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4 car accident | Fault

by Becky

I had a car accident a week ago last Tuesday, February 26, 2008, in my high school parking lot. I wasn’t speeding. I was pulling into my parking spot, and when I went to hit the brake my accelerator locked. It was one of the scariest things that have ever happened to me.

I hit three cars. Nobody was in the cars. I wasn’t hurt. Recovery of all vehicles is in progress. The driver of one of the vehicles that I hit, a colleague, asked in a letter that my husband and I make up the difference between what the insurance allowed for her to fix her car and what the body shop would pay.

USAA has asked for copies of all written correspondence from her. It was a total loss, but she chose to fix it. There was a $400.00 balance. Additionally, since she has accepted a settlement, her rental car coverage has lapsed with our insurance. My insurance was covering her.

Starting on March 11 she won’t have a rental car paid for. She has asked that my husband and I pay for her rental car because she doesn’t have the money to pay for a rental on her own. This is a fact. She doesn’t know how she’ll get to work without a vehicle.

I feel like I need to pick her up for work, but I don’t want to assume personal liability, when the liability is with the insurance company. She mentioned that she wanted to go to small claims court.

This was extremely awkward for me. I called my insurance, USAA, and I was told under no circumstance should I give her money; I have to follow advisement from USAA, but I want to make sure we are doing the right thing by taking such a hard line.

Her claim was with USAA, not us personally. She feels likes it’s “fair” for us to pay since her car was parked and not at fault. I told her to get her insurance company involved and communicate with USAA. She did mention that she didn’t have rental reimbursement with her company-“e-insurance”.

If she was going to go after someone it should be USAA. How does she go about getting compensation for her car, rental, and anguish? I can’t give her guidance, but I kept repeating that her claim was with USAA, not us, and to call her insurance company.

USAA said that we would be represented in any type of lawsuit. I feel horrible for her situation. Can her insurance company help her get compensation through USAA?


Hello Becky,

I am sorry to hear about his situation. As you mentioned, USAA must cover all damages. If the vehicle is a total loss, then they must go through that process. If she chooses to fix the vehicle (even though the vehicle is a total loss), then that is her choice. Basically, the insurance company decided to buy her vehicle as if the vehicle was not in a car accident, and then sell it again to her as a damaged vehicle.

This means that she has been compensated for her damages. When there is a total loss, there are rights to rental car, but this is only for very short time (some times one day, depending in your state).

If you USAA is not paying for any other rental it is most likely because she is no longer entitled to it (by state law).

You can help her out, but by this you would be making things a little harder. If you promise to give her rides, she is going to assume that you are assuming further responsibility, which you are not. this is one of those situations were being nice can come back and hurt you.

It is very likely that USAA will not give her more money as they already have settle all her damages and all they believe she is entitled to. Remember, USAA is paying this on your behalf, so according to them and you state law, you are probably not require to pay anything else.

I understand you feel bad, but she should not have settle a claim unless she was getting a good deal. If she did not, then the problem with the rental car and damages is not about the accident, but the fact that she could not negotiate.

USAA must protect you in case of a lawsuit. If she takes you to court and wins, then USAA must further pay for any resulting judgment (even if they don't want). This is just about the only way you are going to have USAA pay more money, by going to court and losing.

Can her insurance company help her. Probably not if she already settle. If she has rental coverage, they might pay for it and then go after USAA, but if she does not (which you said she did not), then she is pretty much left at her own device.

Regarding the "anguish". There is no payment for anguish, pain and suffering, or inconvenience unless there is an actual bodily injury. If she was not in the vehicle, it is very unlikely she would ever get any compensation from a court.

I hope this helps,

Good Luck,

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