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Question
I was in an accident on a highway entrance ramp where one road merges/ends in another. There are two lanes that narrow into one with the right lane ending before you merge left into the other road. I was in the left hand merging lane and the other driver came speeding up in the right hand lane. He continued to ride side by side with me way past the point of his lane ending. At this time he was actually on the shoulder of the road because he had no lane. He yelled out the window at me and flipped me off as he attempted to force me out of the way. Although I clearly had the right of way I hit my brakes in order to avoid a collision. It ended up with his rear left quarter panel colliding with my right front quarter panel panel (w/ no damage to his rear or my grille) . The state trooper listed him at fault and me as not contributing to the accident. The other driver told the trooper and is now telling his insurance company that he was just driving along and got hit from behind, with no idea as to what happened. My insurance co. is saying that they feel like the other company will end up accepting 90% of the liability leaving me to pay the other 10%. Do I have to accept this seeing that the police report clearly states that I had no fault? Also, if I accept the 90/10 does that mean that I have to pay for 10% of his damages in addition to mine? I also have my husband, son and his girlfriend as witnesses but the other insurance company says their statements do not matter because they know me. Well, how many times do they ride around with strangers in their car?? Is this true?
Thanks for your time!

Answer
I understand your frustration.  Unfortunately, this is a very common scenario.

First, wait until the other company has completed their investigation.  It sounds as though your claim rep was just offering an opinion regarding what the other company might do.  Call the other company, cooperate with their investigation, and then ask their position.  

If they do not accept 100%, you have a couple options:

1.  your company can handle your damages and then file arbitration against the other carrier.  An independent abritrator will then make a decision regarding liability based on the evidence.  If your company rep is not willing to do so, complain to the claim manager.  

2.  You can sue the other driver in small claims court for the amount the other insurance carrier did not pay.  The other insurance carrier will assign an attorney to defend him, but you do not need an attorney in small claims court.

You will not personally owe 10% or any amount for his damages.  However, if your company determines you were 10% at fault, they might offer to pay him that amount from your liability coverage.  Or if they file arbitration and lose, they would pay the amount awarded to him.  

Your passengers are considered biased witnesses.  This does not mean that their statements mean nothing, but they carry little weight compared to independent witnesses.  Biased witnesses tend to carry more weight in court if they testify well.  In arbitration, there is no live testimony (only transcriptions of recorded statements) so these types of witnesses carry less weight.

The police report is a piece of evidence but it is not conclusive of anything.  However, if the the officer gave the other driver a ticket, and he is found guilty or pleads  guilty, that would be very strong evidence on your side.

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Claims Guy

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I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer......I can answer questions related to any aspect of Automobile insurance claims and coverages. I can provide an inside look at how insurers operate. I always treat my customers fairly and want to help make sure you are treated fairly. However, please keep in mind that being treated fairly according to the law does not guarantee that you will get what you want. I can also answer some questions regarding Homeowner's and other types of insurance claims. I have handled all types of auto insurance claims and coverages. I am NOT an automotive repair expert but can give advice re how insurers handle complex repair issues. Please keep in mind that every state has its own set of laws pertaining to rules of the road, liability, and insurance. No one is an expert on every state. I am most familiar with laws in Maryland, DC, West Virginia, and Virginia, but will attempt to answer questions for other states. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

Experience

I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

Organizations
CPCU Society. Adjusters license in multiple states. International Association of Specal Investigators

Education/Credentials
I have a B.S. in Finance and have completed the AIC and CPCU designations.

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