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Another Question about Auto Accident

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by rico_the_redneck, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Something up has come up in our run-in with a tractor trailer two weeks ago. Original thread is linked here: http://www.sportsjournalists.com/forum/threads/51347/

    So, a few days after the accident, I call the trucker's insurance company. It's a local company with a third-party claims company they deal with that's located out of state. The local agent said the trucking co. had called in and admitted it was their fault. The driver of the truck was cited for failing to yield the right of way by the police at the scene. Seemed open and shut to me as to the question of fault.

    The third-party claims company their insurance company uses sucks, so we end up subrogating the claim through our own insurance company, State Farm. In Georgia, the third party claims co. (Unitrin Business Insurance) still has to handle the bodily injuries. They're going to be slow, I get it, but at least we'll get our minivan back because State Farm is handling that part of the deal.

    So finally, the bodily claims person from Unitrin Business Insurance (trucker's claims people) calls today and the lady tells my wife the trucker has decided to contest the ticket and now claims he was stopped in the middle of the road and we ran into him. I think I see what he's doing here: trying to save his own ass the ticket and make this a contributory negligence/last clear chance sort of thing where we pay our part ($6,000 in repairs to the van plus medical for back injuries) and he pays his part presumably because in his fantasy world my wife should have seen a stopped truck (that wasn't really stopped) in the road and not hit him?

    So, the little town this happened in says there will be an arraignment if he pleads not guilty on the ticket and it will go to trial. We'll be subpoenaed. This is stupid. The police report says "[truck driver] stated there was a vehicle obstructing his view and he proceeded into the roadway striking vehicle 2 (us)."

    I'm a nervous person, I don't know anyone else who's been in this situation, but this just pisses me off royally. How does this a-hole change his story? If he gets out of the ticket, then we have a hard time getting our deductible from State Farm and our rates go up, I'm guessing. He damned himself by saying he pulled into us to the police officer is what I'm thinking. But you never know. Do we need a lawyer if/when we get subpoenaed? Can we subpoena his insurance agent, who he has admitted fault to? Can we subpoena the guy that pulled in front of us that obstructed his view since he works for this same company that hit us?

    State Farm is handling this like it was our claim until all is said and done. Then they go after Unitrin for all they paid out plus our deductible.

    At this point, I want to stick it to these people. Slow as f-k insurance claims people, and now the driver is trying to dodge responsibility. Is the police report the be-all, end-all? I'd be happy suing the trucking company and letting the lawyer keep all the damages at this point just out of spite. This idiot has already caused us more hassle than it's worth and now this crap? Any advice, either on what to do or how to keep my sanity :)
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Might not be a bad idea to at least speak with an attorney .

    Have you spoken with your State Farm agent about situation ? What do they suggest? To me it still seems like it would be covered in the subragation process.
  3. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Get an attorney!
  4. Waiting to hear back from the claims person with State Farm that's handling our case. It was late in the afternoon when we got the new info, and we couldn't reach her. That's my first instinct is to see what they recommend. They might provide a lawyer. Dunno.
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    I know it's hard but you need to take emotion out of the equation. Now its a business situation. The farther away you can remove yourself from the process the better off you will be.

    You have to remember that you are the amatuer going against pro's. The 3rd party adjusters job is not to pay out as much money as possible.
  6. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    If you get an attorney, don't use your cousin-in-law or your attorney from your first divorce or the guy who wrote your will. Seek out an attorney who specializes in transportation law and has experience in matters involving semi-trailers. There are whole firms that exist for that subspecialty.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    This is a process that may take years. It's going to be a marathon, not a sprint. It's hard not to get upset, but you will need to pace yourself.

    The trucker might also be pleading not guilty in the hopes of plea-bargaining the ticket down. Some states allow that for moving violations. In exchange for not going to trial, the driver gets something like "Failure to obey a traffic device." and ends up paying a lesser fine and gettling less points on his license.
  8. I'm part of that uniquely American culture that wants things done yesterday and if they're not it bugs the hell out of me. I guess it's time to come down to Earth and realize the points being made here: this may take a while and I shouldn't worry about things I can't control. Oh yeah, I'm real thin skinned if you couldn't tell.

    I called the State Farm claims office today and they said not to worry about the trucker fighting the ticket. The State Farm rep said the ticket had no bearing on fault in the accident and not to bother testifying if we didn't get a subpoena. He also said, from looking at the photos of our van from the body shop and the police report, that if the trucker were insured by State Farm, they would accept responsibility with no more questions asked. I told the guy I wished the trucker had been insured by State Farm.

    But that's not what I get to deal with. I get this shit ass company nobody's ever heard of. My wife tells me today that the bodily claims adjuster she spoke to Thursday from the trucker's insurance co. asked whether we had our dog with us and where the dog was (it's mini dachshund and she was in my wife's lap ... so fucking what). My wife said she felt baited by this woman the entire time she was questioning her. Oh yeah, I'm sure they know about the dog because of the little bitch-ass secretary for this trucking company, who was out making smart ass comments at my wife right after the accident.

    Basically, the trucker has made up a new story about what happened after he's had time to think about it and his insurance company is trying to get us to play into that story so they don't have to pay. There's a legal term that escapes me ... basically what you say during or right after a big event holds more weight with the law because you are going to be more spontaneous right after the event than down the road after you've had time to think things over and make up a new story. So I guess their new story so far is: While the police report says the driver admitted he couldn't see oncoming traffic and pulled into us, he was actually sitting in the road stalled or some such shit and my wife, distracted by the dog, rammed into him. My 3 1/2 year old son was also in the backseat. I assume he could have been a distraction, too. Oh yeah, I was in the car too ... why stop at the dog ... the kid was screaming, I was annoying my wife by talking to her about "No Country for Old Men" and the dog was in her lap ... so she ran into this moron. Yeah, that makes sense.

    I talked to several people at the trucker's insurance company today trying to get them to pay for our rental (we used up the $500 limit we had on our State Farm policy and our van will be in the shop two more weeks at least). They're still investigating to determine whether to accept fault. I have a feeling we're fucked on getting a rental out of this company. I'm gone all day, so how my daughter gets home from school (no bus service for this little school) is going to be an issue. State Farm won't extend the limit even though they're subrogating. The bodily injuries supervisor I talked to at Unitrin Insurance wanted me to email him the police report and the pictures I have. He said the trucking company is also supposed to be sending them photos. I'll email him the police report so he can see where the driver he is insuring is changing his story, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I send him the pictures I took. Why would I want to show my hand at this point with them obviously trying to make this a contributory negligence/last clear chance issue against us rather than a straight negligence problem for the trucker.

    OK. End of tonight's rant. For those of you that took time to read this, thanks for letting me mostly vent. I know we all have problems in life and mine could be a lot worse. I apologize in advance for annoying you!

    The wife and I went to the chiropractor today. I'm usually skeptical of chiropractors and I left still skeptical. But we've both had back pain, they are direct billing State Farm against our medical rider, so presumably this no-name claims company will be paying us back for all the chiropractic treatment when this is all done, plus pain and suffering. Hate to have that attitude ... but when I've been at fault in accidents, I don't go back and make up shit after the fact. I take responsibility. If they want to try to dodge responsibility, they'll pay. I'll hire a lawyer and sue the trucking company (and the trucker himself?) if it comes to that. But I feel good about State Farm handling the subrogation and arbitration if it goes to that.

    So that's that. Oh yeah ... we're supposed to get 1-4 inches of snow tomorrow. That's something to be happy about  :) First time in recent memory if we get close to the high end of that and it sticks!
  9. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    i'm a lawyer. i've handled some personal injury defense claims in my short time as a practicing lawyer. your situation, although it sucks, is common. it will take years to resolve.

    if you're deposed, by no means do you need a lawyer but yes, you should have one. now that it's in suit you should be able to find a lawyer who will take this on contingency. this is good and bad. he'll fight for more money for you, but he'll take as much as 40 percent.

    and boom is right. this is a business situation. do your best to remove any emotion and move on with your lives.
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