty, you can use this as evidence against him.
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QUESTION: I am not sure how to find out what happened with the citation the other driver received. I am pretty sure that he plead guilty to a lesser charge. How would I find this information and If he did plea guilty to a lesser charge does that mean he is considered innocent of the actual violation in this case? Also I do not have photos of the damage to the other driver's car. I do have a copy of the police report which lists the areas of damage to both cars. I intend to speak to the officer that responded to the accident and wrote the police report, and I hope to call him as a witness. There were no other witnesses that remained at the scene. The other driver had a passenger in the car who of course is backing up his story.
My other question is regarding the other drivers claim against my insurance company. I was informed over the phone that an investigation was conducted and they informed the other driver that I was found 0% liable for the accident and they would not pay any damages. I asked if they could give me something in writing that stated this and they would not. All I have is the Name of the person I spoke to and her alias. Is this enough or do I need to request a copy of the letter that was sent to the other driver? To me the fact that my insurance company finds that I am 0% liable is very important to prove my argument. Is this true?
The insurer's liability decision would probably not be admissable. But you can ask if they have any evidence (photos, etc) you can use in court.
Most states have a wesbite where you can check public criminal/traffic records. If not, go to the local courthouse and ask how to check out what happened. You can only use a conviction or guilty plea as evidence.