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My son was involved in an accident where he was not at fault. He was driving in the left hand lane of a three lane highway when another car crossed the lane line and struck his car on the passages side.  There was a third person (far right lane) that was backing up on the highway. The person in the middle lane, in attempting to avoid that car, crossed into my son's and and caused the accident.  Also, that person admired fault at the scene.  We filed a claim with Allstate but they are only willing to pay 40% claiming that the driver in the right hand lane caused the accident.  

To me,this is completely lame for the person who struck my son, is responsible to control their car and clearly should have stopped in the middle lane but instead made a bad decision and swerved to avoid that car in the right lane, she did not see my son's car and is 100% responsible for the accident.

We have subsequently filed a collision claim with our company but now must pay the deductible with no assurance that we will be reimbursed for the deductible nor be free from rate increase.

└ny advice?  Thanks.
Al Berardis

When a crash involves more than two vehicles, it is very difficult to properly assign negligence.

Was it dark or light?  Was the car backing up right over a hill, or visible from a long ways off?  How long was your son beside the person that changed lanes before she changed lanes?  Was he in her blind spot?  If the vehicle was visible a long ways off, why did your son not slow down and stay away from other vehicles in anticipation that somebody might not see the backing car?  Why was the backing car backing up?  

As you can see, there are a bunch of questions I would need answers to before I could offer up a good suggestion.  The long and short of it is that Allstate can argue fault if they want, and if the adjuster is not good at investigating, they will get it wrong (which is common).  The only way to prove liability is to sue the at fault party.  If your case is solid, then Allstate will likely see the light before it gets to a trial.  If there is a valid defense (like sudden unavoidable event), then they may defend their insured and refuse to pay for all the accident, rightfully blaming a third party for part of the loss (unsafe backing).  

Unfortunately, these types of cases normally end when you file with your own company because the subrogation department (which I staffed and created for three different carriers), will not waste time trying to prove Allstate wrong and will likely just accept what they can get and pay you back the same percentage of your deductible that they can convince Allstate to accept in liability.  Make sense?  Your company might get Allstate to accept 50% liability and then pay you back half your deductible.  In some cases, they will pay you back your full deductible no matter if they get paid back for all the damages they pay you.  It depends on the subrogation manager and the specific laws in your state on deductible reimbursements.  I hope this helps.  If you want to discuss, I am easy to find on the net.  Information is always free at Petty Details, LLC.

Justin Petty  

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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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