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Determining liability | Fault dispute with my own insurance company!
I have recently been in an auto accident with another vehicle, and the insurance companies are now trying to determine liability.
My insurance company has determined me to be not at fault. We are awaiting the other insurance company's liability decision. They keep responding that 'they need to get a statement from their insured'.
My questions are: Is the other insured legally bound to accept his insurance company's liability decision? How long does the other insurance company legally have to determine liability, and can they determine their that their insured is liable even if the insured disagrees? What actions can I take to expedite the decision?
I live in Texas if that helps.
You have very good questions. Unfortunately, I do not encouraging answers.
The questions that you outline (which I answer below) speak to the very essence of why we write this website. These issues lead to a lot of frustration for insureds and innocent drivers.
Okay, here is what I have:
Is the other insured legally bound to accept his insurance company's liability decision?
No. Each insurance company has a duty of determining liability independently. Their decisions do not bound not do they bar the other. However, if the insurance companies cannot come to an agreement, then they have to go to arbitration. This entire process can be frustrating and it might take more than 45 days.
For more information about arbitration, please visit: http://www.auto-insurance-claim-advice.com/arbitration.html
-How long does the other insurance company legally have to determine liability, and can they determine their that their insured is liable even if the insured disagrees?
They have up to 30 days to make an investigation. However, in 30 days they are only required to put in writing why they are not making a decision (inform you of the where the investigation is at), which a simply letter might buy the another 30 days.
The cannot find against their own client unless they have independent evidence that the accident indeed happened with their client, and in their client is at fault for that.
Some accidents are clear (rear ended collisions) and if there is a police report pointing a their client as at fault (and at the scene); it would probably be sufficient to make a decision without a statement. However, most insurance companies do not (have to be very careful with bad faith) accept liability unless they talk to them.
Their argument is this: Would you like someone to start determining liability against you without first talking to you? Probably not.
In addition, insurance companies can deny coverage if they believe their insured is not cooperating with the investigation, visit:
That actions can I take to expedite the decision?
The only thing you can do is to be "on top" of the investigation making sure your insurance company pushes the issue to arbitration (see the link above). Also, after 30 days you can contact the Texas Department of Insurance, and of course, contact a local attorney before you do anything.
Please see more answers to recent personal injury and auto accident questions below:
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