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boazdog

Partial Liability

3 posts in this topic

I was in a car accident on 11/13/12. I was about to go through a green light when a driver in the opposite direction turned left in front of me after their leading green had changed. I braked but was unable to avoid impact and hit the other car in the rear passenger side. The other driver stated on her report she was turning at a yellow light. The responding officer told me she said she was trying "to beat the light", but that statement wasn't on the police report.

I feel they are 100% liable for turning left in front of oncoming traffic. I incurred damages of $3,800.00 to my vehicle. I have no collision coverage. The other party's insurance company called to tell me they were only going to assume 60% of the liabilty. Small claims court in RI has a $2,500.00 limitation. I can't even accept the 60% payment and fight for the remaining 40% because they say if a check is issued they're released of any further damages. I have tried to see if I could retain an attorney on my behalf but have been told it wasn't worth taking to court. Do I have any other recourse, or am I entirely at their mercy? My insurance company told me they also asked them for 40% liability damages but they were denying it because it was pretty much a "slam dunk" case in my favor. The other party's insurance claims "she had control of the intersection" therefore they won't pay more than 60%.

Sorry to go so in length with the details. I'd really appreciate advice even it means I should accept their offer.

Thank You

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I can't even accept the 60% payment and fight for the remaining 40% because they say if a check is issued they're released of any further damages.

Merely accepting a payment would not effect a full release. However, it may be that the insurer is unwilling to pay anything unless you release the claim in full. Did you try making a counter-offer for, e.g., 75 or 80%?

I have tried to see if I could retain an attorney on my behalf but have been told it wasn't worth taking to court.

Well...think about it. The chances of finding an attorney who charges less than $200-250 per hour are fairly slim, so, even if a lawyer only spends 10 hours on the case, that's $2,500 in fees that you'd incur to chase $3,800 (or, actually, $1,520 since the insurer is willing to pay 60%), and those fees aren't recoverable even if you win.

Do I have any other recourse, or am I entirely at their mercy?

First of all, I assume you've now learned why carrying collision coverage is smart. Second, as noted above, you're free to make a counter-offer. Third, it is unfortunate that RI has a ridiculously low small claims limit, but you're free to sue in "regular" court without an attorney.

My insurance company told me they also asked them for 40% liability damages but they were denying it because it was pretty much a "slam dunk" case in my favor.

I have no idea who "they" or "them" are in this sentence.

The other party's insurance claims "she had control of the intersection" therefore they won't pay more than 60%.

The other party's insurer believes its client's story. Not terribly surprising. Are you aware of any non-party witnesses who might back up your story, or is this likely to come down to your word versus the other driver's word? If so, you need to keep in mind that you might very well end up with much less than 60%. That might seem unfair because you "know" that your version of the events is the "truth," but the problem is that, unless you can come up with a video recording or a witness to back up your story, objective strangers aren't simply going to accept what you say as absolute truth, and there's no better way to handle stuff like this.

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