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4 Car Accident at Fault Insurance Policy Limits Might Exceed

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by Jay n, Dec 13, 2020.

  1. Jay n

    Jay n Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Good Morning,

    My wife was involved in a 4 car accident in which the at fault vehicle the last one rear ended car in front of her and that car got pushed into my wife's car who's car then got pushed into another vehicle. The accident happened on the freeway and the at fault driver was negligent and ticketed for speeding. my wife's Audi Q5 was totaled along with the 2 other vehicles behind her. The at fault driver's insured is progressive and injury claim was placed. My wife finished her treatments and submitted a claim for $37k. Her medical bills/lost wages totaled about $17k and asking for $20k in compensation. Progressive called her stating that the insured policy limits may exceed as the car behind my wife's car the driver is suppose to be having spinal surgery and the insured has not given progressive authority to resolve my claim.

    1) what remedy's do i have to resolve my claim if progressive is stating the insured has not given them authority to resolve my claim?
    2) How long should i wait as she said they will follow up in 30 days.
    3) What have others done in this situation to resolve the claim? should i hire a personal injury lawyer? i did everything my self so far.

    Please advise what remedy options i could have.

    thank you

    Jay
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I suggest you submit a claim to the insurance of the vehicle that actually struck your wife's vehicle. Though one driver may have been speeding and initiated the collision, the others apparently did not maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them, resulting in your wife being struck from behind.
     
  4. Jay n

    Jay n Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks i will try and see if i can find out the policy limits and possibly make a claim on the driver that hit my wife's car. the other vehicle was stopped behind my wife's car when it was hit at 60 MPH and it pushed his car into my wife's car and my wife's car into the car ahead of her. Didnt think about this option since he was already stopped.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A personal injury lawyer's fee varies.

    Insurance companies know how to intimidate injury victims – it’s what they do for a living. They’ll tell you things like:

    1: You were actually to blame for the accident
    2: You can’t prove in court the full long-term physical and emotional impact of your injury
    3: Your doctor’s assessment isn’t good enough and you need to submit to an examination by one of the insurance company's attorneys approved health care professionals
    4: Additionally, they will use every tool at their disposal to tie up your claim settlement in an attempt to make you desperate enough for money to pay medical bills and your living expenses that you are willing to settle for an amount less than what you deserve.

    Personal injury victims who have a reputable law firm on their side have a much better chance of receiving the money they deserve in part because the insurance company will know that picking a fight with an experienced, proven personal injury lawyer will eventually cost more in legal fees than the claim is worth to them.

    Of course, the threat of legal fees is only present if the injured party has hired a lawyer to fight for them. If the injury victim doesn’t have an attorney, the insurance company doesn’t have to factor legal fees into their cost-benefit analysis.

    A general rule of thumb for calculating pain and suffering is adding together actual damages – namely things like medical bills, rehabilitation costs, property damage and lost wages – then multiplying that number by 1 through 5, depending on the severity of the injury.

    If your injury cost $8,000 to treat, you lose $2,000 of income while you were unable to work, and your auto accident injury was a 3 on the severity scale; your attorney may seek $30,000 in pain and suffering damages.

    A general rule of thumb says a personal injury attorney obtains two to four times the amount of money a pro se victim receives for the same injury. Factoring in a 40% contingency fee for the attorney, the victim receives a BIGGER award, even after the attorney gets her cut.
     
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Stopped is the important word. There was no negligence (fault) of the driver behind your wife's car, though I suppose it wouldn't hurt to file the claim and see how it goes.

    By the way, as noted on the other site, you might want to read your Underinsured Motorists Coverage section of your policy to see how that works in case it comes into play at some point.
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Re-read the post. The vehicles (aside from the at-fault vehicle) were stopped and then pushed in to one another. They were certainly maintaining a safe distance.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Huh? The "at fault vehicle . . . rear ended [the] car in front of her"? If Car A rear ended Car B and Car B was in front of Car C, there's no way that would cause CAR B to be pushed into Car C.

    I assume what you meant is that Car A was in front of Car B (your wife's car), that Car B was in front of Car C, and that Car D started the accident by rear ending Car C. Correct?

    What is the basis for the $20k?

    You have no remedies and it's not your claim. Also, the at-fault driver's insurer does not the driver's "authority to resolve [the] claim." Your wife's remedy is to sue the at-fault driver. However, that would probably be pointless. Do you know what the limits are of the at-fault driver's liability coverage?

    The statute of limitations to sue for personal injury is two years from the date of injury.

    Let's say that the at-fault driver has bodily injury limits of $30,000/60,000. That means the insurer will pay up to $30k per person and up to $30k per incident. It sounds like one of the other drivers' injuries are much more serious than your wife's. You said your wife is seeking $37k and that there's another potentially injured person, so let's say that the other injured persons are seeking $100k and 25k. If we assume all claims are valid, then that's a total of $162k to be paid out of a $60k policy. The insurer will offer a pro rata settlement, which would give the most seriously injured driver $37,037.04, which would be reduced to $30k by the per person limit. Your wife and the third injured person would split the remaining $30k on a pro rata basis, which would leave your wife with a bit over $17,900.

    Your wife can sue the at-fault driver for damages in excess of insurance, but (1) that will delay the insurance payout, and (2) unless the at-fault driver has significant assets and income beyond insurance, it will likely be fruitless.

    Was your wife carrying uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage at the time of the accident? If so, she can and should make a claim against her own policy.

    While there's no downside to submitting a claim to the other drivers' insurers, "mightymoose's" suggestion was based on an erroneous assumption, so submitting such other claims almost certainly will result in no recovery for your wife.

    There was nothing in the original post about cars being stopped in traffic.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    My mistake - I inferred it. It still stands that, if each of the cars was actually pushed into the one in front of them, then they are not responsible for the collision with the vehicle in front of them.
     
  10. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I imagine this varies by state, but driver training typically teaches to leave a car length between vehicles when stopped. If these multiple vehicles had proper distance it is unlikely they would all have been damaged.
    It is common on any day to see vehicles at a stoplight just a couple feet apart. That is careless and negligent. I would bet there is an accident report that will show these vehicles were closer than they should have been, that each only moved a few feet and proper spacing would have prevented additional impacts. It does not hurt the OP here to make that claim
     
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    If the vehicles were stopped and not already in contact, then they were maintaining "proper distance". You will find nowhere in the law that any specific distance is required when stopped. It may be "careless", but it is not negligent.
     
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  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    If three cars are stopped in traffic and the back car is rear ended by a car going 60mph, even a car length isn't going to prevent all three cars from being damaged.

    As far as "driver training" goes, I'm not sure how a driver is supposed to determined how far a "car length" is while stopped. It's not like you can get out of your car and measure and adjust. There is no chance any insurer or jury would assess any fault to the drivers of the middle two cars if they were, in fact, stopped in traffic.
     
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  13. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    That doesn't even address the vagueness of the phrase "car length".
    A 1978 Lincoln Continental Mark V is considerably longer than a 2014 Smart Fortwo. Both are cars (using the technical definition haha), but the Lincoln is over 10 feet longer...
     
  14. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Yup, which is why I had "car length" in quotation marks.

    When I took my behind the wheel training many, many years ago, the instructor recommended stopping so that I can see ground between my hood and the car in front of me. He illustrated this using a cone, and he had me get out to see how much room that actually was. Of course, that's not precise either (given that different vehicles have different hood heights and slopes) and, of course, it was merely a recommendation.
     
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  15. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Yes, it's a good idea to stop with some distance between your car and the car in front of you. But it's not law. It's not even a duty of care. Every driver has an expectation that he/she will not be hit by the car behind him and therefore has no legal duty to mitigate that possibility.
     
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