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  1. #1
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    Insurance refusing to proceed, claim they can't contact the driver who hit me.

    (created a new account so my personal info can't be traced)
    I was in a crash in which the driver was clearly at fault, this is backed up by the police report which concludes that as well. I am trying to handle my own case so that I don't have to give up big chunk to a lawyer. But the adjuster is stating they can't make a determination of liability because they can't contact the driver. What should I do? Should I threaten the driver with a lawsuit via mail, or should I press back on the insurance? Is it time to get a lawyer?

  2. #2
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Who's insurance?

    But I think its time to lawyer up - and it sounds like the insurance co in not interested in the claim, you need someone with your interests at heart, and who knows the options when things like refusal to answer certified letters are undertaken.
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    Senior Member brianmcg123's Avatar
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    Your an amateur playing against the pros. Insurance companies have legal teams working round the clock 7 days a week. The longer they stonewall you the more interest they make off of YOUR money they owe you.

    Hire a lawyer and this will be cleared up much quicker.
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    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Your state probably has an insurance commission, and I would start by contacting them.

    Actually I would start by going over the adjuster's head, and keep going till I got a satisfactory answer, or they admitted they were not going to do anything, and then go to the insurance commission.
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    If you file a claim against the driver, it will get his insurance company's attention. Insurance companies like to bluff, I had one wait until the afternoon before the court date contact me wanting to settle.
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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Tell that adjuster that s/he doesn't need to "make a determination of liability"- that police report already took care of that. Also, if you go the lawsuit route, your spouse can file a claim against them as well- s/he has suffered emotional stress and mental anguish seeing you having to go through this*.

    *Claim of causality. I was involved in an accident that totaled my minivan. Had to lawyer up and when it came time to settle before the Judge, he was the one who informed me that my wife could have filed a suit of her own against the other party.
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    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    When the insurance adjuster started flaking out after my crash with a car many years ago I just threatened to got to the doctor and get a lawyer. He had a check in the mail the next day. But, I was just asking for $500 for a new bike. If you're claiming bigger $$ that approach may not work as easily.

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    Even if you created as second account(note: I don't think the mods like puppets on here) discussing your case on here before it's settled is a bad idea. There's even a sticky about that.

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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashadvice View Post
    ..... Should I threaten the driver with a lawsuit via mail.....?
    Whatever you do..... never threaten anyone.

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    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, try to get claim handled like yours without an attorney!!! Insurance companies always hope they have a sucker so they can get away with paying nothing. Don't say nothing to the other driver, let the attorney handle EVERYTHING, And don't discuss the case here!

  11. #11
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashadvice View Post
    (created a new account so my personal info can't be traced)
    I was in a crash in which the driver was clearly at fault, this is backed up by the police report which concludes that as well. I am trying to handle my own case so that I don't have to give up big chunk to a lawyer. But the adjuster is stating they can't make a determination of liability because they can't contact the driver. What should I do? Should I threaten the driver with a lawsuit via mail, or should I press back on the insurance? Is it time to get a lawyer?
    Liability and insurance laws vary significantly by state. In some states, the insurance company may not legally be able to settle a claim against an insured without the insured's cooperation. Your claim is against the driver, his insurance company has a limited ability to act on his behalf, the details of which vary by state.

    An attorney experienced in this area of law will probably offer a free initial consultation to help clarify your position and the next steps to take.

    Are you seeking damages only for your bike, or are there injuries involved, too? If you have your own insurance to cover the damages (homeowners or renters insurance for the bike, health insurance for injuries, PIP coverage on your personal auto insurance policies in some states will cover injuries and modest disability payments), you might want to consider putting the claim in against your own insurance. They'll pay, minus your deductible, then their subrogation attorneys will take your place in pursuing a claim against the driver.

    But free internet advice is worth what you pay for it. Seek out competent local counsel and consult your local insurance agent.
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  12. #12
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashadvice View Post
    (created a new account so my personal info can't be traced)
    I was in a crash in which the driver was clearly at fault, this is backed up by the police report which concludes that as well. I am trying to handle my own case so that I don't have to give up big chunk to a lawyer. But the adjuster is stating they can't make a determination of liability because they can't contact the driver. What should I do? Should I threaten the driver with a lawsuit via mail, or should I press back on the insurance? Is it time to get a lawyer?
    If you have ability to reach the driver by mail, why can you not provide that address to the adjuster? And for whose insurance company is the adjuster working, yours or the driver's? The police report also will have info on the driver's ID and address, though I doubt that it established anybody's liability.

  13. #13
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    If the insurance company keeps giving you the run around, contact your state's department of insurance and file a compliant. I did that when my father was in a minor bumper to bumper accident in the parking lot and the opposing side's insurance refused to return my phone calls five different times. All I wanted to ask was the status of the claim. When they didn't return my phone call for the sixth time (mind you i was very patient and waited), I filed a compliant. Guess what? The d***head insurance agent finally returned my phone. He also had the audacity to ask me why I filed a compliant against him. Anyway, good luck.

  14. #14
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    Lawyer up, sounds like the driver is hiding behind the privacy act, a lawyer can easily get that info.

    Got hit back in August. Having a lawyer made dealing with the lady's insurance relatively hassle free.
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  15. #15
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    While you have plenty of options, your best course of action depends on the stakes involved. Was there an injury, and if so was it serious? Or are you only talking about a small issue involving bike damage?

    If there was injury, by which I mean injury with an ER visit, then your best bet is probably to bring in a lawyer. For a smaller claim for bicycle damages, consider something like using the small claims court.

    Other than a small claims case, there's no percentage in threatening a lawsuit yourself, because you can't proceed without a lawyer and they know that, so they won't take a threat seriously until you retain a lawyer.

    Either way, a preliminary consult with a lawyer is either chap or free, so there's little to lose by at least consulting one.
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  16. #16
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    OP, what will work best for you, mostly depends on the amount of damages to you. If the damage to you bicycle, helmet, cycle gear (add every penny in), if you commute by bicycle - rent a bicycle to continue commutes at drivers expense, and all of your current and future likely medical cost are less than you can collect in your states small claims court, then file a small claims against the driver for the full amount.

    If your damages are over the small claims limit, they still may not be high enough that a lawyer would take you case on contingency. Then file with your own insurance providers, let them pay you less deductible and let them go after the driver.

    If you have large medical bills and any chance of permanent medical or disfigurement, get the lawyer.
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  17. #17
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Other than a small claims case, there's no percentage in threatening a lawsuit yourself, because you can't proceed without a lawyer and they know that, so they won't take a threat seriously until you retain a lawyer.
    Small point, but it is possible to proceed with a civil case pro se (representing ones self). Sometimes, other than giving up, that is the only remaining option.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  18. #18
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    OP, what will work best for you, mostly depends on the amount of damages to you. If the damage to you bicycle, helmet, cycle gear (add every penny in), if you commute by bicycle - rent a bicycle to continue commutes at drivers expense, and all of your current and future likely medical cost are less than you can collect in your states small claims court, then file a small claims against the driver for the full amount.
    Renting a bike will be at the OP's expense and will remain so until (and if) he can win a claim/judgement against the driver and even then not unless he can collect the award. Given what daily bike rentals cost that is quite a gamble. Also a bike rental to commute would probably discount any claim of disability from the accident if he can still commute to work by bike.

  19. #19
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Renting a bike will be at the OP's expense and will remain so until (and if) he can win a claim/judgement against the driver and even then not unless he can collect the award. Given what daily bike rentals cost that is quite a gamble. Also a bike rental to commute would probably discount any claim of disability from the accident if he can still commute to work by bike.
    Not a gamble at all when he has a police report in hand placing fault on the driver. Having a rental fee that keeps going up each week, gives the insurance adjuster reason to settle earlier rather than later. Twice, I have gotten the full amount of the rental paid by the drivers insurance.

    Seems you believe that the OP would try and make a false disability claim, and you are giving advice on how to avoid getting caught. Maybe you are just reflecting on what you would do, but I on the other hand, am willing to assume the OP is more honest.
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  20. #20
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    To reiterate points above:

    The key questions are - and what are the damages, what adjuster is telling you he can't contact the driver?

    If you have serious injuries and the driver's insurance company is refusing to pay, get a lawyer immediately.

    If it's only property damage, you're probably below the small claims court limit (possible for auto accident, virtually guaranteed for bicycle damage). When my first car was hit, the insurance misplaced the estimates the first 2 times I submitted them. I sued in small claims court instead of sending a 3rd set of paperwork, and they offered to pay the day before court. (I still went to avoid losing by default).

    Whose adjuster is this? I'd imagine it's the drivers insurance company, so it's ridiculous for them to claim they can't contact their own insured, and not your fault even if they can't. If it's your own medical insurance, they should be paying even if you're at fault.

    In either case, call a lawyer for large medical bills, or just file in small claims court for bicycle damage.

  21. #21
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Not a gamble at all when he has a police report in hand placing fault on the driver. Having a rental fee that keeps going up each week, gives the insurance adjuster reason to settle earlier rather than later. Twice, I have gotten the full amount of the rental paid by the drivers insurance.

    Seems you believe that the OP would try and make a false disability claim, and you are giving advice on how to avoid getting caught. Maybe you are just reflecting on what you would do, but I on the other hand, am willing to assume the OP is more honest.
    Police report in hand is not money in hand. Nor is a police report, no matter what it states, a finding of liability on anyone's part.

    Despite your snide remarks about false disability claims, the advice stands; following your advice guarantees the OP nothing, but an additional bill for himself for bicycle rental, that may or may not be reimbursed.

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Police report in hand is not money in hand. Nor is a police report, no matter what it states, a finding of liability on anyone's part.

    Despite your snide remarks about false disability claims, the advice stands; following your advice guarantees the OP nothing, but an additional bill for himself for bicycle rental, that may or may not be reimbursed.
    How odd that thousands of motorist do not end up hanging when they put in their claims including rental cars while their cars are being repaired. what do they know that you do not?
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  23. #23
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Almost all law firm take cases on contingency, and love to take cases like yours. Since the Ins Co is being stupid, lawyer up and get a proper settlement. A lawyer will see to it you get what ever amount that is do you, and will have the Ins Co pay him also. I guess I dont understand why Ins Cos stonewall people when they know it would be a lot cheaper to just pay a claim to the wronged person, rather that have to pay the claim plus all the lawyers fees also.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngeloDolce View Post
    \
    If it's only property damage, you're probably below the small claims court limit (possible for auto accident, virtually guaranteed for bicycle damage). When my first car was hit, the insurance misplaced the estimates the first 2 times I submitted them. I sued in small claims court instead of sending a 3rd set of paperwork, and they offered to pay the day before court. (I still went to avoid losing by default).
    I can't speak to every jurisdiction, but I where I live, should you sue in small claims court, the insured will be served a summons and complaint by a county sheriff. That usually gets people's attention fairly quickly and would get the insured in touch with his carrier.

  25. #25
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    How odd that thousands of motorist do not end up hanging when they put in their claims including rental cars while their cars are being repaired. what do they know that you do not?
    I know that they have car collision insurance that specifically covers the cost of rental cars while the insured's car is being repaired. I know that the OP was riding a bicycle and more than likely has no insurance coverage that specifically covers bicycle rentals.

    I also know that as of this post, the OP has provided very few (actually no) details as to what, if any, damages he suffered to his body or to his bike. He has been unclear about whose insurance company he has been in contact with, or if he has any insurance at all. Who the "adjuster" is working for is unclear.

    If he is only trying to recover bicycle related costs, I doubt that any lawyer will take his case for such a relatively piddling amount. If he has personal injuries I don't know what the mystery "adjuster" is supposed to do about it.

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