Question: I was involved in an accident where the other driver rear-ended me. The police report is in my favor. The other driver is trying to say that I changed lanes in front of him and stopped suddenly. Now, his insurance company is denying my claim saying that I was at-fault. Can they do that?
Answer: Yes they can. The other driver’s liability insurance is there to protect the other driver. His insurance company has no legal duty to act in good faith in your claim. This is because you are a “third-party” to the insurance policy. Sometimes, the other driver will come up with some kind of excuse about the accident. And the adjuster will normally follow their driver’s version of events even if the police report says otherwise.
There are many reasons why an adjuster might do this. The most common reason is that the claimant is not represented by an attorney. Likewise, the adjuster feels like they can deny the claim since you have no real effective means of fighting back.
Another reason the adjuster might deny your claim is if the police report is wrong. The adjuster will conduct an investigation of the accident and talk to any eye-witnesses. Sometimes the evidence and witnesses don’t support the officer’s report. And since the officer was not there when the accident happened, the eye-witnesses’ version of events will carry more weight.
If your claim is denied, you need to contact a car accident lawyer to determine whether it is worth filing a lawsuit. However, in my experience, clients who come to a lawyer too late have already mishandled their case that is might not be worth pursuing even if you can prove fault against the other driver. That is why I always stress the importance of hiring a qualified and experienced attorney as early as possible.