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Auto Insurance Claims/Exploiting the liabilty only driver

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Question
Recently my son was hit by a driver who had just got her license.  She could not describe to the officer the details and my son explained the situation without much detail.  Without any written statement from the drivers or illustration the 7 minute accident investigation (by a AUI traffic officer)had a sketchy report and even didn't show a passenger in the other car or comments the mother made.  The other driver was cited.  The other company, Farm Bureau, is claiming that since the interview with my son did not match the report they are assessing 50/50 liability even though their driver did see or try to avoid the accident and was ticketed.  Since we only had liability our company has nothing to loose by accepting their decision even though our adjuster said he does not see how, even with the poor report, they could come to that.  My thinking is, with profits in mind, why they would go higher to start.  Do you believe adjusters low ball on purpose?  Do you believe that the liability only drivers a taken advantage of?  

The report may change as we have filed a complaint with the PD and the unit should have had a recorder going.

Answer
Hi Dan,

It's difficult as a party with liability-only coverage to challenge the decision of the other insurance company.  You don't have the right to file arbitration; you don't have the benefit of experienced negotiation with regards to negligence.  Your insurance company, with "no dogs in this hunt", can do no more with the other carrier beyond asking them to reconsider their decision, as they have no financial obligation in this matter.

Without knowing the facts of the loss I have no idea if 50/50 is a "low ball" offer or not.  Sometimes, when the facts of the loss aren't clear upon speaking to both drivers, the police report is the last remaining source of information.  I can only speak for my experience as an adjuster but I do not low ball on purpose; I resolve claims the same way regardless of the other driver's insurance status.  I've had more than a few times where my insured was in a loss with a flat-out uninsured driver, yet the uninsured driver was not at fault for the loss and despite them not holding up their end of the social contract, they still received our payment for their damages.  Other times I'll speak to a driver absolutely convinced that my insured is at fault, only to talk to their own company who completely agrees with my decision despite what their insured thinks - based on the evidence.

I would suggest filing a written request with the other carrier appealing their decision.  Lay the facts of the loss out as they are known, in writing, and point out what you see are the flaws in their argument/offer and request a re-review of the decision by their internal appeals panel (most companies have this, even without publicizing it).  I would also do everything possible to press the PD for a revised report; I myself would have no problem whatsoever changing my decision when faced with new evidence.

Hopefully this helps!

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Liability Claims Adjuster

Expertise

I can answer: - Questions about application of comparative negligence in complex auto liability claims - Questions about first party coverages - Questions about property damage claims - Questions about the auto claim process, in general I cannot answer, at this time: - Bodily injury settlement questions - Total loss evaluation questions - Questions pertaining to a particular insurer

Experience

I have been a liability claims adjuster for over 5 years, investigating, negotiating and settling nearly every imaginable auto liability claim (including theft). However, I am not a bodily injury adjuster. Additionally, I am a certified Arbitrator for the industry's Arbitration Forums (www.arbfile.org), of which 100% of all "name-brand" insurers are members, and of which a large portion of non-name-brand insurers also are members. I work for one of the Big Three insurance companies in the US. I am licensed to adjucate and settle claims in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, and also adjucate and settle claims in Maine and New Jersey (which do not require licensing).

Organizations
Arbitration Forums, Inc.

Education/Credentials
B.A., Political Science (The Colorado College, 1994)

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