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Question
I was involved in an accident where the other party (driver 1) was at fault. 100%
He failed to yeild the right of way and I (driver 2) hit him. There was another car at a nearby stop sign and the violator's car was knocked into that vehicle.Three car was involved in accident.
The violator was issued a citation from failure to yeild the right of way. The agent for his insurance company (Geico) said they're assigning 40% of the blame on me b/c I didn't try to make manuevers to avoid the accident. I had no time to react. Traffic was very heavy.
I had on liability on the car I was driving. The adjuster for Geico totaled my car. The value was placed at $2800. The agent offered me $1700 for settlement.
The accident happened on May 21, 2015. I've been renting a car most of the time since the accident out of my own pocket.
I've been told I have to sue the driver. Is this true?

Thanks

Arthur

Answer
Arthur,

  Well, this is a common tactic used by GEICO in Georgia and in other states that have "comparative negligence" laws.  To answer your question about suing the driver. . . YES, you can't sue GEICO (what did they do to you?), but by suing the person they insure for negligence, it will cause GEICO to have to defend the person in court, and sometimes the threat of spending time and effort defending a silly argument like they are making will cause GEICO to become a little more reasonable, but don't hold your breath.    

  Insurance companies know that for claims which are relatively small, like yours, the victim can't find good legal counsel and the unethical ones train their employees to use comparative negligence as an economic bully stick.  Unfortunately, it is more economical for GEICO to fight with the Arthurs out there than it is to give in and pay when they should.  Most people in your position are forced to give up the fight, or spend more money waiting and fighting, so guess what most do. . . .

   Further making this a hated practice by me is that the victim is usually in a bind without a car and incurring unusual expenses, so they are bent over a barrel so to speak and must either take an economic hit and fight for the cause, or cut their losses and accept the bullying.  My company attempts to make a dent in this type of behavior, but it is difficult.  Victims have to be willing to fight for a cause, and cost the carrier money at their own expense.  If everybody made it expensive for the company to apply comparative negligence in silly cases like yours, then maybe the carriers would start being a little more reasonable.

   Finally, I have to say there are always two sides to a story.  Is it possible that you could have stopped or avoided the accident by paying a little better attention?  If it is possible, a jury will likely see that it was and it could be fair to apply a portion of the liability to you.  I doubt it, but it happens.  Take for instance the texting driver who is approaching a green light at an intersection and is not watching oncoming traffic when a cross traveling vehicle is hurling towards a red light, clearly too fast to stop.  If a collision occurs, the texting driver may be equally at fault for the accident as the driver who runs the light.

   Sorry I couldn't offer a quick fix.  If you want to teach GEICO a lesson and you are sure that you are 0% at fault, the only option is to normally to take action against the negligent party.  

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Justin Petty

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Publications
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?".

Education/Credentials
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 (EzineArticles.com) 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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