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Auto Claim Denied. What can we do?
I was being tailgated by a truck. I turned my indicator on to turn left. I was ¾ of the way into the turn lane when the truck pulled into the oncoming traffic lane to try to pass me on the left.
A car was coming towards him, so he sped up and tried to pull back into my lane. As he did, he hit my driver’s side mirror with his truck right behind his passenger side door. He kept driving after he hit me and turned. I immediately started flashing my lights at him and honking my horn to try to get him to stop, but he kept driving for almost a mile.
My husband, who was in the car with me, called 911. An officer took our report. During that time the driver of the truck insisted that the accident was my fault. He at first said that I did not turn my indicator on. Then he said it was on, but it only blinked 1 & ½ times. He also stated that he did not realize that he had hit me, but that he thought he had run over something in the road.
I told the Officer that we had had to chase the truck down, because he would not stop. The Officer stated that the truck driver would be cited for improper lane change, and then released us to go our way.
I called his insurance company and filed a claim. I faxed them a copy of the police report. The police report indicates under contributing factors that the truck driver changed lanes improperly. His insurance company is denying liability. They stated that he insists that the accident was not his fault. They also said that the police report does not count as the officer did not witness the accident, and he did not issue a citation to the truck driver. And finally, they took photos of the damage to my car and the damage to his truck.
They said from the pictures, the accident could have gone either way. Based upon these premises, they are denying coverage. Is there a way to make them pay? What alternatives do I have once they have made their decision?
Unfortunately, you have a situation that is very common. Insurance companies have an affirmative right to protect their own clients. They must believe them and take their word as true unless they have strong evidence against it. Usually, having a police report against them would be enough, but they can argue that it is not. This depends on the state and I do not know how Georgia handles this situation so you need to check with an attorney on that one.
In any case, the insurance company decided to deny your claim. They believe that there is enough information to believe their client or not enough evidence against him. That is up to dispute but that is how things stand.
What usually happens is that you will go to your own insurance company. They will have to do an investigation, even if you do not have full coverage (because if the other insurance company says that the other driver is not at fault, they are also saying that you are). They will do an investigation and they will have to believe your story (unless there is strong evidence against you). At that point, they would have to settle the matter among them, usually in arbitration where an independent arbitrator will look at the evidence and make a ruling (binding).
I hope this explain the process. You should always contact an attorney.
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