Philadelphia Drivers Likely to Face Car Insurance Issues After a Collision

August 26th, 2015

Insurance companies will often go to great lengths to avoid paying auto insurance claims.  Crash victims who sustain property damage or injuries may need legal assistance to handle car insurance issues after a collision, because insurers have experts on their payroll designed to help the insurance company avoid and minimize claims payments.

How Far Will Insurers Go to Avoid Paying Out Claims?business signing contract

The SC Times reported a recent case showing how far car insurers are willing to go to avoid paying even relatively insignificant amounts of money. An insurance company representing major rental car providers spent more than a year fighting to avoid paying less than $2,500 in additional losses to a family after an accident clearly caused by one of their policyholders.

The incident arose from a motor vehicle collision caused by the driver of a vehicle owned by National Car Rental. There was no dispute the driver of the rental car was at fault for the crash. The insurance company accepted liability for the accident.  However, problems arose regarding the amount the insurer would pay for crash losses.

The driver who was struck by the National Car Rental vehicle was a young man in a Buick with 147,000 miles on it. The value of the Buick was between $3,500 and $5,000 based on reasonable estimates determined by looking at comparable cars.  The insurance company, however, initially offered just $1,300 to settle the claim with the family who owned the Buick. The family had spent $1,200 to store the car while the crash investigation was pending and to tow the vehicle back to a location near their home.  Obviously, they felt this amount of money was not sufficient to cover their losses and they did not accept the insurance company’s settlement offer.

The mother of the young man driving the vehicle provided information to the insurance company showing the worth of the car. She also disputed the claim the insurance company made alleging the company could not determine the mileage on the Buick because the car was unable to start.   She made repeated telephone calls to try to move the case forward and to try to get the insurer to pay a reasonable settlement.

When no progress was made, the mother called the Insurance Commissioner to complain. The Commissioner reached out to the insurer, but the insurer for the rental car company still refused to budge on the amount they were willing to pay (they had slightly increased their offer by this time to $2,882 after several back and forth negotiations).  The insurer for the rental car company told the Insurance Commissioner the family had taken the chance of being without a carrier to mitigate losses when the family had foregone collision coverage on the Buick. However, the family was still entitled to be compensated for actual losses caused by the policyholder who caused their crash.

After a year of back-and-forth, the mother fighting for fair compensation for the Buick had a stack of paperwork more than four inches thick. The insurance company finally made a settlement offer of $3,522 and the family accepted it.

If an insurance company is willing to draw out a fight for more than a year over such a small amount of money, the insurance company would likely be even more reluctant to pay out a larger amount to a crash victim who suffered an injury and incurred significant losses. Victims of crashes need to be prepared to do battle to overcome car insurance issues and get the money due to them after a serious or fatal collision.

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