Car Insurance Company Nightmare

Got into a car accident on April 7th and it’s now May 18th and my claim is pretty much nowhere close to being finished.

Details On The Accident
I was in the drive thru at McDonalds and a taxi was in front of me. For some reason, the taxi had his car turned off. When the line moved forward, he turned the car on and the engine was revving as if his foot was on the pedal to the floor (but he said it wasn’t). He out it in drive, and he hit the building. He went to put it in park, but instead reversed into me causing considerate amount of damage.

The taxi insurance company (American Transit -AT) had their adjuster look at my car later that week. The adjusted came when I wasn’t home, and looked at my vehicle while I wasn’t home. He must have missed the damage done to the radiator and condenser, because the only way to see that would be to open the hood. The damage taken was the hood, front bumper, and headlights.

When I picked up the police report that week, I noticed that the officer wrote it up incorrectly as he said I was pulling into the parking lot, when really I was at a stop in the drive-thru line. I asked to get it changed, and the officer said it doesn’t matter because the other drive is claiming responsibility. I didn’t press too hard then because this was my first accident ever, and he’s seen hundreds of them so I assumed he would know better.

American Transit offered me a settlement of about $1500 on about $2200 in total damages claiming I was 1/3 liable because I was pulling into the parking lot. I told them I should be zero liable, because the report was incorrect. I went back to the station, and the officer amended the police report to state that I was at a stop in the drive thru line. I faxed the amended report to them already. This amended report should put their driver at 100% liability.

I took my car to a repair shop and they quoted the damages at $3,900, which is far from American Transit quote of $2,200 in total damages. Obviously the missed damages is because of this, and also because their adjuster will always low-ball the damages.

Finally after 5 weeks of not having a car, I decided to get a rental as I started a new job this week and have to have one. American Transit said they will cover $30/day for 5 days only. I told them its been 5 weeks now since my accident, and I need a car now, and this claim needs to be settled ASAP because I need a car everyday from now until my car is fixed. I’m paying for the rental out of pocket for now, and will ask to get fully reimbursed for the rental. They said they’ll only do $150 (5 days @ $30/day). I told them I will sue them in civil/small claims for rest. Aren’t I entitled to a rental for the full duration of my car being fixed?

Also, do claims like this always take well over 6 weeks now? The examiner dealing with my claim is nearly impossible to deal with. She’s out of the office from this past Thursday and her voicemail says she will be back next Wednesday. I called her about 20 times in a 3 day span and she never answered. Left a voicemail and she called back which was pretty much unproductive. The company keeps feeding me “7-10 business days” for pretty much each time they review anything.

What can I do to speed the process, and what can I do to get MY quote for the damages?

I have found in similar circumstances that being a dick is helpful. You shouldn’t have to be a dick, but that’s been my experience. Have you seen a doctor? Have you discussed it? At least in PA you have a wide window for seeking medical care and when I mentioned my back was beginning to hurt I received a check the next day.

What’s your insurance company doing in all this? In my experience, they handle this back and forth and make sure that you’re made whole.

ETA: Also, just over a month is nothing in terms of how long this can take. I had to wait nearly a year to be paid when my parked car was hit by a drunk driver.

The taxi company is liable. Let them handle their insurance company. Nothing works better than a certified demand letter to the taxi company for damages. “This is a demand letter for (lotsa bucks) for damages to my automobile caused by xxxxxx, on (date).” Add a few extra $$$$$ for your trouble. You never have to accept the insurance company’s “estimate”. If you don’t get what you want, you may have to file a lawsuit. But that usually gets them to sit up and take notice. Defending themselves with lawyers costs money.

If you have full coverage you have the option of going through your ins co. They will fix your car but you have to pay the deductible. Your ins co will then go after the other ins co. Once your ins co has recovered the money from the other ins co they will refund your deductible.

I would not say 6 weeks is normal. I’ve been hit 4 times over the 25 years I’ve been driving and in each case the other driver’s ins co got me a check within 1-1.5 weeks.

I concur.

I was totaled a few years back when I got rear ended waiting at a red light and the other guy’s insurance company was very helpful and apologetic and paid 100% of my costs, including paying off the remainder of my loan, a nice rental car for 2 weeks, and a check for the full blue book value of my car (over $8k). I never had to deal with my own insurance company.

But this looks like it’s going to be a fight you may as well utilize the resources at your disposal, and your insurance company has immense legal resources to bear on your behalf. Let them fight it for you.

Being a dick made it worse I think. This is Brooklyn after all, so everyone has thick skin to begin with. Told them to “go fu*k themselves” literally.

My insurance company isn’t doing anything because I only have liability. What were you driving in the meantime while you had to wait a year? Can’t imagine their I sure ce paying a rental for that long.

I was fortunate in a couple ways. First, though the cost of my repairs were similar to yours the damage was only in the rear of my car and didn’t impact drivability. Second, though my deductible was stupidly high I was able to afford to pay that and wait to be reimbursed when the payment finally came through. In that instance, I rejected the offer from the driver’s insurance (she was underinsured). The driver refused to pay the difference between her coverage and what her insurance would until some time after my insurance company notified her they were suing her.

I’m in no way qualified to give legal advice, but if I were you and if I could afford it I would document everything (with photographs), pay to get the car fixed now, and demand they reimburse you instead of waiting for them to decide what they think they owe. And just to be prepared, I’d also start looking into what the (relatively simple) process is to file in small claims court against the taxi company.

Why do you think so?

Many taxi drivers are self-employed independent contractors for the taxi company and must provide their own insurance. If this were a case with major damages **jmb819 **might stand a chance suing the taxi company (after all you can sue anybody–**jmb819 **could even sue McDonald’s, the company that made his sunglasses, etc.) but nominally the taxi company might bear no liability at all.

Legal advice is best suited to IMHO.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Threaten to sue and call the insurance commissioner for your state.
Insurance companies hate when you call the insurance commissioner.

In my experience (2 separate instances) all I had to do was say I was going to call them and the issue was resolved within hours.

I think this is your best approach. I don’t know if auto insurers will do it, but they might cover the costs with the terms that you turn over anything you recover from the other insurance company or the cab company.

This experience is so vastly different from my own, I’m practically in awe.

I got hit by a person who ran a red light. She accepted responsibility 100%. My car was drivable (but only during the day), so I got it worked out that day to get it in for service and her insurance just paid them directly, paid for my rental for as long as I needed it. There were no checks involved. There was no adjuster who came out and looked at my car. I just called them, they were kind of jerks to me, I told them that I absolutely needed a rental car as my car could not legally be driven at night, and that was the end of it. I told them where I was taking it to get the repairs done, and where I would be renting my car, and they paid for it all, no hassles.

I don’t understand this whole thing about an adjuster coming out and giving you a “quote” for what they will and won’t pay. It really sounds shady. I guess I just got really, really lucky?

A while back, I got rear-ended while on my motorcycle. I didn’t have any serious physical damage, so all I wanted was for her insurance to pay for the damage to my bike and gear.

Her insurance company got pissy with me over my custom paint, so my SO called one of his lawyer friends to deal with it. It only took 1 letter and a follow up call from the lawyer to get the claims adjusters to start falling all over themselves to make me happy.

So my suggestion, based on my experience, is that you should call a lawyer. Get one of those sharks you see advertising on TV and billboards. They are aggressive and know what they are doing.

Edited to mention that not only did my bike and gear get fixed, I got money for pain and suffering and we both got money for the lack of sex during the time it took me to stop looking like Rainbow Bright and the lawyer got paid.

Years ago, someone backed into the side of my parked BMW when they were leaving a parking space. They took responsibility, and agreed to pay for all damage. They gave me the name of their insurance company, and I dealt with them directly. My car took over six weeks to repair, because they had to order a new door (after initially thinking they could repair the existing door). Even though I kept in contact with the other driver’s insurance company, informing them of the reason for the repair delays, they got pissy with me, and told me that they would only pay for 30 days of rental, leaving me on the hook for the last two weeks. It tooks weeks of phone calls and letters to get them to pay for the last two weeks. As I kept pointing out, I was not at fault–it was their insured driver that damaged my car to the point that it was not drivable.

In discussing the issue with my own insurance company, I found out (later) that they would have handled the whole dispute with the other insurance company, and even paid for my rental car as long as necessary, so long as I had rental reimbursement (which I didn’t at the time). I subsequently added rental reimbursement coverage.

Ever since then, whenever I’ve had a car accident that was the other driver’s fault, I only deal with my own insurance company (and give them the police report and other driver’s insurance info). My insurance company then fixes my car and provides a rental car, and their goal is to satisfy me, their paying customer. Then…they go after the other driver’s insurance company for reimbursement.

I much prefer the second approach.