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Ins. Co jacked up my premium for an accident that I did not cause

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by lakshmi, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. lakshmi

    lakshmi Law Topic Starter New Member

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    A motorist rear ended the car in front of her really hard on a busy street in stop-n-go traffic while I was behind her. I almost managed to stop in time and barely touched her car. But she claimed to my insurance company that I rear ended her and pushed her into the car in front. But tere is absolutely no damage to the front of my car while the front of her car has severe damage and no rear damage. Surprisingly my insurance company chose to believe her story over mine saying in a written response that "what the other driver said did not support your version of the accident". My insurance company doggedly refuses to even inspect my car saying "short of tearing down my vehicle, there would be no way to detect hidden damage". In short, due to their unwillingness to properly investigate the claim/laziness/lack of due diligence, they paid out about 18,000$ in damages. As a result, my insurance premiums have gone up significantly. And I cannot switch insurance companies as this accident is now on my record. It appears that I have no choice but to sue in small claims. The question is
    1. How do I sue an insurance company ? Do I send the small claims case notice to my insurance claims adjuster(s) or is there a special department where I should send it ?
    2. I want the insurance company to "do a proper investigation" so that my name is cleared. So what should be the wording of my claim when I file the case ?

    I took pictures of the accident scene and I am confident that someone with common sense will see my side of the story. But to bolster my claim, do I need a "report" from someone who reviews the damage to all the cars and states that I could not be responsible for the accident ? Who provides these "reports" , how much do they cost and can I recover the costs from the insurance company ?

    Any help appreciated

    Thanks
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    You don't want to take on an insurance company without an attorney, and that costs money. You might want to visit an attorney for a consult to determine if you have anything worth pursuing. There is likely some language in your policy that explains your options.
     
  3. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    You need to talk to an attorney to see if you "might" have a case to pursue. Take all your papers, pictures, policy etc. with you.
     
  4. lakshmi

    lakshmi Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your response. Will a lawyer be interested in this and will he take this up on contingency ? It is not the usual case of a claim being denied but of the insurance company raising my premium without doing any due diligence whatsoever. You also mentioned my policy having verbiage on how to pursue this further. Where would I find this listed in the policy ? I asked the claims advisor what options I had to escalate and he said there was nothing and they were closing my complaint.
    Also, will my case be thrown out of small claims on procedural matters if I do not find a lawyer to take it ?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I suggest you forget this.
    No attorney, worth his or her salt will take this case on a contingency basis.
    That said, ask any attorney HOW much they would require to represent you, assuming that is, you can find a decent attorney with any interest in this case.
    From my view, no disrespect intended, you have NO case.

    You are free to bring any case you wish to small claims.
    I don't see it being tossed for any procedural flaw.
    If it is dismissed in small claims, it'll be because a small claims judge has no power to do anything more than award monetary damages.
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I suspect an attorney could help you find the language in your policy that explains why trying to sue would not be a good option here.
    I believe an insurance company can hike your rate for mere involvement in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
    Perhaps you need to consider another company with low cost liability coverage for awhile? Shop around.
     
  7. lakshmi

    lakshmi Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi Army Judge
    >>From my view, no disrespect intended, you have NO case.
    Please clarify why you think I have NO case. I can understand that the case is "too minor" for a lawyer to get interested but there has to be some recourse for me other than being at the whims of a poor claims adjuster.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You aren't at the whim of some insurance adjuster.
    What happened to you evolved as result of the language in your prior policy.
    I suggest you reread that policy.
    You'll find that an insurance company can raise your rates, depending upon the language in your policy, because you were involved in one accident.
    You are free to pay the increased rate, or find a carrier that will insure you for a cheaper rate.

    This article by an insurance company explains the myth of rates rising just because of ONE accident, at fault or not.

    https://www.esurance.com/info/car/myth-rates-automatically-rise-after-a-claim

    There is far more that caused your rates to rise than one accident.

    Your FICO score could have fallen, you may have received too many moving citations, you may have a history that deems you to b e a high risk, your age may be working against you, your health could be causing you problems, and even your zip code could be at play here.

    I suggest you call the carrier and inquire.
    Don't assume you know why until you ask, and without READING your entire policy.
     
  9. lakshmi

    lakshmi Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi Army Judge
    >>Don't assume you know why until you ask
    I asked the insurance company and they said it was because they determined that I CAUSED the accident.
    And I have a Zero traffic tickets, am in good health, have a good credit score and hold a good job :) But from you explanation it seems that the insurance rates can go up for no justifiable reason. If that is not at the whim of an insurance company, then what is ?

    >> find a carrier that will insure you for a cheaper rate
    You need to realize that every insurance carrier can see this in my record. So I am not going to get a good rate even if I want to switch.


    And I get a distinct impression here that you are making an assumption that I was at fault. I will let the small claims judge be the judge of that after listening to the facts of the case. The only questions that I need an answer for are
    1. Can I sue in small claims
    and
    2. what should be the wording of my claim



    Regards
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    1, yes, anyone can file a lawsuit.
    2, you'll have to plead your own case, sorry.
     
  11. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    You can read your policy re when your premium can be increased. If you prefer, you can have a lawyer read your policy.

    You can sue in small claims court without a lawyer if you decide that is what you want to do/try.

    That's about all we can tell you.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Whether or not you sue in small claims depends on what you hope to achieve. It sounds as if small claims would not be appropriate for you. Again, an attorney could help you figure out what to do and where to do it, if anything at all.
     

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