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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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My boyfriend was involved in an auto accident where the other

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My boyfriend was involved in an auto accident where the other driver (who was driving a work truck with a trailer attached to the back) pulled out into traffic and cut across 3 lanes, directly in front of my boyfriend who was traveling the speed limit of 50 MPH. My boyfriend slammed on his breaks but did not have enough time to stop and rear ended the man who cut him off. My boyfriend's car was totaled and the other vehicle was fine. The man said that he didn't see my boyfriend and was cited for careless driving on the police report and no citations were brought against my boyfriend. The other insurance company denied the claim and he has received zero compensation. We were then able to find a witness who worked across the street and saw the accident. He gave a statement to my insurance company, but to my knowledge the other insurance company did not make much of an effort to contact the witness. We had a family friend who has been in the insurance industry for several years contact the other insurance company. The claim adjuster actually told him that the President of the company wanted to settle but someone else suggested they hold out to see if he actually gets a lawyer involved. We believe that the other insurance company is operating in bad faith and are trying to deny him because he's young (21) and they think he won't fight back. We have contacted several lawyers and got shot down by most because no one was injured or because he is filing against the other insurance company and not his own. We do have one potential lawyer we are talking to, but my question is do you think he has a legitimate case that can win if it goes to trial? Would small claims court be more effective for him? He is out several thousand dollars and now has to rely on others to get to and from his full time job.

William B. Esq. :

Dear Customer, I would like to help you with your legal question today. This case appears to be settled as far as liability is concerned (a truck driver has pulled across traffic without following the proper traffic regulations and your boyfriend was traveling safely). The only issue is a calculation of damages (this is likely why you are having difficulties finding an attorney).

William B. Esq. :

To calculate damages, you will need to find the actual value of your loss (luckily your boyfriend was not injured - no injury is worth the money), but the cost of repair or replacement to the car, as well as any cost incurred due to the loss of the car (car rental etc.) is something that you can get back. Your boyfriend should be compensated 100% for his loss based on the facts as you have stated them (I do not know what your actual facts are, or if there is something else that needs to be considered to determine the actual recovery, but if one party is 100% at fault, the other party is entitled to 100% compensation for their damages caused or arising from the accident). - realistically, there will be some reduction, it is unfortunate but it is realistic, for some amount of fault being attributed to your boyfriend (e.g. inattention, speed of travel, etc.), but this should be minor given the facts as you stated them.

William B. Esq. :

If you do choose to hire an attorney, you have two choices, you can hire an attorney hourly (pay them for each hour they work), or you can hire them on a contingency (if you win, you give them a percentage of whatever you get, usually 1/3). I cannot tell you what is best in your case, but it does sound like you have done a significant amount of research into this issue, and speaking with this potential attorney to see what they believe the potential outcome (value of the case, costs associated with the case, and time to get to a settlement) against the cost for hiring an attorney will be. Most attorneys are happy to discuss these numbers with you, even for a smaller case.

William B. Esq. :

If the cost for replacement of the car is less than $5,000.00, you can file a lawsuit against the driver of the truck and the owner of the truck in small claims without an attorney (you can also use small claims if you want to file and are willing to accept $5,000.00 as your total compensation, even if the case is worth more). Here is a link to the Court's webpage for small claims cases: http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/self_help/smallclaims.shtml

Customer:

Yes, the facts are as I stated them, but I understand that you can't know that for certain. We believe that he is entitled to about $5,000-$6,000, but won't know for certain until we talk with the attorney. Is it true that if he does go to court and wins, the other party is also required to cover the lawyer fees? Also, I'm not sure if you can answer this because you can only tell me so much but in your professional opinion do you think it's likely that the insurance company will settle once they realize we got a lawyer involved?

Customer:

Are you not able to answer those questions? I understand if I am getting too specific. Your other responses were very helpful and actually gives us some hope after feeling totally helpless.

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