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Auto Insurance Claims/parking lot fender bender settlement


Hi Justin, my wife was in a parking lot accident in Georgia 4 days ago.  She was driving across empty parking areas to cut across the lot and was hit by another driver driving down one of the lanes.  His front bumper contacted her front wheel and left only scratches on her car.  We initially thought the damage to the other drivers car was only bumper but the repair estimate details some hidden damage so the quote is $1,100.  The parties decided not to call the police at the scene and my wife told the other drive to get a quote and we would decided what to do.  We have Liberty Mutual auto coverage with $1000 deductible and wife had an accident almost 3 yrs ago where repair bill to her car was $4500 so our rates doubled but are supposed to go back to normal 3 months from now.  I am inclined to settle this outside of reporting to our insurance and offer to pay the $1100 as long as the other driver (and his girlfriend passenger) are willing to sign a release saying that the payment completely satisfies any and all present or future claims of any kind related to the accident whether automotive, medical, or any other.  My father in law is urging me to report this to my insurance company even though I will pay out of pocket buy I am concerned they may refuse to lower my rates back to their normal level from her previous accident and use the accident report itself as an excuse to continue to charge us 2x or normal rates even if they pay no claim.  1) I believe I saw in another post that you might send me suggested language for such a release waiver I can use with the other driver, and 2) if I go this route would you also recommend I report the accident?  We live in NC but the accident occurred in GA last weekend when wife was visiting her father.  Since I have the high deductible I am going to have to pay for most of this anyway and I sure don't want to endanger having our rates go back to normal after paying double for the last 3 years.  Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated...especially language on the release waiver, understanding that you are not a lawyer and that I am completely on my own in this.  Thanks in advance.


  Normally, I would not suggest this, but in your case, I think you ought to try and look me up and call my office directly.  Even so, I will provide you with an answer that you may get some use out of. . .

1.  I would think the accident is not completely either person's fault, so Liberty Mutual might deny the claim altogether if more facts were known, meaning the other party goes away altogether or sues for damages, and then Liberty Mutual defends you and hires an attorney.  You have no out of pocket expense if Lib Mutual handles the claim (except maybe the increase if they decide it was your wife's fault and pay the claim).  

2.  Your deductible applies to your damages, not the other person's.  If you are not getting your vehicle fixed, the deductible does not come into play.

3.  It is highly unusual for rates to double for one accident, I would challenge your data on why the rate was increased, and just how much (from the first claim).

4.  If you get a release from the person, don't file the claim, it is done (so long as the release is properly executed).

I hope this helps. . .

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Justin Petty


Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.


Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author ( All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

Past/Present Clients
State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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