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Daniel Freudman
Daniel Freudman, Lawyer
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My son got into an accident recently with our family van. It

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My son got into an accident recently with our family van. It was deemed not at fault because he was stopped at a red light and was rear ended by a large truck. The insurance wrote it off and gave us 2,600. We looked into buying another vehicle which he purchased for 5,000 and put it under his name.
Before purchasing the vehicle we called our insurance to get a rough estimate and were quoted roughly 1,900 for the year to insure.
I called the insurance co the day that we were going to pick it up and she quoted me 139 per month on insurance. I told her that the car was in my son's name and she then said that she would have to speak to him directly but said that she would need a bit of information about all our driving records as we live in the same house.
I gave her this info to the best of my knowledge and told her that I believed my son got a speeding ticket in the last three years. She said not to pick up the car until she spoke to my son.
She contacted my son asked him for some information, told him it would cost him 210 a month on insurance and faxed the insurance copy to the dealer and we picked up the car.
The next day at 4:40 she left a message for my son to call her. He returned her call the next day as she leaves at 5:00.
At this point she proceeds to tell him that he did not tell her that he had another 2infractions which were proof to provide insurance and said that his premium would be 13,000 a year. He explained that he hadn't even thought of that and we've been insured by them for years and have always had insurance they should know that.
She gave him a choice of accepting this or he would only be insured until Monday (it was Friday). He told her that he was going to look elsewhere for insurance.
We were all in a panic shopped around and got a quote for 7,663 a year or 657.74 monthly.
This seems totally unfair. He would have never purchased the car had he known.
Do we have a legitimate claim for a law suit against them, would we go through small claims court. We cant afford a lawyer, how would we go about getting a lawyer that would be paid only if we won the law suit? Please advise
Insurance delema

Unfortunately, you don't seem to legitimate cause of action, as the insurance companies have very wide discretion when it comes to quoting policies. It would be one thing if your son disclosed all infractions and they quoted him $210 but then shortly thereafter upped it to $13,000/yr. However, your son did not give them an accurate history of his infractions, so it is understandable that they did not give him an inaccurate quote. Although you could certainly argue that they've previously been your insurer and they should know of his history, the fact of the matter is that it is his responsibility (not the insurer's) to provide an accurate history- this is why most insurance companies request the insured provide them with a Drivers Abstract from the Ministry of Transportation, so that they have a clear record of the insured's history.

The reason the insurance jumped so much is probably because most insurance companies allow for two infractions, and upon a third, the insured is moved into a different 'range' of the insurance. I agree that it is unfair to spring this huge price hike on you / your son with barely any notice, but I do not see any grounds for a legitimate lawsuit.

 

As for your latter question, you can try finding a lawyer on contingency (i.e. gets paid only if you win) but that may be difficult as most lawyer who work on contingency only do so for personal injury claims (e.g. slip & fall, motor vehicle accidents) where there possibility of payout is very high. That being said, you are welcome to search for such a lawyer by searching litigation lawyers (likely insurance litigation) who work on contingency. A quick google search should yield plenty of results.

 

Sorry if that is not the answer you were hoping for, but hopefully it helps give you a realistic sense of your situation.

 

 

If you are satisfied with my answer, please provide me with a positive rating so I can receive payment. Thank you.

 

DISCLAIMER: My communication is general legal information only and is not intended to be relied upon. This information is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for such, and if you are seeking legal advice then it is recommended that you retain an attorney. There is no guarantee as to the accuracy of this information, nor shall I be held liable for any claim, demand or damages, actual or consequential, of any kind or nature, known or unknown, arising out of or in any way connected to this information or the issue it pertains to. No solicitor-client relationship has been created by this communication.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Shouldn't the insurance co have pulled his abstract before telling him what his insurance fee would be? She did say that she would send some forms for him to sign, now should the premium onany of those forms say that it will be 210 monthly, would we then have legitimate cause? also can we take them to small claims court and how much would that cost.
Thanks
Alana D

The insurance company should have pulled his abstract. However, they aren't legally obligated to do so. If the forms say $210, then this could support your argument that their lack of due diligence lead you to incur excessive costs, and also resulted in your relying upon inaccurate information. You could try and argue that they should be stopped (i.e. 'Estoppel') from reneging on their prior quote. Again though, this may be a difficult argument as their quote was based on your son saying he had 1 infraction when really he had 3.

 

With respect to your latter question, Small Claims Court is cost effective, as it only costs about $100 to commence an action, and you can represent yourself / needn't hire a lawyer. Small Claims Court would likely have authority to hear your matter assuming you are suing for an amount that does not exceed $25,000. So, if you represent yourself, then the total costs of Small Claims from start to finish should be less than $500, if that.

 

Hopefully that answers your question.

 

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
If we go through small claims court and lose would we have to pay the defendant for any of their costs?
Also, The truck that hit him while he was stopped. Could we go to small claims court and get the difference between what the insurance gave us for the van and what the cost of the new vehicle is which is $2,400 and in that case would you sue the ithe driver of the truck or his insurance. Just a thought.
Thanks
Alana D

Yes, if you lose you would likely have to pay some of the Defendant's costs, possibly betwen $500 - $2000 depending on the circumstances.

 

As for your latter question, the matter has likely been resolved with all parties being released from liability. If not, you could try suing the driver (which would go to his insurance), but again since the matter has resolved already I'd be surpised if you had any success. Also, there is a 2 year statute of limitation running from the date of the accident within which the action must be commenced.

 

Hopefully that answers your question. Please provide me with a positive rating so I can receive payment. Thank you.

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