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What am I Entitled Too?

by Greg
(Long Island new York)

Hello, My wife was in a vehicle accident about 10 days ago (we live on long Island, New York). It was not her fault as the other vehicle disregarded a red light. The police report and witnesses confirmed our account as well as the driver at the scene. However when the other driver reported the accident to her insurance company she claimed it was my wife's fault and the insurance company delayed taking responsibility until they got the police report, ultimately they have accepted 100% of the blame.

Nobody in my family was seriously hurt except for a minor bloody lip when my 4 year old daughter bit it on impact.

However this whole incident has been nothing but a headache, I have lost at least 10 working hours filling out paper work and dealing with the various aspects of the claim. The accident also occurred on the first night of our holiday causing us to miss our party and comfort our daughter all night cause she was scared.

To add to this headache the insurance company (not mine, the at fault vehicle's carrier State Farm) has been dragging their feet on visiting my car at the body shop, the car is not drivable and has been sitting waiting for them for 7 business days)

They have given me a rental but the rental is not an equal exchange to the vehicle that was damaged. Overall thank God everyone is OK, but this has caused me significant time and headache and I do not feel the insurance company has been helpful as evidenced by the time they have taken to adjust my car.

My question is what am I entitled too from a settlement perspective besides monies for the damage to my car? Can I seek restitution for my time and mental anguish? Are they liable to me in any way based on their delay in reviewing my claim? Should I take the driver of the other vehicle to small claims court?

I am simply looking to make myself whole I estimate my damages (besides the car) to be in the area of $2500 - $5000 when I consider the time and anguish factor. What do you advice?

Comments for What am I Entitled Too?

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Dec 14, 2007
by: Hector

You have a difficult claim on your hands.

Unfortunately, the law places a heavy burden on the victims of car accidents. You must prove that you had actual damages. By actual damages you must be able to show that you were 1. Injured or that you lost wages that were casually related to the injury (not accident).

Regarding mental anguish and time lost, you need to show that you lost time (per pay check or wages lost), not time that you lost because you had to stay up. Again, this is highly unfair because as you outlined, then entire thing is a mess, you have to fill out paper work and doing a bunch of foot work because some one hit you.

To show mental anguish, you have to see a medical doctor or a psychiatrist that can document and diagnose the injury. Simple worry or mental distress without a medical record will not be worth anything.

The insurance company has 30 days to investigate the claim. It sounds like they made a liability or fault decision with in that type frame. They should be moving faster to get the car fixed. You can have a body shop do an estimate and then fax it to them and have them approve it so you can get the car fixed.

Regarding the claim about not having a similar rental car, your best bet is to contact the department of insurance or the office of the insurance commissioner (it’s call different things in different states), they will be able to tell you what kind of accommodations the insurance company must make for you.

Some states only have to provide basic transportation (it could mean a bus or a metro pass). Some other states require the same or better transportation. We are not sure what is the rule of law in Long Island, New York.

As far as being compensated for anything else above and beyond the vehicle damages, your best bet is the injury claim of your daughter. That is compensation that she would receive. She had a bloody lip.

There is no information as of any medical bills regarding that, but you can still make the argument. It is possible that the insurance company will seek to settle you for her injury. That is probably your best bet.
We hope this helps.


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