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The point of arbitration VS accepting liability?
(Kirkland, Washington, USA)
I was in an accident where a very young driver reversed into the side of my car.
The accident took place in a parking lot I was driving through.
She struck my car as I drove past her car (she was parked in a space and at a standstill before I moved past her car).
She reversed straight out, I imagine without looking and hit my car dead middle.
She was extremely apologetic at first and offered to pay for the damages, and as happens, she gradually began to change her mind, especially when the estimate on repairs for my car reached over 2 thousand dollars as so many panels had been struck simultaniously.
I maintained in my statement that I hadn't seen her car approaching, and that she wasn't moving before I moved into her line of fire, and in all honesty I hadn't seen her car at all as she was out of my peripheral vision at the time of impact.
Her insurance company put me at 20 percent fault, stating that it was as much my responsibility to avoid the accident as it was hers, but I feel this is incredibly unfair as I had literally no time to react, and would need a car that could drive sideways to avoid such a collision.
For what it's worth, no one I speak to regarding this matter can believe I've been held at all accountable for such a young driver reversing into me from a point of being parked, as this shows so clearly she wasn't looking where she was going at all either before moving the car or during.
My question really is this:
Her insurance company has sent me a check for my damages (obviously minus the 20 percent they're claiming is my fault).
My options are as I understand it, to accent liability and cash the check, and hope to find somewhere who will repair for this amount or less, or pay the 500 dollar deductible and allow the claim to go into arbitration to obtain a lower figure of accountability.
Can I ask what is the best way to go here?
A 500 dollar outgoing for me right now would be extremely unfortunate to say the least and yet I am also concerned about the future implications of accepting this 20 percent liability.
Is there any point in not cashing the check and accepting the fault considering there were no medical bills, or am I missing something here?
Is there any way of knowing the likely outcome to an accident of this kind should it go to arbitration?
My loss adjustor at the time (though I now have a different one) did mention that if they're prepared to start at a 20 percent fault, then it would very likely be reduced further and possibly be made entirely her fault considering the point of impact and surrounding circumstances, etc...But I'm just a mess of questions and don't know which route to go.
Any advice would be great.
Pros and cons, etc.
Many, many thanks.
To see the pros and cons of arbitration, please visit:
Parking lot accidents are difficult. You do have a duty to look out and avoid an accident. If you did not see her, then it can be presume that you were not paying attention. If this is the case, you would be at fault for at least a portion.
The situation will turn on whether she was 100% at fault or not. Her adjuster will defend, your adjuster will also.
Remember, if you are 20% at fault, this means that you owe her for 20% of her damages (Washington is a pure comparative negligence state). Your adjuster will have to defend you.
What happens if they do not settle? – they go to arbitration. It does not matter what you think of if you would like or not to go. It is both insurance companies in the dispute. Regarding your chances of winning, you will have to talk to your adjuster about that (need all information to make this type of assessment).
The fact that she accepted fault means little or nothing in the insurance world. Many people apologize because they feel bad, not because they are at fault (they probably do not know the elements of negligence).
Cashing the check might or might not settle the claim, depending on what kind of language the check has in it. If the language states that this is the release of any and all claims, then it might release all your rights.
You will have to take the check to an attorney and see what effect cashing this check would have.
We hope this helps some,
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