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Other driver's fault Insurance company not paying

by Elizabeth

My husband & I were in a minor car wreck at our local mall. The other driver was going to fast in the mall parking lot, not paying attention, & hit the passenger side of my car.

Body shop estimate is $2,673.77, his insurance adjuster estimated damages at $1,732.09. He told me to call the claim handler in a couple days.

She returned the call on ten days later, stating that she was waiting to hear back from the other driver to finish handling my claim, but that he was in school most of the day (he's only in school 8-3) & that she would get back to me.

Not understanding what talking to him had to do with them paying to have my car fixed & after almost 4 weeks & hearing nothing from her, I faxed a letter stating that if I didn't get a check soon I was going to sue.

My car was drivable until the radiator went out, so it has been sitting in my driveway waiting for the insurance check so we can pay for mechanical problems while the wreck damage is being fixed.

We have had several rain storms & rain is leaking into my car at the damaged area getting the carpet wet, this may have to be replaced. My husband & I have been sharing our suburban so we have spent an extra $100.00 in gas each week while waiting on the insurance check. Also I will need a rental car when my car goes in the shop, it will be cheaper than us having to share the suburban.

I sent her the fax saying I wanted the $1,732.09 + $250.00 (rental car) + $200.00 (gas she has cost us being slow) for a total of $2,182.09. Told her that if I didn't get that very soon then I was sueing for the highest estimate + $250.00 (rental car) + $200.00 in gas, which would be a total of $3,123.77.

It is now going into the 7th week so all these totals will go up another $100.00. Finally got a message from her today & said she needed to talk to me more about the liability claim.

What more does she need to know - her insured driver was at fault & they need to pay for my car to be fixed. It has been 3 months since the accident & they are dragging their feet, this is getting ridiculous.


Hello Elizabeth,

I am sorry to hear you are in this situation. Be aware of what is happening here. The insurance company will tell you that you have a duty to mitigate your damages, meaning that you cannot let water damage your vehicle or you cannot continue driving the car until the radiator leaks.

I know this is unfair because without money, you cannot get your car fixed and they are dragging their feet to pay, so you cannot get them paid. However, most courts will put that very heavy burden on you. You must be able to show that you are doing everything in your power to avoid a bigger loss.

You can fax a letter telling them that you have done everything you can, but that their inability to get the matter handled has created this further damages.

Read more about the duty to mitigate damages here:

There is no question that the insurance company has drop the ball here. They do have to talk to their client before they pay out. It is like your insurance company cannot pay for any one else's damages before talking to you.

They have a duty to do this. Most states allow them to wait up to 30 days before making a decision. This is really harsh on vehicle victims, but it does happen today, and it is probably where the insurance company is going to hide.

In this situation, you might want to contact your own insurance company and see if they pay for your damages (if you have collision). you might not have this coverage, or you would probably already have them do this.

If you are in a bind, and you are up their mercy, you can 1. get a lawyer, or you can contact the office of the insurance commissioner in your state and report the insurance company. Most people seem to have good result because it gets the insurance company moving. You can do both.

One more note: If the adjuster is saying that they want to discuss the "liability" claim, they might be very well thinking that you might be at fault for the accident (at least 1% at fault).

Good Luck,

Follow up question:

The radiator had nothing to do with the car wreck, I was just saying that because of that the car is not drivable. As far as it leaking from the damage, I have no choice because I have no where to take it to until this is settled, because I don't want to have to pay storage fees.

I'm not allowing my full coverage insurance to pay for this when it was clearly not our fault. The police report clearly states that "Vehicle 2 (him) did not see his way clear before proceeding & struck Vehicle 1 (us)."

Point blank, I did not ask to be hit or inconvenienced so I'm not paying anything & want to be compensated for the extra costs I have inncurred because of them being very slow.

I work for a lawyer, but I will contact the insurance commissioner first. Thank you for your time & response.


We can't agree more with you. When you are in a car accident (and you are the victim), it seems that you have to do a lot of things to get your damages taken care of. You were hit at not fault of your own, but yet, it seems like you have to beg to get the car fix.

Our answer above gives an overview of the insurance company may raise against you (thereby delaying the payment). It does not mean that they will do it. Contacting the office of the insurance commissioner is always a good solution. Being represented by an attorney that you have access to daily (at work), is also a great tool in your advantage.

Certainly, do not let them push you around. It seems like they do with just about everyone.

Good Luck,

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