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Auto Insurance Claims/My daughter's freaking out


Hi Mr. Petty,

I'll try to give just the facts here.

My daughter was involved in a crash. No police were called and no police report was made. The circumstances made it very unclear to both parties who might be at fault, so these two young folks agreed to handle their own damages. Everything was cordial.

When my daughter, who had recently moved back to Austin, TX from a little town in west TX (one light, mail comes general delivery), called her insurance company (Geico) to make a claim, she found out the credit card her premiums had been autodrafted on had expired and subsequently, her policy lapsed.

Long story slightly shorter, the other party apparently filed on their uninsured motorist's coverage and now a subrogator to AAA is calling her 4-5X a week.    

The subrogator is saying that they can hurt her (very good) credit  and get her license yanked while implying that if she quickly forks over $3400 (she's a college student), that won't happen.

The subrogator has also made it clear that they're not a bill collector so can and will do all the things bill collectors are forbidden from doing.

This seems like a shakedown to me...and...I don't understand how a private company has any business or capability to suspend her license.

I've spoken with a paralegal friend who seems to think that because there was no police report, it's a he said/she said situation, all bluster and that the subrogator can be safely ignored.

Needless to say, my daughter is very stressed from fear of having her license go away and coming up with thousands she doesn't have.

One last thing, it would appear, based on the damage to both vehicles (pictures were taken) that if anything, the other party was   
at fault.

Do you have any advice for her?

Thanks very, very much.

In Texas this situation is governed by Chapter 601 of the Transportation Code.  The paralegal is basically correct.  If your daughter is sued and loses, then her license can be suspended based on the judgment.  Also, it is true that subrogation is not debt collection, but that doesn't give anybody the right to harass someone.

I wrote an article on the subject matter, and an insurance company (or their subrogation company) does not have any authority over the validity of a driver license, only the Texas Department of Public Safety can suspend, revoke, issue, or deny a driver license. Subrogation companies and insurance companies can request that the DPS suspend a license, but the case has to meet the criteria set forth in the Transportation code if they want it suspended without involving a court.    

In Texas, if you were in an accident (or own a car that was) where there WAS a police report, AND the liability is very clear (the law says "reasonable probability of a judgment"), AND the damages were over $1000.00 OR someone was injured, then the subrogation company or insurance company has 18 months to file a complaint with the safety responsibility section of the DPS.  If all the elements exists that I mentioned, then the DPS will suspend the driver license of the at fault and financially irresponsible (uninsured) driver, and sometimes the registration.

I have a case right now where my firm is the subrogation company and I did not sue, but I did get the license suspended through the process I mentioned.  Now, the individual is having to make payments to keep their license valid.  If you have further questions, I can definitely address them.  

Bottom line, unless your daughter gets served with suit papers, her license is not in any jeopardy, especially since liability is not reasonably clear and there is no official peace officers crash report.  You can read all about the rules online by google searching the Texas Safety and Financial Responsibility Act, or by searching for my article, "How An Insurance Company Can Suspend your Texas Driver License" and reading about it there.

I hope this helps!  Information is always free at Petty Details, LLC!

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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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